Have you witnessed public speakers or demonstrations on campus? Perhaps you didn’t agree with the message they were delivering. Or maybe you’ve thought about spreading awareness for specific topics on campus yourself, but you’re not sure how to go about it. This would all be covered under Missouri State’s Expressive Activity Policy.
The Expressive Activity Policy exists for a few reasons. First is that MSU is a federally funded university. Therefore, MSU is obligated to adhere to the first amendment of the Constitution allowing freedom of speech, assembly, the right to petition, etc. Second is that as an institution of higher education, MSU operates on the principles of growing the worldview of our diverse campus community, being a safe place for open discussions, and learning from others in such a way that we are prepared to coexist in the “real world” with individuals that may not always be like-minded. Here at Missouri State, we are driven by our focus on these three pillars: ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement. Without freedom of speech and expression, which includes non-verbal communication, we would not be able to respect the ideals of those three pillars or fulfill our public affairs mission.
Missouri State University can only limit on-campus speakers and demonstrations on the grounds of time, place, and manner. Individuals are allowed to exercise their rights throughout the outdoor areas of campus, when doing so does not disrupt the academic mission or daily university functions and is consistent with university policy. The locations on campus that are the most appropriate for outdoor forums, rallies, and demonstrations include: The Bear Paw, Trottier Plaza, and Strong Hall Amphitheater. Reservations are recommended in order to utilize these outdoor locations and facilities for such events. If reservations are not made, individuals run the risk of the space being used for other activities. Any member of the university community can make reservations through the Event and Meeting Services Office (417-836-5653). All other individuals or groups can make reservations by registering with the Office of University Safety (417-836-5509).
If an individual or group is expressing ideas that oppose your own, you can either choose to ignore them and remove yourself from the situation or you can calmly facilitate a conversation about the differing viewpoints. Truly listening to the beliefs of others, not for the sake of arguing, will only help you to better understand other members of our campus community, could potentially broaden your horizons on a certain topic, or can help solidify your own pre-existing beliefs. Here at Missouri State University, we encourage our students to review the entire Expressive Activity Policy online and familiarize themselves with the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as it pertains to freedom of speech and beyond.