Number: CW 010
Effective: March 3, 2016
Last Reviewed: June 1, 2023
Department: Human Resources and Student Affairs
Last Revision: June 1, 2023


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for respecting the Campus Community's right to free speech and expressive activity while maintaining CWI’s mission and operations.


This policy applies to all CWI students, student organizations, employees, invited guests, and visitors.


Campus Community: CWI students, student organizations, administrators, staff, faculty, and invited guests.

CWI Property: Any premises or property owned, leased, or controlled by CWI, including all real and personal property, resources, funds, information systems, and college-owned or controlled websites and social media accounts.

Designated Public Forum: CWI property that has been opened up for use to certain groups or for the discussion of certain topics. Such restrictions may not be based upon the viewpoint of the speaker and must be reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum. Examples of Designated Public Forums at CWI include, without limitation, interior bulletin boards, official CWI websites and social media pages, and reservable classrooms and meeting rooms.

Disruptive Activity: Activity conducted in a manner or at a time or place that is either incompatible or unreasonably interferes with the educational or other legitimate functions of CWI.

Expressive Activity: Any lawful verbal, written, audio-visual, or electronic means by which individuals may communicate ideas to one another, including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches and guest speakers, distribution of literature, carrying signs, and circulating petitions.

Facilities Planning and Management Department (FPM): The CWI department with authority over all CWI physical/campus space.

Indoor Public Areas: Facilities that have been opened up to members of the general public for a specific campus function. Unless designated for a specific campus function, indoor areas of CWI property are not public areas.

Nonpublic Forum: CWI property that may be used only for its intended purpose and which may be subject to speech regulations reasonably related to the intended purpose. Examples of nonpublic forums at CWI include, without limitation, administrative office space and other facilities not subject to facilities use requests.

Open Public Forum: CWI property that has been opened up for use to the Campus Community and Visitors for Expressive Activity. Restrictions on Expressive Activity in Open Public Forums may not be based on the viewpoint of the speaker but may be subject to content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions. Public Outdoor Areas, as defined in this policy, are considered Open Public Forums.

Public Outdoor Areas: The generally accessible outdoor areas of campus where members of the public are commonly allowed, such as grassy areas, walkways, or other similar common areas, and do not include outdoor areas where access is restricted from a majority of the campus community. Public Areas do not include the interiors of CWI facilities (unless otherwise designated), parking spaces, or areas that are being used for CWI educational activities or are otherwise reserved.

Reserved Outdoor Areas: Locations in Public Outdoor Areas of CWI- owned facilities which may be used for Expressive Activities involving the use of tables, chair, booths, displays, or exhibits.

Student Organization: The Associated Students of College of Western Idaho (ASCWI) and any registered student group recognized by CWI as an organization which is authorized to identify itself as being associated with CWI and which has taken the required steps to maintain recognition.

Visitors: Members of the general public who are not active members of CWI’s faculty, staff, or student population who may access public areas of campus.


The First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Idaho protect the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom to petition the government for all people. CWI honors the Campus Community’s ability to exercise the these First Amendment rights by establishing guidelines to promote free speech while maintaining a safe and operable campus.

As an institution of higher education, CWI has a particular responsibility to safeguard free speech rights. The United States Supreme Court, in Healy v. James, described public colleges as “peculiarly the marketplace of ideas,” where students learn to exercise the constitutional rights necessary to participate in this system of government and to tolerate others’ exercise of the same rights.

CWI also recognizes its’ responsibility to provide a secure learning environment that allows members of the community to express their views in ways that do not substantially disrupt the operations of CWI. Reasonable limitations may be placed on the time, place, and manner of free speech and expressive activities as deemed necessary by CWI in order to serve the interests of health and safety, prevent disruption of the educational process, and protect against the invasion of the rights of others.



The following restrictions apply to activities on or using CWI Property:

  1. Activities may not be conducted in a manner that violates any federal, state, or local law;
  2. Activities may not be conducted in a manner that violates the rules, regulations, or policies of CWI that are designed to protect and promote the health, safety, and expressive rights of other CWI Community Members; and
  3. Activities may not be conducted in a manner or at a time or place that is either incompatible or unreasonably interferes with the educational or other legitimate functions of CWI, otherwise known as "Disruptive Activities".

This policy does not permit activities which constitute the following:

  • Defamation: the communication of false information which impugns the honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation of the person or entity about whom the statement is made, or exposes the person or entity to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
  • Incitement: speech that is intended and likely to provoke imminent unlawful action.
  • True threats: statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.
  • Obscenity: material that would appeal to the prurient interest of the average person, that depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct, and that lacks literary, artistic, political, or scientific value when taken as a whole.
  • Copyright or trademark infringement: use or production of copyright-protected material without the permission of copyright holder or the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark in a manner that is likely to cause confusion.
  • Harassment: engaging in verbally or physically threatening behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their physical health or physical safety, or, with respect to students, discriminatory conducts that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies equal access to CWI's resources and opportunities.
  • Trespass and/or malicious injury to property: as defined in Idaho Code.
  • False advertising: publishing or otherwise circulating an advertisement containing a false claim or statement made for commercial purposes.

