IV. The Student as a Campus Citizen

A.  Student Government

The University recognizes the right of the students to form and democratically elect their governing bodies as a means to participate in discussion of issues and problems facing the academic community.  The governing bodies shall function as representatives of the student to the administration and faculty of the University, as well as to the entire community.

The electorate of a University-wide student government shall consist of the entire student body.  Any elected members of a governing body representing less than the entire student body shall be elected in such manner as to create or preserve essential representational equality.

B.   Student Organizations

1. Freedom of Student Association

The students of The George Washington University are free to organize and join organizations to promote their common and lawful interests, subject to University regulations.  All members of a student organization must be currently registered students of the University.  The fact of affiliation with any extramural association or national organization or political party, so long as it is an openly declared affiliation, should not of itself bar a student organization from registration or recognition.  However, action may be taken to insure that the University does not, through the activities of campus student organizations, stand in violation of laws that place limits on campus political activities.  The administration and faculty shall not discriminate against a student because of membership in any student organization meeting the conditions of this section.

2. Registration, Recognition, and Disclosures

All student organizations shall be registered and recognized in accordance with the University regulations.  Registration or recognition may be withheld or withdrawn from organizations that violate University regulations.  Registration and recognition procedures shall require identification of responsible officers.  On a case-by-case basis, upon request of the Center for Student Engagement, organizations may be asked to provide a list of all members of their group.

Once recognition of a student group or like organization has been withdrawn, no actions may be taken at or within the University in the name of that group or organization.  Students who do so may be subject to disciplinary action.

3. Use of Campus Facilities

Meeting rooms, other campus facilities and funding should be made available, on an equitable basis, only to all registered student organizations, as far as the primary use of these facilities and funding for other University purposes permits and in keeping with the best interests of the University.

Under the Bylaws of the University, only designated officers of the University may sign contracts binding on the University.  Students may not sign contracts or agreements in the name of the University or a student organization or otherwise commit University or organization funds.  Students who do so shall be held personally and financially liable for all costs and commitments made.  Students should refer to the Student Organization Manual or Center for Student Engagement website for information on contracting procedures.

C.  Student-Sponsored Forums

Students shall have the right to assemble, to select speakers, and to discuss issues of their choice, provided that the assembly is lawful in nature, does not interfere with the processes of the University, and does not infringe upon the rights of others; the University reserves the right to prohibit assemblies having in its judgment the clear likelihood of failing to meet one or more of these conditions.

Students shall be allowed to invite and hear any person of their own choosing, subject to the conditions listed here.  Those routine procedures required by the University before a guest speaker is invited to appear on campus shall be designed only to ensure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities, adequate preparation for the event and that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community.  The control of campus facilities shall not be used as a device to restrict a guest speaker's expression solely on the basis of disapproval or apprehension of his ideas or motives.  However, it shall be made clear to the academic and larger community by sponsoring organizations that sponsorship of guest speakers does not necessarily imply University approval or endorsement of views expressed.

Students must recognize their responsibility to uphold the right of free speech and to permit invited speakers to appear and speak without inappropriate interruption or demonstration.  The members of the University community are urged to hear all sides of controversial issues represented.

D.   Pamphlets, Petitions, and Demonstrations

The George Washington University is committed to the protection of free speech, the freedom of assembly, and the safeguarding of the right of lawful protest on campus.  Therefore, student organizations and individual students shall have the right to distribute pamphlets, collect names for petitions, and conduct orderly demonstrations provided these actions are not disruptive of normal University functions and do not encompass the physical takeover or occupation of buildings, offices, classrooms, hallways, or other parts of buildings without authorization of the University, whether or not University functions are performed in them at that time.

While all students have the right to dissent and to protest, the limitation exists that these rights shall not be exercised in such a manner as to infringe on the rights of other students, or of faculty members, to conduct class, hold their own meetings or hear another speaker, or in such a manner as to be disruptive of normal University functions.  No one group or organization holds a monopoly on dissent or on freedom to hear all sides.  Further, the fact that students may pursue their interests through speech and assembly on campus does not abrogate their accountability as citizens to the laws of the larger society, and the University is entitled to reflect these constraints in its own regulations.

E.  Student Publications and Media

The student press and media shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, while being governed by the canons of responsible journalism.

Editors and managers of student publications or broadcast stations shall be free from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content.  Only for proper and stated causes shall editors and managers be subject to removal and then by orderly and prescribed procedures.  Such removal shall be deemed a form of disciplinary action and therefore subject to prescribed due process in disciplinary cases.  The agency responsible for the appointment of editors and managers shall be the agency responsible for their removal.

Even though certain publications may be financially dependent on the University, in the delegation of editorial responsibility to students, the University shall provide sufficient editorial freedom and financial autonomy for the student publications to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community.

All student publications that are published and financed by the University shall explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions expressed are those of the publication and are not necessarily those of the University or the student body.

Any committees for the supervision of such publications or media shall have student members.

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