GCC’s current policies dealing with college visitors are being updated because of the questions they raise about regulating where visitors can solicit on campus.
The update may broaden the areas on campus visitors can distribute material; revisions will mean a change in the way the public is allowed to use the campus for solicitations according to Dean of Student Activities Paul Schlossman.
The original administrative regulations that deal with campus speakers and the distribution of printed materials adopted in 1973 were last revised in 2001.
The college felt the need to update these regulations this winter “because the law always changes [and] because [the law often] involves colleges,” said Schlossman.
Schlossman said that federal policies have resulted in a need to revisit GCC’s current regulations. “We need to make sure that our policy and regulations are tailored to our campus’ needs,” he said.
These policies will dictate where visitors can go and under what circumstances they can distribute material on campus. “We can rarely if ever regulate content,” said Schlossman. “For the most part, the kind of regulations we can implement in our policies are time, place and manner [policies].”
Schlossman assures that the public’s freedom of speech rights will not be infringed upon. “But we need to make sure that speech activities aren’t interrupting [the] normal college…educational environment,” he said.
The need for revisions of these regulations was furthered by an arrest on campus in late October.
Two Lyndon LaRouche supporters visited Glendale College and interrupted several classrooms to solicit the politician which resulted in a citizens arrest by a professor on campus, whose name the police department would not disclose.
Geography professor Mike Reed was one of the professors whose classrooms the two solicitors interrupted; they were wearing masks of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and performed a skit in front of Reed’s geography class.
“They were dressed up like Dick Cheney and George Bush,” said Reed. “It was intrusive; people were offended and a little threatened and I can see why.”
The two men entered the classroom without Reed’s permission, “in the middle of the sentence I was speaking,” he said. “It was theater; it was clearly inappropriate [and] they should’ve asked permission.”
Reed’s first impression of the two men was that they looked like bank robbers, he said. “What’re they doing in my classroom?”
Reed said that he joked along at first but that he “approached them pretty quickly.” He then asked the two men to leave. “My goal was to appease them and get them out.”
Following this incident and a few similar ones, Schlossman sent out an e-mail asking any faculty members who had this kind of intrusion in their classroom to report the incident to the campus police station and that’s what Reed did.
“Should someone be able to completely interrupt a class? Do they have the right to do that? We don’t think so,” said Schlossman. He hopes that the revised version of the policies will keep similar incidents from reoccurring in the future.
Under Board Policy 5410, the one that is under review, those who wish to speak and distribute material must “use public address systems in a manner which does not interfere with or disrupt the orderly operation of the college.”
Currently, Schlossman is working with the campus attorney in the revision of standing regulations; they will use the winter break to adopt a revised version and then send the proposed policy to the Student Affairs Committee for review.
The committee “might suggest changes [and] approve the final language,” said Schlossman.
The revision process, which began in June, will be finalized sometime in the spring when the GCC Board of Trustees approves the final version, since it is board policy.
“You can be here as long as you follow the regulations,” said Schlossman.