Regents pass revised Free Expression Policy

Protesters were at a stand still as the newly proposed Free Expression Policy went before the Board of Regents, who passed the policy at its meeting May 2.

The policy includes changes such as designating the campus as a limited public forum and emphasizing “content neutral” practices. Other adjustments included eliminating “prior restraint” language, eliminating “Free Speech Areas” concept and clarifying posting and handbill practices.

Other accommodations included creating a “Temporary Display” policy, which permits the practice of chalking on campus walkways and establishes a “reasonable person” standard for policy interpretation.

“I’m glad it finally passed in a form conducted for free expression,” said Eric Cranley, former president of College Republicans.

President James Votruba also expressed his support for the new policy at the meeting.

“I think the process is exactly what it should be,” he said. “Students found a problem and fixed it, rather than adversarialy fixing it.”

Votruba also added that he was shocked that so many people wanted to keep chalking, although he does feel that “chalking is fine.”

During the spring Student Government Association election, students were asked to answer an opinion poll that asked if they were in favor or against chalking. Students voted overwhelming voted to maintain chalking.

Another issue brought up in the board meeting was the initiative to add a $15 fine if students don’t pay their parking citations within the first 10 days of receiving the citation.

Former SGA president and board member Josh Ruth noted that he would be more comfortable if the university used alternatives to collect money.

“The level of fee should affect students to want to pay their ticket faster,” Ruth said. He also suggested putting a monetary time period window for students to pay their tickets quicker.

The board passed to implement the $15 fee for the 2007-2008 school year.

“The fines are a start and are not meant to hurt students’ pocket book,” said Mike Tobergta, a student representative on the Parking Advisory Board. “It’s worth a shot.”

Tobergta said the $15 fee will give people an incentive and that it’s “worth looking into.”

“It’s important to note that it’s not a fee it’s a fine,” said Ken Ramey vice president of Administration and Finance. “It goes for students, faculty and staff.”