Restrictions on all CWI Property:

  1. Camping is the unauthorized use of CWI property as a temporary or permanent place of dwelling, lodging, or living accommodations. Camping is prohibited on CWI property.
  2. Commercial speech is any form of expression or activity that is primarily intended to advertise, market, sell or promote goods and services on behalf of any person or entity that is not a CWI department or organization. Soliciting for contributions or donations is included in the definition of commercial speech. CWI is under no obligation to make any campus areas or facilities available for commercial activities. Commercial activity shall only be permitted upon express authorization of FPM and only where the commercial activity supports student learning, is not aimed at the exploitation of students, and/or promotes or fosters CWI’s mission.


Any individual or organization who wishes to engage in the following Expressive Activities in the Public Outdoor Areas of campus shall be permitted to do so freely as long as the person’s conduct abides by the General Conditions for use of CWI Property and reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.

  1. Distribution of Written Materials. Campus Community members and Visitors may distribute written or printed materials regarding a non-commercial topic on a person-to-person basis in Public Outdoor Areas. Such written materials may include, but are not limited to, pamphlets, signs, notices, brochures, banners, handouts, and flyers. Individuals and groups engaged in the distribution of written materials must not litter and are encouraged to remove any distributed materials dropped on the ground by others.
  2. Passing of Petitions. Campus Community members and Visitors may circulate petitions in Public Outdoor Areas.
  3. Demonstrations. Campus Community members and Visitors may engage in demonstration, picketing, and oral presentations in Public Outdoor Areas.
  4. Tables, Displays, and Exhibits. To ensure safe pedestrian and vehicle traffic and to preserve and protect CWI property, Campus Community members and Visitors may reserve a “Reservable Public Area” for Expressive Activities involving the use of tables, chairs, booths, displays, or exhibits. To reserve a Reservable Outdoor Area, individuals and organizations may submit a reservation request facility/event request form  to Reservations shall be granted on a “first come, first served” basis.
  5. Stakes or flags. Campus Community members and Visitors may place stakes or flags in the ground only at the grassy Public Outdoor Area directly west of the Nampa Academic Building. To prevent destruction of CWI property, individuals or organizations wishing to install stakes or flags are required to contact FPM at prior to installation. Individuals or organizations installing stakes or flags without contacting FPM will be responsible for any damages stakes or flags may cause to CWI property, including without limitation, sprinkler systems or other landscaping or underground infrastructure.  All stakes or flags must be removed by the sponsoring individual or group at the end of their demonstration. Posts may not be installed as they may damage the grounds.

Expressive Activities in Public Outdoor Areas are Subject to the following time, place, and manner restrictions:

  • Activities must not interfere with the free flow of traffic, vehicle or pedestrian, or the ingress and egress to buildings on campus and may not block any sidewalk, roadway, or parking area without prior authorization.
  • The use of microphones, bullhorns or any sound amplification device is not permitted where the sound is plainly audible from within a building containing classrooms or offices or is otherwise disruptive to CWI activities.
  • Activities must not interrupt the orderly conduct of CWI classes, scheduled college ceremonies or events, or otherwise infringe on other Campus Community members’ ability to engage in Expressive Activities.


CWI reserves the right to restrict certain facilities, classroom space, and indoor and exterior walls to official CWI business only. Such spaces are Nonpublic Forums and are subject to reasonable regulations. For additional guidance on the use of space of CWI facilities, see OP 070 – Space Use.

Bulletin boards are Designated Public Forums subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that are not based on the viewpoint of the speaker. For additional guidance on the use of CWI Bulletin Boards, see OP 190 – Campus Posting Policy.

Facilities available for use by the Campus Community and Visitors constitute a Designated Public Forum and are subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that are not based on the viewpoint of the speaker. A request to use facilities for Expressive Activities, including invitations to speakers, shall be made in accordance with OP 120 – Facility Request. No individual or organization not expressly authorized to represent CWI for the event or activity shall use the CWI name to imply official college sponsorship of the speaker in advertising or publicizing the event, except to identify the specific location of the event.

Distribution of written materials inside of CWI facilities shall not involve personally delivering materials to students within hallways, entryways, or classrooms and no person shall be compelled to accept any written material. However, written materials may be made available at tables that are reserved in interior spaces in accordance with the reservation process set forth in OP 120.


All CWI websites and social media pages constitute Designated Public Forums and are for the purpose of furthering the mission, vision, and core themes of CWI. CWI reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that does not relate to CWI business, programs, and/or services or which otherwise violates CWI policies or guidelines, including without limitation, Administrative Guidelines – Social Media.


Faculty, students, and Student Organizations engaging in expressive activities, whether on or off-campus, do so with the express understanding that the statements, opinions, and representations of the speaker(s) are not representative of CWI and that CWI neither endorses nor sponsors the expressive speech of any speaker not expressly recognized as representing CWI.

Conversely, CWI reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to determine the content of all official CWI communications, sponsorship, messaging, and engagement.

Guideline Enforcement

Violations of this policy may result in one or more of the following:

  • A request of an individual or organization to cease and desist, relocate, or vacate the premises or property owned or controlled by CWI by law enforcement or an authorized representative of CWI.
  • Commencement of institutional disciplinary proceedings by the appropriate department or academic unit.
  • Restriction of future use of, or access to, CWI property.

Failure to enforce this policy in one instance does not waive CWI’s right to enforce it in any other instance.


A Campus Community member or Visitor who believes a CWI official has infringed on the ability to engage in Expressive Activities protected by this policy may report such complaint through the appropriate reporting processes available to employees and students. Any individual may report an alleged violation using CWI’s Ethics Hotline, available here - Ethics Hotline.