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Campus Free Speech Guidelines

All members of the University of Missouri–St. Louis community, students, faculty and staff share a mutual interest in maintaining conditions where the work of the university can go forward freely, in accordance with the highest standards of quality, institutional integrity and freedom of expression. UMSL is committed to retaining an academic environment for free expression and civil debate where each member of the public has the freedom to speak, to assemble peaceably and to petition for redress of grievances.

The following regulations are adopted to govern the time, place and manner of demonstrations and other assemblies that fall under the Missouri Campus Free Expression Act (MO Senate Bill 93) of 2015 .

Members of the Public at Large

The outdoor areas of UMSL have been deemed a traditional public forum. Therefore, members of the public are free to exercise expressive activities outdoors as long as they do not interfere with the operations of the university. Expressive activities must not:

  • Attract a crowd larger than the location of the spontaneous expressive activity can safely contain.
  • Significantly disrupt university activities inside or outside of buildings (including classes).
  • Significantly disrupt previously scheduled campus events.
  • Utilize any amplification device.
  • Obstruct entrances or exits to buildings. [remain 20 feet from entrances/exits]
  • Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • Include camping or the use of temporary shelters (e.g., tents).
  • Affix items to any permanent structure or grounds (railings, buildings, greenways, trees, etc.).
  • Light any material on fire with the exception of hand-held candles which may be used with special permission. Other open flame devices and bonfires are strictly prohibited.
  • Last longer than eight hours during a 24-hour period.
  • Involve solicitations or promotion of commercial enterprises.
  • Represent a threat to public safety or violate the Collected Rules and Regulations that may be prescribed by the Board of Curators or other under the authority of the Board of Curators, according to the discretion of UMSL Police.

Students and Student Organizations

UMSL students are free and encouraged to express themselves in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines above and in accordance with University of Missouri Student Standard of Conduct.

Additional Provisions

The following provisions apply to both reservation requests and spontaneous expressive activities.

  1. Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in open areas outside of buildings. Policies related to use of facilities, including for solicitation or sales are outlined in the Collected Rules and Regulations (CRR 110.010).
  2. Expressive activity and expression covered under this policy must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and University of Missouri policies, rules and regulations.
  3. Activity that results in damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the University or property belonging to students, faculty, staff or guests of the university is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially responsible.
  4. Persons or organizations responsible for an activity covered under this policy must remove all signs and litter from the area at the end of the event. Otherwise, persons or organizations responsible for the event may be held financially responsible for any cleaning costs. Any items left behind or unattended (including memorials) may be removed after the event.
  5. When assessing a reservation request or when informed of spontaneous expressive activities on campus, UMSL personnel must not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression, except to the extent such factors are relevant to assessing appropriate security measures.
  6. University personnel may not impose restrictions on individuals or organizations engaged in expressive activities due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to this expression, university personnel shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.
  7. UMSL Police maintain ultimate discretion to end any activity and may in addition expel from public buildings, campuses and grounds persons violating the Collected Rules and Regulations that may be prescribed by the Board of Curators or others under the authority of the Board of Curators.
  8. UMSL Police are authorized to impound or have removed any motor vehicle illegally parked on the property of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The owner or operator of the vehicle shall pay all towing and storage charges occurring as a result of this action.


October 2015