Student Life & Involvement

Freedom of Expression


Dr. Katheryn Jeffery

As a public institution, Santa Monica College (SMC) is firmly committed, values, and legally bound to uphold the right to freedom of speech as broadly protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution. We support the creative, thoughtful, and civil dialogue that is necessary to cultivate a diverse community of learners and welcome respectful discourse where conflicting perspectives can lead to robust debate and discussion

SMC Guidelines for Freedom of Expression

Generally, expression may not be banned or restricted because of its content (what is said). However, the time, place, and manner of free expression can be regulated.

Santa Monica College has many outdoor areas where students may gather for discussion, communication of ideas, distribution of literature, and collection of signatures on petitions.  While highly encouraged, these activities do not generally require prior approval by the College. In engaging in such activities, all laws must be complied with, such as not blocking pedestrian passageways (Penal Code Section 647c) and not disturbing the peace (Penal Code Section 415).

To prevent disruption of educational activities, amplified sound requires a permit from the Events Office. Student clubs and organizations would work with the office of student life for a permit request.

Use of classrooms and other facilities requires a permit from the College. Approved student groups have priority for use of available College facilities.  Outside groups may be required to provide insurance and pay a fee. Because of fire codes, public assemblies cannot take place inside building hallways.

Distribution of literature or the collection of signatures cannot occur in classrooms, hallways, the Library, or parking lots.  No literature may be placed or left on vehicles.

Posting of literature is prohibited on all structures, such as buildings, sidewalks, walls, windows, doors, blackboards, lawns, trees, phone booths, and vending machines. Posting on bulletin boards requires approval by an authorized person and must comply with Administrative Regulation 4432.

No paint, chalk or ink messages may be placed, affixed or applied to the walls, windows, floors or other surfaces of campus buildings or structures, streets, walkways, utility poles, construction fences, trees or shrubbery. (AR 6510)

While participating in any picket line or public assembly, you cannot possess any length of wood unless that object is one-fourth inch or less in thickness and two inches or less in width or, if not generally rectangular in shape, such object shall not exceed three-quarter inch in its thickest dimension. (Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 4.08.789.)

Camping is not permitted on school grounds.  (Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 4.08.095.) Refusing to leave any College facility during hours that it is closed to the public constitutes criminal trespass. (Penal Code Section 602(q).)

Frequently Asked Questions

On Campus Reporting


These are additional external resources that may provide you additional relevant information pertaining to Freedom of Expression.