The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 55th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, which convenes in January 2023.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
15-1866. Free expression policy; rules; Arizona board of regents; community college district governing boards; requirements
A. The Arizona board of regents and each community college district governing board shall develop and adopt a policy on free expression that contains at least the following statements and requirements:
1. The primary function of an institution of higher education is the discovery, improvement, transmission and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion and debate. This statement shall provide that, to fulfill this function, the university or community college must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression.
2. It is not the proper role of an institution of higher education to shield individuals from speech protected by the first amendment, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions that may be unwelcome, disagreeable or deeply offensive.
3. Students and faculty members have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself, as the first amendment allows and within the limits of reasonable viewpoint and content-neutral restrictions on time, place and manner of expression that are consistent with this article and that are necessary to achieve a compelling institutional interest if these restrictions are clear, are published and provide ample alternative means of expression. This statement shall specify that students and faculty members may assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activities if those activities are not unlawful and do not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the university or community college.
4. There is a range of disciplinary actions for a student who is subject to the jurisdiction of a university or community college and who engages in individual conduct that materially and substantially infringes on the rights of other persons to engage in or listen to expressive activity.
5. In all disciplinary proceedings involving students, including proceedings involving expressive conduct, a student is entitled to a disciplinary hearing under published procedures that include, at a minimum, all of the following:
(a) The right to receive advanced written notice of the allegations.
(b) The right to review the evidence in support of the allegations.
(c) The right to confront witnesses who testify against that student.
(d) The right to present a defense.
(e) The right to call witnesses.
(f) A decision by an impartial person or panel.
(g) The right to appeal.
(h) If either a suspension of more than thirty days or expulsion is a potential consequence of a disciplinary proceeding under this section, the right to active assistance of counsel.
B. It is the sense of the legislature that if a student has repeatedly been determined to have engaged in individual conduct that materially and substantially infringes on the rights of other persons to engage in or listen to expressive activity, a punishment of suspension or expulsion from the university or community college may be appropriate.
C. This section supersedes any previous policies of a university or community college that restrict speech on campuses and that are inconsistent with the statements and requirements prescribed in this section. Each university and community college shall remove or revise any provisions in its policies or rules in order to comply with this section.
D. The Arizona board of regents and each community college district governing board may adopt rules to further the purposes of the policy adopted pursuant to subsection A of this section. This section does not prevent universities and community colleges from regulating student speech or activity that is prohibited by law. Except as otherwise provided by this article, universities and community colleges may restrict student expression only for expressive activity that is not protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution, including:
1. A violation of state or federal law.
2. An expression that a court has deemed unprotected defamation.
3. Harassment. For the purposes of this paragraph, "harassment" means only that expression that is so severe, pervasive and subjectively and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual's access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the university or community college.
4. A true threat. For the purposes of this paragraph, "true threat" means a statement that is meant by the speaker to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence against a particular person or a group of persons.
5. An unjustifiable invasion of privacy or confidentiality that does not involve a matter of public concern.
6. An action that unlawfully disrupts the function of the university or community college.