Use of Facilities by Third Parties for Free Speech

Policy Statement 

The following constitutes SUNY Delhi’s “time, place and manner” policy on the use of SUNY Delhi- (“the College”) owned facilities by third parties for free speech purposes as approved by the College Council pursuant to a delegation of authority by the SUNY Board of Trustees. (See SUNY Policy #5603 “Use of Facilities by Non-Commercial Organizations”)

Reasons for Policy 

As an institution of higher education, the College respects and fully supports the rights granted to individuals under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding free speech. The College has adopted free speech policies with respect to its students, faculty, and staff. Such policies do not apply to third parties who want to use the Campus for free speech purposes.

 As a public entity, partially funded by New York State tax dollars, the College will provide a designated public forum to third parties for their exercise of free speech rights. To comply with existing law, the College recognizes that it will be dedicating its scarce resources to the third parties, including staff time for the management of the designated public forum, the cost associated/loss of revenue with the use of space itself, and the possible utilization of University Police and other administrative offices to provide for the public safety of participants.  

 In drafting and adopting this policy, the College weighed its competing obligations and responsibilities: to meet its legal obligations as a public entity to provide a designated public forum for free speech by third parties; to meet its audit and control obligations in managing New York State property under its jurisdiction; and to meet its obligations for the orderly and safe operation of its campus, while responsibly managing and allocating its resources in pursuit of its educational mission for its students.

Policy Applies To

This policy shall apply to all third parties who want to use the College’s designated public forum for free speech purposes. This policy does not apply to students or speakers officially sponsored by recognized student groups, faculty or staff as other reservation and use policies apply to members of the campus community.


  1. The College is providing a designated public forum for use by third parties for their free speech purposes.
  2. Reservation and Recordkeeping of the Use of Space:
    1. Third parties who seek to use the designated public forum must:
      1. Complete a designated public forum application (see linked application); and
      2. File the virtual application at least five (5) business days before the date the applicant wants to use the designated public forum (applications received after 3 p.m. on a given business day shall be considered as having been received on the morning of the next business day). The applicant assumes responsibility for full completion of the application.
    2. The College shall review the application and respond to the applicant no later than the close of business on the third business day prior to the date the applicant wants to use the designated public forum:
      1. if the application is completed fully and signed by the applicant and the date and time is available for use, the College shall inform the applicant of its approval through email to use the designated forum on the date and time so requested.
      2. if the application is not complete and/or it is not signed, the College shall return the application to the applicant for completion. The three (3) business days’ time period will begin running again once the completed and signed application is received.
      3. if the space is already reserved to its capacity for the date and time requested, or if the date and time requested is during a “black-out period” as defined below, the College shall inform the applicant through email of the same and offer the applicant the next available date and time for the use of the space.
  3. The College shall not:
    1. Inquire as to the nature or content of the free speech;
    2. Charge the applicant an application fee to reserve the designated public forum;
    3. Charge the applicant/third party for the use of the space;
    4. Impose insurance requirements on the applicant/third party; or
    5. Charge the applicant for any additional costs to the College that the College may incur due to the use of the space by the applicant/third party, such as security.
  4.  The applicant/third party shall:
    1. Be responsible for picking up from the designated public forum any brochures, pamphlets, leaflets or other handouts or goods that the third-party speaker brought to disseminate during the speech, and properly disposing of the same in public garbage receptacles or taking them off campus. The College has a regulation against littering on the Campus that applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Failure to comply with this provision may result in future denial of use of the designated public forum; and
    2. Not use megaphone or similar equipment for the amplification of the speech; and
    3. Comply with SUNY Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order. Stating no person either singly or in concert with others shall:
      1. willfully cause physical injury to another person, nor threaten to do so:
      2. physically restrain or detain another person;
      3. remove anyone from any place where authorized to remain;
      4. willfully damage or destroy property of the campus or property under its care:
      5. remove property of the campus or property under its care;
      6. use campus property or property of the campus’s care without authorization;
      7. enter into any private office of an administrative officer, member of the faculty or staff member without implied or explicit permission;
      8.  enter into and remain in any campus building or facility for any purpose other than its authorized uses or in such a manner as to obstruct its authorized use;
      9. remain in any building or facility without authorization after it is closed;
      10. refuse to leave a campus building or facility after being required to do so by an authorized administrative officer;
      11. obstruct the free movement of people and vehicles in any place to which these rules apply;
      12. deliberately disrupt or prevent the peaceful and orderly conduct of classes,lecture and meetings;
      13. deliberately disrupt or prevent the freedom of any person to express their views, including invited speakers;
      14. knowingly have in their possession upon the premises to which these rulesapply, any rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, or other firearm without the written authorization of the Chief of Police whether or not a license to possess a weapon has been issued to the person;
      15. willfully incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited in this section with the specific intent to procure them to do so;
      16. take any action, create or participate in the creation of any situation, whichrecklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of anyone for the initiation into or affiliation with any organization.
    4. In addition, in the interest of public safety, facemasks and signs on sticks areprohibited.
  5. The College reserves the right to terminate any use of the designated public forum in the event either the speaker or a member(s) of an audience engages in conduct that violates the SUNY Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order (adopted in accordance with Education Law Section 6430 and 8 NYCRR 535) in order to secure the orderly operation of the Campus for the safety of the entire Campus Community.


Completed applications will take place through this Form: Application for Use of the Designated Public Forum

Questions about the application process can be directed to the Student Life Office at 607-746-4440 or All applications must be reviewed and approved by Campus Leadership.

Appendices/Associated Forms


Black-out days: The College has “blacked-out” certain days on its calendar wherein the use of the campus and its facilities, including outdoor spaces are reserved exclusively for Campus related activities that are at the very core of its primary educational mission. During these black-out periods, no third party shall be allowed to use the designated public forum for free speech purposes.  The College defines the black-out periods to include the following:

  1. Opening Weekend for the commencement of fall and spring semesters;
  2. Reading periods and examination periods as set forth on the current academic calendar;
  3. Graduation related activities and events, including winter and spring commencements;
  4. Major campus-wide celebrations; and
  5. During the conservation shut down of educational buildings and administrative offices as defined on its calendar when the temperature of the offices shall be below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (typically between the end of the examination period when students leave campus for the winter holiday break and a few business days after the first of the New Year).  This time frame is included in the black-out period because the offices are typically closed for the receipt of applications and the Campus is virtually vacant to conserve energy and to save money to meet state budget reductions.

Designated Public Forum: The College designates the outdoor area between Evenden Tower and Bush Hall as its designated public forum space. It is a highly trafficked pedestrian area for students, faculty, staff and visitors. It is also easily visible by vehicular traffic traversing the campus via Delhi Drive. The use of this space is unlikely to interfere with classroom instruction or dormitory residences.  

Attached hereto and made a part hereof is a map outlining the designated public forum.

The President shall have the authority to change, either permanently or temporarily, the identity of the designated public forum to another area on campus to address concerns for the health, safety and welfare of the campus community.  

Third Party: a person(s) who wants to use the designated public forum for free speech purposes and the person(s) is not a student, faculty or staff member at the College, and the person(s) is not officially sponsored by either the College and/or a College-recognized student group to speak at the College.

Revision History
Review Date Change Description Originator
04/2023 Proposed change in application process and who approves applications E.Hoyt
07/2023 Policy approved ELT


Office of Admissions

118 Bush Hall