- Colleges cannot stop you from handing out flyers on campus in areas open to the public
- Colleges can create reasonable rules for where flyers can be posted
- Your college cannot enforce the rules differently against your club because your flyer is critical of Israel’s policies
- There may be rules, however, that restrict the posting or dissemination of materials in different areas on campus, at different times, or in a way that infringes on another’s rights.
- Private universities may also have more restrictive rules on distributing materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I hand out fliers on campus?
It depends. If you are on a college campus that’s open to the public, you have the right to approach willing passersby to hand them a flyer, engage them in conversation, or ask them to sign a petition. But you may not obstruct people passing by if they tell you that they are not interested. If you are at a private university you may also have the right to hand out fliers on campus. This depends on your state’s laws and your university’s policies – contact us if you have a question.
Can my college require that I get prior approval before I post a leaflet or announcement in a certain location?
Yes, if college rules require that all clubs get fliers approved before posting in certain locations. However, the criteria for approval must be explicit, standardized, and unrelated to the viewpoint expressed. Private colleges have more discretion to limit your speech, but you can still appeal to free speech principles.
Is it against the rules to distribute ‘mock eviction notices’ in dorm rooms?
Maybe. Look at your schools’ handbook on distributing fliers. Is there language forbidding the distribution of educational fliers? Other kinds of fliers? There are often different rules for distributing fliers in dorms than on the rest of campus. Remember, even if the rules forbid it, the decision whether to engage in civil disobedience and break the rules is yours. Just make sure you make an informed decision. Check out our ‘mock eviction’ checklist before planning this type of action.
Disclaimer: Do not rely on these materials without first seeking the advice of an attorney about your particular situation and facts. Only a licensed attorney, reviewing your individual facts, may render legal advice. This information is provided as a public resource for information purposes only. Nothing in this resource should be taken to create an attorney-client relationship between you and Palestine Legal.