New York University Student Guide, Chapter 9
March 29, 2006
The following policies regarding facility use and student organization-sponsored speakers were extracted from Chapter 9 of the NYU Student Handbook
(PDF also available below), pp. 217-220. (Emphases added below.)
Guidelines Regarding Protest and Dissent
(Approved by the University Senate May 2, 1991.)
A. Commitment and Responsibilities of the University.
New York University is committed to maintaining an environment where open, vigorous debate and speech can occur. This commitment entails encouraging and assisting University organizations that want to sponsor speakers as well as informing members of the University community who seek guidance concerning forms of protest against speakers. It may also involve paying for extraordinary security measures in connection with a controversial speaker. Consistent with these obligations, the University promulgates these Guidelines, which are intended to be applied without regard to the content of any proposed speaker’s speech.
C. Meetings to Be Designated as Open or Closed
1. The sponsoring organization may designate a meeting to which a speaker is invited as “open” or “closed.” In either case, incidental University facilities such as room and utilities may be used.
3. Closed Meetings
a. A meeting at which the sponsoring organization limits the attendance to membership in the organization or to invited or designated individuals or groups (including members of the press), and from which members of the University community not related to the sponsoring organization or to the meeting are excluded, shall be deemed closed. The meeting may not be closed on the basis of any category that is, or is a pretext for, discrimination in violation of the University’s published antidiscrimination policies.
b. To the extent that a closed meeting is advertised to those who are not invited to attend, there must be clear disclosure that the meeting is closed.
4. Open Meetings
a. A meeting is considered open even though the sponsoring organization limits the audience to members of the University community or to portions thereof (e.g., first-year graduate students) other than as provided in paragraph 3a.
b. At an open meeting, the sponsoring organization must provide that at least a majority of the seats be available to the University community or portion thereof, as the case may be.
1. General Principles
The right to dissent is the complement of the right to speak, but these rights need not occupy the same forum at the same time. The speaker is entitled to communicate her or his message to the audience during her or his allotted time, and the audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker during that time.
The dissenter must not substantially interfere with the speaker’s ability to communicate or the audience’s ability to hear and see the speaker. When a meeting is closed, dissent by nonattendees is limited to activity outside the meeting that does not impede access to the meeting or substantially interfere with the communication inside.