Free Speech

The Freedoms of Speech and Assembly at The University of Texas at El Paso are greatly valued and highly regarded rights. Those rights to the free and open exchange of ideas are at the very core of the pursuit of knowledge and the educational experience. As with all rights and freedoms there are also shared responsibilities to assure that the rights of every member of the University Community are protected. This handout has been designed as a quick reference to advise all members of our university community of their rights and responsibilities associated with Free Speech, Assembly, and Use of Facilities.

Quick Reference on Speech Expression, Assembly, and Use of Facilities Policies:

(Handbook of Operating Procedures: http://admin.utep.edu/hoop )

Chapter 2: Speech, Expression & Assembly

Chapter 3: Use of University Facilities

Section 2.4. Distribution of Literature

Section 2.5.2 Hand Held Signs

Section 2.6 Tables

Section 2.8 Amplified Sound

Section 2.9 Public Assemblies

Section 2.12.1 Police Protection

Section 2.12.3 Appeals

Section 3.3. Reservation of a room

Section 3.3.1 Permission to Use

Section 3.5 Use of the Union, Union Plaza, and El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center

What these policies state:

  • You are encouraged to refer to the Handbook of Operating Procedures for detailed information. To assist you, the following information is offered as a quick guide to key information about the university policies regarding Freedom of Speech, Assembly and the Use of University Facilities. Keep this sheet as a handy reference guide to help you in planning and encouraging participation in events on campus. Should you have any questions or need further information about the policies you can contact any member of the Student Development Center staff. They will be glad to assist you.

Location without Amplified Sound

  • Any event/gathering or assembly may take place anywhere on campus, with few exceptions, without pre-approval. The only restrictions are that the activities not hinder/interfere with any classroom or other university activity or impede the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. We highly recommend that you complete an Event Request on Minetracker (utep.collegiatelink.net) to ensure the availability of equipment such as tables, chairs and sound equipment.

Location with Amplified Sound

  • Leech Grove(located at the corner of University and Wiggins Road):
    • University persons and organizations may use amplified sound in this area from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.
  • Union West Lawn(Grass area located just west of Union Dinner Theater):
    • University persons and organizations may use amplified sound in this area from 11:30am to 1:30pm Monday through Friday.
  • Geology Lawn (Memorial Triangle)(Grass area facing University and Hawthorne):
    • University persons and organizations may use amplified sound in this area from 11:30am to 1:30pm Monday through Friday.
  • UGLC Plaza(located under the canopy on the UGLC Plaza):
    • University persons and organizations may use amplified sound in this area from 11:30am to 1:30pm Monday through Friday.

Signage, Distribution of Literature & Tables

  • Any registered student, faculty or staff member or group can display hand held signs or distribute literature almost anywhere on campus without pre-approval. These materials cannot obstruct the line of sight at events, and the immediate area must be left free of any discarded materials.
  • Any registered student, faculty or staff member or group (such as a registered student, faculty, or staff organization) can set-up information tables outdoors or in some large open indoor areas of campus buildings without prior approval. Specific locations within the Union Plaza must be reserved, and/or if the Union is requested to set up the tables.
  • However, we highly recommend the completion of an Event Request on Minetracker (utep.collegiatelink.net) for any event involving equipment (tables, chairs, etc.) for any location so that we can assist you in reserving the equipment you or your organization may need.

Facility Usage and Reservations

  • University departments and registered student, faculty and staff organizations may reserve a room or space on University property. Classrooms are reserved through the Registrar’s Office. Outdoor areas not under the responsibility of an academic unit are scheduled through the Student Development Center or Union Services.
  • If an area is not locked, university students, faculty and staff can use it spontaneously as long as doing so does not conflict with the next scheduled event.
  • University departments have priority in the scheduling of facilities. They do not, however, have priority in scheduling the designated outdoor amplified sound areas.
  • Only registered student organizations can, at no cost, reserve rooms within both Union buildings and outside in the Union Plaza that include the set-up of equipment, the stage, tables and chairs etc.
  • Fees will be assessed, however, for technician services to run any A/V or other special equipment.
  • If a registered student organization wishes to request a table or a room to meet in, they can schedule directly with the Union Scheduling Office.
  • An Event Request is not required for regular club or organization meeting and activities. An Event Request is required for social functions and for events to which off-campus attendees or speakers will be invited. The Event Request link is available online at utep.collegiatelink.net. The Event Request will help assure that your event is a success and provide the opportunity for Student Development Center staff to assist you with your preparations.

Important Contact Information

Below are key offices that can help you with the policies found in HOPs or to assist with scheduling your activity or event.

  • Student Engagement and Leadership Center 106 Union West 747-5670
  • Registrar’s Office 123 ASB 747-5550
  • Office of Student Life 102 Union West 747-5648
  • Union Services 307 Union East 747-5711
  • Vice President for Student Affairs 301 Union East 747-5076