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Facilities - Use by Third Parties for Free Speech

The following constitutes SUNY Canton’s “time, place, and manner” policy on the use of college-owned facilities by third parties for free speech purposes as 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 this Policy

The College respects and fully supports the rights granted to individuals under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding free speech.

As a public entity, partially funded by New York State tax dollars, the College will provide a designated public forum to third parties outside of the campus community for their exercise of free-speech rights. To comply with existing law, the College recognizes that it will be dedicating 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 possibly utilizing University Police and other administrative offices’ staff, 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 the Campus while responsibly managing and allocating its resources in pursuit of its educational mission.

Policy Application

This policy shall apply to all third parties as defined below. This policy does not apply to students, speakers officially sponsored by recognized student groups, faculty, or staff as other reservation and use policies apply to those campus community members.


Blackout 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 core of its primary educational mission. During these blackout periods, no third party shall be allowed to use the designated public forum for free-speech purposes. The College designates the blackout periods during the following:

  • Official move-in periods and Orientation of fall and spring semesters.
  • Reading periods and examination periods as set forth on academic calendar.
  • Commencement-related activities and events.
  • Major fall or spring campus-wide celebrations, including but not limited to concerts, grand openings, Homecoming and Family Weekend, FallFest, and SpringFest.
  • The conservation shutdown 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 timeframe is included in the blackout period because the offices are generally closed and the campus is virtually vacant to conserve energy and to save money to meet state budget reductions.

Designated Public Forum

The College identifies the following area as its designate public forum: the outside area of the Richard W. Miller Campus Center (“Campus Center”), also known on campus as Roselle Plaza. The designated public forum is bounded to the north by the front door of the Campus Center, to the south by the stone wall/walkway guiding visitors to French Hall, and to the west and east by the Southworth Library Learning Commons, the walls of the Campus Center, and the entry doors to Cook Hall.

The College designates this outdoor space for its designated public forum, as this space is the most highly pedestrian-trafficked area on the College’s campus by students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In addition, the use of this space is also not likely to interfere with classroom instruction or dormitory residences.

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

Third Party

Any non-student, faculty or staff person, or group who is not officially sponsored by the College and/or is not a recognized student group.


  1. The College provides a designated public forum for use by third parties for free-speech purposes.
  2. Reservation and Recordkeeping of the Use of Space:
    1. Third parties who seek to use the designated public forum must:
      • Complete a Designated Public Forum Application, which can be found on the University Police webpage.
      • File the application with the Chief of University Police at least three (3) business days before the date the applicant wishes 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 proper delivery to the Chief of University Police in a timely manner. The Office is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for holidays and certain College blackout days as noted above. Completed applications to use the designated public forum should be sent or hand delivered to the Chief of University Police, SUNY Canton, 34 Cornell Drive – DH, Canton, New York 13617, or submitted via email to mulkina@canton.edu.
    2. The College shall review the application and respond to the applicant no later than the close of business on the second business day prior to the date the applicant wishes to use the designated public forum.
      • 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 to use the designated forum on the date and time so requested.
      • 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 by the Chief of University Police.
      • 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 “blackout period” as defined above, the College shall inform the applicant 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 or use the designated public forum.
    3. Impose insurance requirements on the applicant.
    4. Charge the applicant for any additional costs that the College may incur due to the use of the space by the applicant, such as security.
  4. The applicant shall:
    1. Be responsible for any costs for parking on the campus in the same manner as all students, faculty, staff, and visitors are charged for parking.
    2. Be responsible for picking up from the designated public forum any brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, or other handouts or goods that the applicant brought with him/her to disseminate during his/her activity and properly disposing of them in public garbage receptacles or taking them with him/her. 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.
    3. Not use megaphone equipment for the amplification of the speech; however, upon written request at the time of application, and on the application, by the applicant, and weather permitting to protect the College’s equipment, the College will provide a microphone and sound system for the speaker.
  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 and for the safety of the entire campus community.

All applications must be reviewed and approved by the Chief of University Police.

Anyone with questions should contact the Chief of University Police at (315) 386-7777 or mulkina@canton.edu.