Event Planning and Campus Speaker Policy for Students
In the traditions of open inquiry, academic freedom, and the pursuit of truth and knowledge, the college encourages students to plan student activities and events, including programs that involve outside speakers or performers. Such programs are an invaluable opportunity to encourage the free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility.
Students as well as formally recognized and funded student clubs or organizations may request the use of college facilities and equipment for meetings or events, including programs that involve outside speakers or performers. Student planned activities and events are subject to all applicable policies, procedures, and guidelines as set forth by the college administration and by the Board of Regents for Higher Education, including policies related to free speech, peaceful assembly, nondiscrimination event planning, college purchasing, etc. Speakers should be made aware by the club of all applicable policies and procedures and of their obligation to comply.
This policy statement is intended to regulate only the time, place, and manner in which events planned by students are organized. The student organizers determine the content of such events. Recognized student groups should collaborate with their club advisor to ensure that events are appropriate to, and in the best interests of, the Housatonic community. Students not affiliated with a recognized student group should collaborate with the Dean of Students Office. Collaboration with a club advisor or with the Dean of Students is advisory only and is not for the purpose of the college exercising control over the content of any proposed event.
Programs and speakers representing all points of view are welcome. A faculty or staff moderator, selected by the student organizer(s), is required for all meetings or events that include an off-campus speaker. In the interests of open discussion, the college suggests that any speaker take questions from the audience.
Speakers may be invited to the campus to discuss political issues. The expression of political or other views, with the exception of expression that is intended to incite violence on college premises, is the prerogative of every individual or group. Student political clubs may form on campus. Private business may not be conducted in college facilities.
Students may recruit for student club memberships at club-sponsored meetings, activities or events. Additionally, recognized student clubs and organizations may seek to use the facilities of the college for the purpose of raising funds for bona fide charities and affiliated with the activities of the club or organization.
Individual students or groups of students not affiliated with a recognized student club or organization may plan student activity events and, in the absence of a Faculty Advisor or club affiliation, must collaborate directly from the Dean of Students’ Office and comply with all other event planning procedures and requirements.
Any student or student group wishing to initiate a spontaneous event or activity, for which no campus facility or equipment is needed or requested, may do so provided the activity does not interrupt the normal operation and business of the college. Requests for use of campus facilities and equipment requires advanced reservations, planning, and paperwork.
Any student-organized activities, events, and meetings that do not comply with this policy and related procedures shall not be approved for funding through the Student Senate or college and shall not be granted use of space in college facilities. The President or her/his designee reserves the right to cancel reservations of planned activities at any time if deemed necessary for public safety. The Director of Student Activities is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy. Questions regarding event planning or inviting speakers to campus may be directed to the office of the Director of Student Activities or the Dean of Students Office.
In order for a student-organized event to take place or for an off-campus speaker or performer to be invited to present at a student meeting, activity or event, the following steps must be completed:
Step 1: For recognized clubs and organizations, the club or organization’s membership must vote in favor of the event and the speaker; this vote must be reflected in the minutes of the club or organization. Students not affiliated with a recognized student club or organization should indicate their interest and intent to plan an activity or event to the Student Life Office in writing.
Step 2: The official advisor(s) for a recognized student group, or the Dean of Students Office in the case of unaffiliated students, must review and approve the event for time, place, and manner considerations as described above before an invitation is extended to the speaker.
Step 3: Publicity and communications concerning student planned events, activities, or meetings shall clearly identify the name of the sponsoring student(s), club or organization and must be stamped for posting by the Student Life Office. In order to be stamped for posting, publicity flyers, posters, etc. for an event must first be reviewed and approved (for time, place, and manner considerations only) by the student club or organization’s advisor(s), or by the Student Life Office in the case of students that are not affiliated with a recognized student club or organization.
Step 4: Requests for the use of college space or equipment by students or student clubs and organizations must be submitted in writing at least 7-10 business days prior to the event. More notice is required for spaces in high demand and for facilities that require greater setup coordination. A reservation request can be approved only if the space is available and if time allows for the necessary processing and coordination of room setup. The request should be submitted to the college staff responsible for scheduling reservations for the preferred space. It is the responsibility of the reserving college staff to notify the club or organization representative regarding the status of the request in a timely manner.
Step 5: All students and student clubs and organizations must show compliance with all required steps and procedures by completing the required event planning forms, available from the Student Life Office, at least seven (7) business days prior to the proposed event. However, events that involve contracts and financial commitments require a minimum of four to six weeks notice.