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Macomb Community College corrects misinformation about its policy on expressive activity

– Friday, July 7, 2017 12:00AM

Macomb Community College is a strong proponent of free speech, with a policy on expressive activity that balances the First Amendment rights of individuals with the safety and security of students and visitors, as well as their ability to access college facilities and traverse college grounds.  The college has a long history of encouraging and supporting civic engagement, including providing opportunity for expression of differing viewpoints and perspectives.  

Information distributed about the college’s policy falsely states that college officials are allowed to deny permits for any reason, including speech content, and that expressive activity is restricted to a tiny speech zone.  Both assertions are untrue. Macomb’s policy explicitly states that the dean “will not take the content of the speech into consideration when approving, modifying or denying an application.”   The policy only restricts locations on the basis of safety, interference with the educational process or public access to college grounds, or damage to college grounds.  A link to the full policy is here.  

In addition, a situation with several Macomb students on April 24, 2017, is misrepresented.  Per a report filed that day by Macomb College Police, students who were soliciting signatures on a petition related to fossil fuels were asked if they had received approval for their expressive activity.  When the students acknowledged they had not and indicated that they were unwilling to follow the process spelled out in the college’s expressive activity policy, college police took no further action, and the group continued to interact with passersby.

Media Contact: Jeanne Nicol, 586.445.7204,