Current through the 2020 Regular Session Acts 1 through 206
(a) On or before January 1, 2020, the board of trustees of each public institution of higher education shall adopt a policy on free expression that is consistent with this act. The policy, at a minimum, shall adhere to all of the following provisions:(1) That the primary function of the public institution of higher education is the discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate, and that, to fulfill that function, the institution will strive to ensure the fullest degree possible of intellectual freedom and free expression.(2) That it is not the proper role of the institution to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, including without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.(3) That students, administrators, faculty, and staff are free to take positions on public controversies and to engage in protected expressive activity in outdoor areas of the campus, and to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble, speak, and distribute literature.(4) That the outdoor areas of a campus of a public institution of higher education shall be deemed to be a forum for members of the campus community, and the institution shall not create free speech zones or other designated outdoor areas of campus in order to limit or prohibit protected expressive activities.(5) That the campus of the public institution of higher education shall be open to any speaker whom the institution's student organizations or faculty have invited, and the institution will make all reasonable efforts to make available all reasonable resources to ensure the safety of the campus community, and that the institution will not charge security fees based on the protected expressive activity of the member of the campus community or the member's organization, or the content of the invited guest's speech, or the anticipated reaction or opposition of the listeners to the speech.(6) That the public institution of higher education shall not permit members of the campus community to engage in conduct that materially and substantially disrupts another person's protected expressive activity or infringes on the rights of others to engage in or listen to a protected expressive activity that is occurring in a location that has been reserved for that protected expressive activity and shall adopt a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone under the jurisdiction of the institution who materially and substantially disrupts the free expression of others.(7) That the public institution of higher education may maintain and enforce constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions for outdoor areas of campus only when they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant institutional interest and when the restrictions employ clear, published, content-neutral, and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression. All restrictions shall allow for members of the university community to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble and distribute literature.(8) That the public institution of higher education shall support free association and shall not deny a student organization any benefit or privilege available to any other student organization or otherwise discriminate against an organization based on the expression of the organization, including any requirement of the organization that the leaders or members of the organization affirm and adhere to an organization's sincerely held beliefs or statement of principles, comply with the organization's standard of conduct, or further the organization's mission or purpose, as defined by the student organization.(9) That the institution should strive to remain neutral, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day, except as far as administrative decisions on the issues are essential to the day-to-day functioning of the university, and that the institution will not require students, faculty, or staff to publicly express a given view of a public controversy.(10) That the public institution of higher education shall prohibit harassment in a manner consistent with the definition provided in this act, and no more expansively than provided herein.(b) The policy developed pursuant to this section shall supersede and nullify any prior provisions in the policies of the institution that restrict speech on campus and are, therefore, inconsistent with this policy. The institution shall remove or revise any of these provisions in its policies to ensure compatibility with this policy.(c) Public institutions of higher education shall include in the new student, new faculty, and new staff orientation programs a section describing to all members of the campus community the policy developed pursuant to this section. In addition, public institutions of higher education shall disseminate the policy to all members of the campus community and make the policy available in their handbooks and on the institutions' websites.
Ala. Code § 16-68-3 (1975)Added by Act 2019-396,§ 3, eff. 7/1/2020.