Regulations on Guest Speakers and Presentations

Regulations on Guest Speakers and Presentations


The University encourages a balanced approach in all communications and the inclusion of contrary points of view. Expression that is indecent, grossly obscene, or grossly offensive on matters such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation is inappropriate in a university community, and the University will act as it deems appropriate to educate students violating this principle. Although freedom of expression is subject to reasonable restrictions on time, place, and manner, such restrictions shall be applied without discrimination toward the content of the views being expressed or the speaker. The use of the University forum shall not imply acceptance or endorsement by the University of the views expressed.


Student organizations that are currently registered by with the University of San Francisco may invite non-University speakers to address meetings on campus in accordance with the Institutional Policy on Freedom of Expression, Activities Regulations, and the Event Scheduling Policies (included in the Fogcutter Student Handbook) as well as the “Time, Place, and Manner Regulations” printed below. For purposes of this section, a “meeting” is an event organized by an individual or group primarily for the dissemination or exchange of ideas and is not to be construed to include academic convocations, regularly scheduled classes, or regular business meetings of University departments. Individual students or student groups that have not qualified as registered student organizations may not invite non-University speakers to address meetings on campus. (This provision is limited intentionally to registered student organizations and is not intended to affect the right of the University administration to exercise whatever control it deems appropriate over the right of administrators or non-student groups, such as alumni groups, to invite outside speakers to address meetings on the campus.) Those individuals who either directly host an event or sponsor a speaker or presentation shall be jointly liable for all reasonable consequences of that activity. Staff will assist students in complying with appropriate regulations for sponsoring guest speakers.


  • Plans for speeches and presentations must be developed so as to ensure the guest speaker’s right to express her or his views, even if members of the audience disagree with the speaker or find the views offensive. Such plans also should provide opportunities for individuals and groups who disagree with the speaker to register their opposition.

  • The rights of the dissenter(s) should be respected as much as the rights of the guest speaker. The speaker, however, is entitled to communicate her or his message to the audience during her or his allotted time, and the audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker during that time. The dissenter(s) must not interfere with the speaker’s ability to communicate or the audience’s ability to hear and see the speaker.

  • To ensure an exchange of ideas, groups most likely to be offended by the views of the guest speaker should be informed of the event by the sponsoring organization. This is only a recommendation and should not be construed as a restriction on speakers or topics.

  • In the furtherance of educational objectives, guest speakers should be encouraged by the sponsoring organization to accept questions from the audience. In addition, the organization should be encouraged to have the meeting chaired or moderated by a neutral party.

  • Guidelines for the event – subject to the approval of the Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement or designee – must be in place prior to the event. This includes, but is not limited to, a signed Performance Agreement, assigning individuals to be responsible for various aspects of the event, requiring appropriate forms of identification (including but not limited to student IDs), providing adequate number of student monitors, and hiring USF Public Safety officers.

  • Public Safety must be notified if the event is likely to draw 100 or more participants or when the Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement determines that the staging of the event is likely to cause some sort of disruption. This will enable Public Safety to plan the campus security response and assign responsibility for carrying out this response. The sponsoring organization will be required to hire an adequate number of USF Public Safety officers to provide security for the event or meeting.

  • A group hosting an event is responsible for all costs, as determined by the University administration, associated with the event.

  • If previously established time, place, and manner regulations are not being followed, or if speech or expression violates the Institutional Policy on Freedom of Expression or any of its supporting regulations or procedures, appropriate action will be taken by an authorized University official or law enforcement officer. Such action normally will include a request for order, removal of the offenders, or closure of the event.

The sponsoring organization must include the following statement in its advertisements, announcements, and press releases: “The presence of a guest speaker on the campus of the University of San Francisco does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement by the University of the views expressed by the guest speaker or by anyone else present at the event.” In addition, the Vice President for Student Life or designee may require that this statement be read at the beginning of the speech or presentation.


  • The Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement may refuse to permit an off-campus speaker to appear on campus only if it is determined that the proposed speech will constitute a clear and present danger to the orderly operation or peaceful conduct of campus functions, or will violate any of the provisions included herein as well as the Institutional Policy on Freedom of Expression, Activities Regulations, and Event Scheduling Policies (see Fogcutter Student Handbook). (This provision is not directed at guest lecturers invited by an instructor to appear in the classroom during regularly scheduled classes.)

  • Members of a registered student organization who believe that a decision to refuse a guest speaker has been made in a manner that denies their rights as members of the University community may file an appeal, in writing, with the Vice President for Student Life (University Center 5th Floor). The decision of the Vice President is final, subject only to appeal to the President of the University.