The Freedom of Expression policy, which , bans “demonstrations, rallies, public speech-making, picketing, sit-ins, marches, protests, and similar assemblies” inside university buildings. It states that students may reserve certain space indoors to participate in “constitutionally protected speech” and activities.
The "Use of Outdoor Space" policy was revised for interim use with the new "Freedom of Expression" policy. It provides detailed, individualized guidelines for on campus. Guidelines include provisions on how long space can be reserved, how much noise is permitted and what signs are permitted.
The policies received widespread criticism after the university announced them in September. The OU College Democrats, the OU College Republicans, the and OU's student, graduate student and faculty senates have all condemned the policy. Activists interpret for the Feb. 1, 2017, protest during which 70 students were . Trespassing charges against those students were dropped after one was found not guilty.
The interim policy is now effective until Aug. 17, but the university intends to adopt new policies before then, according to a university news release.
The university will host a public forum on March 21 from 5-7 p.m. in Baker Ballroom A for people to discuss freedom of expression. Soon after, the Presidential Policy Advisory Group will issue final recommendations for a permanent policy.
After the Presidential Policy Advisory Group completes its recommended policy, the five university senates and the Executive Staff Policy Committee will review it, and then it will go to the president’s office.
“As you know, shared governance is often not an expeditious process. But we need to take the time to get it right,” Nellis wrote in the release.