Expressive Activities Report
Issued November 29, 2023
Section 1: Expressive Activity Policy
Germanna Community College has three Expressive Activity Policies:
- Expressive Activity – Community and Non-College Affiliated Entities – 20050
- Expressive Activity by Employees – 40290
- Expressive Activity by Students – 80400
These policies are published on the college’s website.
Section 2: Certification Statement
Germanna Community College has adopted materials on the policy developed by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). On November 28, 2023, these materials were provided by the Vice President of Student Services and Equity Advancement to employees responsible for the discipline and education of students, including the Dean and Assistant Deans of Student Development. The Policy on Expressive Activities Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Students is also published on the college’s website.
Section 3: Lawsuits
No lawsuits alleging a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution have been filed since December 1 , of the year preceding this report.
In accordance with Section 2.2.3 of the Germanna Expressive Activity Policy,
“…the College shall not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views or impermissibly regulate their speech based on its content or viewpoint. Nevertheless, the College may establish reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity. Such restrictions must be content-neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and allow ample alternative channels for communication of the information.”
Reporting incidents of disruption
Incidents of disruption of constitutionally protected speech can be reported by submitting an Incident Report via Maxient. Maxient is a threat assessment, incident management, and prevention service that allows students, staff, faculty, and others to confidentially report concerning behaviors or potentially harmful incidents. Maxient does not replace Ext. 322911 for emergency situations, but instead provides an avenue for reporting suspicious or concerning campus incidents that you feel need to be shared. Maxient allows this information to be communicated to the appropriate personnel and investigated immediately for a proactive response to maintain a safe campus. A link to the Incident Report Form is located at the bottom of every Germanna Community College webpage.
Booking space for student clubs and events
Student clubs, student organizations, and student groups wishing to host activities on-campus must contact the Student Life & Leadership office to request space. Planning procedures and online forms are available from the Student Life & Leadership office at the Fredericksburg Area Campus (FAC), V. Earl Dickinson Building (SP1), Room #100, or by contacting email@example.com. The use of College facilities is granted in accordance with the Expressive Activity policy. Germanna maintains alcohol-free, smoke-free campuses.
Bulletin boards are located at designated areas at the Fredericksburg Area Campus, the Locust Grove Campus, and the Daniel Technology Center. There are several designated locations for the express use of designated organizations and they contain information about upcoming activities and events. Locations for general notices are located in the student lounge area at both campuses.
Please visit the Welcome Center at any of the above-mentioned locations for the designation of bulletin boards for a specific use.
All notices, posters, and other promotional material must be date stamped by the Welcome Center, and when applicable, the Student Life & Leadership office before it can be posted. The date stamp indicates review of the notice and does not indicate an endorsement of content. Anything not stamped will be removed. Also, any flyer in a non-designated area will be removed.
Distribution or placement of commercial advertising is prohibited in the following areas: administrative offices, instruction facilities, and libraries. Guidelines for posting notices are available in the Welcome Center and Student Life & Leadership office at all locations.
Organizations seeking designated bulletin boards must seek approval from the Welcome Center. For more information regarding the placement of advertising materials and the use of campus bulletin boards, please see the Expressive Activity Policy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is expressive activity?1
Expressive activities are speech-related activities, including:
- other group events or activities by student organizations or their invited guests;
- distributions of literature; and
- any other activity protected by the First Amendment.
 The words “speech” and “expressive activity” may be used interchangeably.
What kind of speech is protected by the First Amendment?
The U.S. Constitution protects most speech, with very limited exceptions. In outdoor spaces, the college may place reasonable limits only on the time, place, and, manner of your expressive activity and those limits must not depend on the content or viewpoint of the expressive activity. In addition, for outdoor areas, students, student organizations, and their guests are not required to give notice before engaging in expressive activity. In other words, students, student organizations, employees, and guests may engage in spontaneous expressive activities as long as they do not engage in any of the conduct listed below. (There may be exceptions to this general rule; for example, your college may have an outdoor facility that requires a reservation to use.)
Indoors, colleges may place restrictions on expressive activities, as long as any rules apply to everyone equally and are not based on the content or viewpoint of the speech. The college may determine that certain indoor facilities are not available for expressive activity. Common examples of such areas include (1) administrative offices, (2) libraries, (3) hallways, and (4) classrooms during instructional hours.
What kind of actions related to protected speech can be regulated?
Most speech is protected by the Constitution, but sometimes, the actions that a speaker takes during an expressive activity are disruptive enough to allow a college to intervene, regardless of what is actually being expressed. For outdoor facilities and areas, students, student organizations, and their guests may freely engage in an expressive activity as long as they do not also engage in any of the following:
- block access to campus buildings;
- obstruct traffic (vehicles or pedestrians);
- substantially disrupt previously scheduled campus events;
- substantially disrupt college operations or violate or hinder the rights of others;
- break the law; or
- create a threat to public safety, according to the college’s police or security department.
Additionally, the First Amendment does not protect speech that is designed to incite or produce imminent lawless action, and that is likely to incite or produce such action. Other types of unprotected speech include true threats and harassment in limited circumstances. A true threat is a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence against a particular individual or group of individuals. Unprotected harassment is behavior that is extreme and pervasive and so serious that it prevents a reasonable person from receiving his or her education.
How can someone reserve campus facilities for speech activities?
Contact Dr. Sarah Somerville or Mark Haines to reserve campus facilities. Spaces are reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis. The college can state in advance that certain spaces cannot be reserved for speech activities. Common examples include libraries, offices, hallways, and classrooms during instructional hours. Any other restrictions on expressive activities that occur in indoor facilities must apply equally to everyone and not depend on the content or viewpoint of the expression, or the possible reaction to the expression.
Colleges usually cannot require more than 24-hour advance notice unless the event requires additional planning to ensure safety and sufficient logistical support. You are encouraged to request the facility as soon as possible.
When assessing a request to reserve a facility, the college must not consider the content (unless the facility is used only for certain purposes, for example, only for the college’s administration use) or viewpoint of the expressive activity, or the possible reaction to the expressive activity. If a facility or space is generally available to be reserved, the college can refuse a reservation by a student, student organization, or employee only for the following reasons:
- The venue is an indoor facility that has been designated as unavailable for reservation.
- The venue is an indoor facility and the request is in conflict with any restrictions the college has placed on the facility. For example, a restriction could be that the indoor facility is unavailable on the weekends.
- The venue has been reserved already at the time requested.
- The size of the anticipated crowd is too large for space.
- The activity would substantially disrupt another event occurring in close proximity.
- The activity would substantially disrupt college operations.
- The activity is a clear and present threat to campus safety, according to police or security.
- The activity occurs during college exam periods.
- The activity is against the law.
Responsibility for the space
Anyone who reserves a facility or space is responsible for maintaining the space and will be responsible for any damages, cleaning costs, or other costs.
Is the college required to have indoor areas available for spontaneous expressive activities?
No. The college is not required to have an indoor area designated for spontaneous speech activities. However, if it chooses to create one or more, college officials must post that the area is available for students, student organizations, employees and guests to engage in expressive activities. The area must be available for all students, student organizations, employees, and guests equally, and not depend on the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to it.
What do I do if someone or a group tries to disrupt my, my organization’s or invited guest’s speech?
To report a disruption of protected speech, please submit an Incident Report. In cases of emergency, please call the Germanna Community College Police at (540) 727-2911 or dial 911.