Freedom of Expression Guidelines

Expressing Yourself as a Student at Southeast Southeast Missouri State University is committed to creating a learning environment that facilitates an open exchange of ideas and respects the rights of students, faculty and staff. While the University encourages First Amendment rights of free speech and other forms of expression, it is also required in certain situations to restrict time, place, and manner of expression to protect the rights of all members of the University community and to serve its educational mission.

Five free speech areas are designated on the University campus to provide unregulated free expression for students and other demonstrators (For these purposes, “demonstrators” means any person who is participating in legally protected expression). These areas are on the terraces outside Academic Hall, the fountain area and green space in front of Kent Library, outside Scully (to the south), in the Johnson/Rhodes/Magill quadrangle, and the hillside on the southeast corner of the Seminary building at River Campus.

Demonstrators may not impede the flow of pedestrian or automobile traffic, nor use amplification devices that disturb the peace. Non-student demonstrators shall limit their activities to these public places, unless they are sponsored and accompanied by a registered student organization or University department. For public safety reasons, the University requests that demonstrators notify the Department of Public Safety and/or the Dean of Students of their intentions.

Legally prohibited forms of expression (e.g. obscenity, fighting words, harassment, littering, vandalism, verbal assault, and disturbance of the peace) are not permitted in these or other areas on campus. Offenders will be charged accordingly within the University’s Judicial system and/or the local, state, and federal criminal justice system.

Students are encouraged to exercise their rights of Freedom of Expression as part of their educational experience at Southeast.  In places outside of free speech areas, however, students must use greater discretion to ensure that they do not create a hostile learning/working environment or otherwise impede the mission of the University. The Campus Life & Event Services staff will (without regard to issue, purpose, or content) advise and assist students in planning safe, respectful, and effective demonstrations that do not interfere with the rights of others in the University Community. For more information, call 573-651-2280.

Students wishing to demonstrate off the University campus are encouraged to contact the City of Cape Girardeau to obtain information about any necessary permits needed for organized protests or marches. All protests and marches must be confided to city sidewalks and may not take place on city streets.


Additional Resources:

University Center Facilities Policy 

University Public Expression and Posting Procedures

Office of Student Conduct (Report a student related incident) (Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct) or 573-651-2264

Dean of Students (Non-emergency complaint procedures) Appeal & Complaint Procedures or 573-986-6888

Department of Public Safety (University Police) or 573-651-2215 (Emergency or Non-emergency number)

Cape Girardeau, MO Offenses Against Public Order and Safety (Chapter 17: 146, 147, 148, and 149)