Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Expressive Conduct Policy


Portland Community College (PCC) fully supports open expression and free speech by students and the public. This is called “expressive conduct” and includes speech, literature distribution, displays or signs, petition circulation, and other forms of free expression. PCC does not regulate the content of expressive conduct; however, to maintain safety and the college mission, PCC does regulate the time, place, and manner of these activities on college property.

Members of the public who are interested in reserving space at PCC for a free speech or expressive conduct activity should review the Guidelines below before submitting the agreement form online or in person.

  • Designated spaces are available on all PCC campuses
  • Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • You must submit the agreement form online or in person 3-30 days in advance

Purpose and authority

One of the ways that Portland Community College (“PCC” or “College”) fulfills its mission is in maintaining an environment that enables the free exchange of ideas without regard to the viewpoint expressed, yet ensures that the educational environment for delivering accessible, quality education is preserved for the students and communities we serve.

Authority to regulate access to its property is provided to PCC by ORS 341.290 and affirmed through Board Policy B601 – Use of District Facilities and Equipment. In exercising its authority, PCC seeks to avoid regulating the content of expressive conduct at applicable sites. PCC seeks to regulate only time, place, and/or manner of expressive conduct to maintain its ability to carry out its educational mission without interruption and to ensure safety on sites under its authority.

This college policy-level document is intended to specify the criteria that PCC will apply in exercising this authority.


This policy applies to property that PCC owns, leases or rents. In the case of leases and rentals, it applies only to the spaces that PCC actually rents and not the larger property. This policy is not intended to regulate PCC-owned property for which PCC has granted easements to other public agencies or that PCC has leased to other public or private entities. The rationale for this is that PCC does not have operating control of these properties.

Definition of expressive conduct

Expressive conduct includes speech, non-verbal expression, literature distribution, displays and signs, petition circulation, and other forms of free expression.

PCC forums of public expression

This policy defines the “place” within which public expression occurs at PCC as a “forum.” The following identifies types of forums at PCC.

Traditional public forums

Public sidewalks and city rights of way adjoining a PCC site are considered Traditional Public Forums. Examples include the sidewalks on the periphery of most PCC sites. Expressive conduct on these sites is not regulated by PCC but may be regulated by other public entities. PCC reserves the right to address conduct that substantially disrupts or may substantially disrupt PCC’s educational activities even if it occurs on property PCC does not control.

Non-public forums

PCC’s buildings and virtual infrastructure are created to provide instruction and educational services to students, and the necessary college support for those services. Accordingly, these spaces are Non-public Forums and are not forums for expressive conduct. These spaces (physical or virtual) include:

  • Classrooms, laboratories, shops, and all instructional preparation areas
  • Recreational fields, tracks, and other outdoor areas designated for physical education
  • Service areas and resource centers
  • Libraries and theaters
  • Faculty, staff, and administrative offices
  • Infrastructure systems spaces (shops, warehouses, electrical rooms, mechanical rooms, IT rooms, etc.)
  • Parking lots, roadways, driveways, garages, bus and shuttle stops and shelters, and entrances and exits to buildings
  • Restrooms and hallways
  • Foodservice and dining areas
  • Infrastructure devoted to ADA accommodation needs (ramps, lifts, etc.)
  • Farms, gardens, and solar array areas
  • Bulletin boards other than those specified as Designated Public Forum areas
  • College printed publications (catalogs, schedules, journals, magazines, etc.)
  • College electronic administrative, instructional, communication, or information systems (email, Banner, MyPCC, D2L, etc.)
  • Any generally Designated Public Forum that is in use for a specific College or PCC student sponsored activity or event
Designated public forums

Certain areas of PCC-owned property are Designated Public Forums. PCC recognizes the importance of social discourse and the free exchange of ideas in areas generally available to students and the community. These areas provide visibility and allow communication with a large number of people, however, are not likely to disrupt educational and other activities central to fulfilling the mission of the college. In these areas, the College shall enact administrative procedures necessary to reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of the free expression only. Areas considered generally available to students and the community include:

  • External Facilities Spaces (outside of buildings). Most space outside PCC buildings that is not specifically identified as a Non-public Forum is considered generally available to students and the community and thus considered as Designated Public Forums, as long as expression complies with Limitations and Prohibited Activities (identified below).
  • Internal Facilities Spaces (inside of buildings). PCC identifies certain physical spaces inside of buildings that are, practically speaking, generally available to students and the community and may be available for free expression activities, as long as expression complies with Limitations and Prohibited Activities (identified below).
  • Bulletin Boards. PCC identifies bulletin boards for Designated Public Forum use in posting materials. These bulletin boards are marked “For General Use” and located at various PCC campuses and centers in areas generally available to students and the community. All materials must bear the name and contact information of the organization or individual distributing the materials and is limited in size, duration of posting, and lawfulness of content.
  • Virtual Spaces. There are times when PCC specifically identifies electronic media venues that invite public comment, such as blogs, story walls, or webpages hosted through pcc.edu. These virtual spaces are considered Designated Public Forums for social discourse and the exchange of ideas.
Limitations related to the use of designated public forums
  • User must provide notification and obtain approval from the College for use of Designated Public Forum space through the “Space Use Application and User Agreement” process.
  • Use will conform to the site or the College’s normal operating hours.
  • Use of space may not impede the passage of others or operations of the College.
  • Users will not force or coerce any individual to take materials or sign petitions, nor make physical contact with individuals.
  • Internal facilities space use will generally be limited to one table and two chairs due to space constraints and desire to assure greater access to space. Users may not bring extra tables, chairs, racks, or display devices that would extend the allocated space.
  • Use will not require the College to provide special support services or insurance coverage. Should an activity require the College to provide special support or incur costs, the user must be willing to pay for such services or costs.
  • PCC reserves the right to close or temporarily limit the use of any Designated Public Forum area for a College or PCC student-sponsored activity or event or for health, safety, or welfare considerations.
Prohibited activities in designated public forums
  • Any activity that disrupts the ability of the College to fulfill its mission of instruction and related services and business operations. Examples include, but are not limited to, excessive noise, impeding traffic or pedestrian movement, and unlawful conduct.
  • Any activity that may damage College property
  • Leaving trash, litter, pollutants, or other materials in any area.
  • Distribution or solicitation by placing materials on vehicles.
  • Fraud or misrepresentation of self or organization or misrepresentation or implication that the College sponsors, supports, or endorses any view, belief, statement, literature, company, product, or service being disseminated or exhibited.
  • Any activity in violation of the PCC Policy on Student Conduct.
  • Any violation of the College’s Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy.

Space use application and user agreement

Individuals or groups wishing to engage in speech or expressive activities in Designated Public Forums shall provide notification and agreement with terms of use through the agreement form online or in person. In general, submission is required at least 3 and no more than 30 business days in advance of desired space use. Exceptions to the notification period are made for expressive conduct activities in external facilities spaces that do not require table and chairs or other space set-up and for bulletin board postings.

Notification must include the name and contact information of the individual or group and describe the nature of the activities. As appropriate, requests should be made for the desired time of use and specific geographical location within Designated Public Forum space. Approvals are made on a first-come, first-served basis after reviewing the request for any conflict with prior-approved expressive conduct and/or College-sponsored events.

Special consideration for PCC student organizations

In addition to the general right of access to Designated Public Forum spaces, any recognized PCC student club or organization may seek to reserve the use of specific areas by completing the agreement form online or in person at least one day in advance. Recognized student clubs and organizations will have priority over other persons seeking specific space use. See Student Clubs and Organizing within the PCC Policy on Student Rights.


Campus administration, in partnership with the PCC Department of Public Safety, shall enforce the provisions of this policy. Any person failing to comply with this policy may be denied the use of facilities for purposes of free expression.

Dispute resolution

Any person or recognized student organization who believes unlawful, unreasonable, or arbitrary limitations have been imposed on any of their speech or other expressive activities under this policy may file a formal complaint through the PCC Complaint process.