Free Speech and Open Expression Policy

Purdue University Northwest recognizes the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and believes academic progress and freedom flourish when these rights are assured. Consistent with these protections, and with the powers and duties granted to the Trustees of Purdue University by the Indiana General Assembly, the Trustees have published Regulations Governing the Use and Assignment of University Facilities (Policy1.4.1).

Consistent with the foregoing principles and regulations, Purdue University Northwest offers the following guidelines for the use of facilities at Purdue University Northwest.

Public Areas

To facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas, the University has designated two areas at the following locations:  1) Hammond Campus Founder’s Plaza “H-A” and “H-B,” and  2) Westville Campus Central Plaza “W-A” and “W-B” for peaceable assembly and the expression of ideas and opinions.

Hammond Campus

Westville Campus

These areas may be used for expressive activity by individuals and groups, including non-students and other campus guests. In addition to its high visibility and easy accessibility, these areas have been identified as a place where demonstrations and other expressive activities are least likely to disrupt University activities and functions.  These areas may be used without permission from the University so long as the area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function, the expressive activity does not disrupt of obstruct University functions, and the participants do not violate other University policies.

Controlled Areas

Some University facilities that are not open to the public may be reserved, subject to availability. Reasonable charges or deposits may be imposed to ensure that exterior and interior locations are left in their original condition at the conclusion of the events.

Statement of Responsibility for Individuals Sponsoring Events

All events must be organized within the parameters of University policies and normal operating procedures. Individuals who wish to sponsor events may do so as long as the event does not disrupt, impair or obstruct the lawful missions, processes, procedures or functions of the University, or the lawful and authorized use of University facilities by others. Students and groups who sponsor events must adhere to the Regulations Governing Student Conduct.

Procedures for Scheduling Events in Defined Assembly Areas

Although it is not necessary for a person or group using the designated areas to obtain prior permission from the University, the University encourages such persons to contact the appropriate office to reserve a space.  Priority is given for use of these locations to individuals and/or groups who register their assemblies with the University.  The use of megaphones is permitted as consistent with the applicable law and local ordinances, but amplified equipment may not be used outside.  Students should contact the Office of Student Life. Groups should contact the Senior Director of Facilities in order to reserve or schedule the areas in advance so as to minimize possible conflicts.

Nothing in the foregoing shall be interpreted as limiting the right of student expression elsewhere on the campus so long as the expressive activity or related student conduct does not disrupt University activities and functions or violate any other applicable University policies. Obstructing building entrances, walkways, and rights-of-way; obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic on or adjacent to campus; or interfering with classes, meetings, events or ceremonies or with other essential processes of the University will generally be considered to be disruptive of University activities and functions.

Procedures for Scheduling Events in Controlled Areas

Individuals who wish to use controlled areas on campus are expected to reserve the room in order to confirm its availability.  Reserving the venue avoids the problem of competition for space. Students reserving venues must complete the “Event Form.”

Distribution of Printed Materials

Persons who distribute printed materials are responsible for the contents. Leaflets, informational sheets, or similar materials may be distributed if the distributors position themselves to avoid restricting access. Distribution of materials in connection with any activity that involves a request or plea for contributions, opinions, and/or support, which relates solely to the economic interests of the solicitor and/or his/her audience, is prohibited.

Response to Violations

Violations of this policy by a student or student organization will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary review. Violations by faculty or staff members will be handled through appropriate administrative channels. Any individual who violates these guidelines is subject to removal from campus, police arrest and/or criminal charges.


The University, through the Chancellor and the Senior Leadership Team, shall act to encourage and facilitate free and open expression within these guidelines:

  1. The University shall publish these Guidelines at least once each academic year in a manner that brings them to the attention of members of the University community. These guidelines will include the following:
    1. Policies and procedures/forms to be used for the reservation and use of designated spaces by members of the University community;
    2. Policies and procedures/forms to be used for the reservation and use of designated spaces by groups composed entirely or predominantly of persons who are not members of the University community.


  1. a)  Student. Any person, who has registered in one or more undergraduate or graduate courses at the University, excluding, however, regular staff members who are enrolled in courses for less than eight semester hours credit in the spring or fall terms or less than five semester hours credit in the summer term.
  2. b)  Staff Member. Any person, who is not a student, but who is employed temporarily or permanently, full or part-time, by the University in any capacity, including but not limited to, members of the faculty and members of the administrative-professional, extension, service or clerical staff of the University.
  3. c)  Campus: All real property owned or occupied by Purdue University Northwest.
  4. d)  Public Areas: University Facilities, which are open to orderly unsupervised access by faculty, staff, students and visitors (e.g. streets, sidewalks, lawn areas, and designated portions of some University buildings and recreation areas during regular building hours.)
  5. e)  University Facilities. Any building or structure or any improved or unimproved land, or any part of any such building, structure, or land, which is owned, used or occupied by Purdue University Northwest.