5.1 Freedom of Expression

5.1.1 General Policy

Georgia Tech holds the first amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to assemble peaceably as an essential cornerstone to the advancement of knowledge and the right of a free people. Georgia Tech remains firmly committed to affording every member of the Institute community the opportunity to engage in peaceful and orderly exercise of these rights. Such opportunities must be provided on an equal basis and support the principle that the Institute should remain neutral to the views of public expression. In order to achieve this objective, while at the same time insuring that the Institute fulfills its educational mission, the Institute has the responsibility to maintain a peaceful, safe environment for its campus community as well as visitors to campus. This policy will help to ensure that individuals’ or groups’ rights are not abridged, while also supporting a means to maintain safety. Assuming responsibility for the use of Institute facilities includes ensuring that the Institute does not restrict the First Amendment rights of the public, students, staff, and faculty, including protecting the rights of speakers to be heard, the rights of the Institute community to hear speakers, and the reputation of the Institute as a center for free speech and scholarly inquiry.

The law permits reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions to allow for reasonable regulation of use of campus facilities to support Institutional missions for teaching, education, research, and other forms of learning. This policy is intended to make it possible to support the Institute’s goals by implementing balanced procedures.

Access to the campus of Georgia Tech generally shall be limited to authorized visitors, invited guests, and persons in an official Institutional capacity attending an officially recognized campus-oriented function or activity.

Students, faculty, staff, and Institute affiliates are supported in their right to assemble. They can publicly assemble on campus in any place where, at the time of the assembly, the persons assembling are permitted to be. This right to assemble is subject to the rules on use of Institute facilities.


5.1.2 Faculty Rights and Academic Freedom

Georgia Tech recognizes specific rights of faculty members, related to Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom, associated with their role in the Institutional missions for teaching, education, and research. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Any member of the teaching faculty may invite an off-campus speaker to address the registered students of their regularly scheduled class in the assigned classroom space.
  2. Any faculty member may invite an off-campus speaker to address students engaged in research under his/her direction.
  3. Any academic unit (e.g., department or school) or recognized faculty/staff organization may invite an off-campus speaker to address the membership of the unit or organization.

Any time, other than regularly scheduled class time, and any location, other than assigned classroom or research space, for such a speaker must be scheduled in accordance with Institute policies.

By acceptance of an invitation to speak, the speaker shall assume full responsibility for any violation of law committed by him/her while he/she is on campus. The sponsoring individual or organization shall not, in any invitations, advertisements or other correspondence, imply that the Institute or the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approve or are in agreement with any of the positions espoused by the speaker.  The use of facilities of the Institute shall not necessarily imply that the Institute or the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approves or are in agreement with any of the speaker’s statements.