The University of Hawai’i at Hilo is implementing an interim policy on speech and assembly while the university explores permanent changes to the policy.
“UH Hilo is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas. The interim policy will ensure our students have that right while we continue our review of campus policies,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney.
The review of policies follows a lawsuit filed in federal court by two students, against the University of Hawai’i and four individuals. The students allege various federal claims, mostly relating to First Amendment issues.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, the university and the students, through their respective attorneys, have engaged in productive discussions to resolve the lawsuit, including exploring possible permanent changes to university policy and practices regarding speech and assembly on campus. The university hopes to resolve the lawsuit with the students.
UH Hilo affirms the rights of its students to engage in free speech and other expressive activity guaranteed by the First Amendment. In this spirit, UH Hilo has adopted the interim policy, effective May 15, 2014:
1) UH-Hilo will implement Section 20-13-6 of the Administrative Rules for the University of Hawai‘i and Sections 10 and 11 of the Facilities Use Practice and Procedures, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (July 1995) in a manner to permit student speech and assembly without first having to apply for or obtain permission from the University in all areas generally available to students and the community, defined as open areas, sidewalks, streets, or other similar common areas.
2) UH-Hilo will implement the solicitation policy as set forth in Section 20-13-7 of the Administrative Rules for the University of Hawai‘i and in Section 13 of the Facilities Use Practice and Procedures, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (July 1995) in a manner to permit students to approach others on campus and to distribute non-commercial literature at UH-Hilo in all areas generally available to students and the community.
3) Notwithstanding the above, persons speaking, assembling, and/or distributing material shall not impede the progress of passersby.
4) Notwithstanding the above, no event, speech, demonstration, or other expressive activity on campus shall interfere with or disrupt the educational process or other scheduled activities of the campus or its facilities. This includes the use of any means of amplification that creates a noise or diversion that substantially disrupts the orderly conduct of the campus or classes taking place at that time.