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ERIC Number: EJ1180661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-827X
Walls, Halls and Doors: First Amendment Issues for Public Spaces in Housing
Barker, Tess; McLittle, Amanda L.
Journal of College and University Student Housing, v44 n3 p80-95 2018
Residential communities are a critical component of many students' experience on a college campus, especially during their first year. Residential communities have been associated with a variety of positive outcomes, including persistence, openness to diversity, satisfaction, critical thinking, and personal development (Astin, 1977 & 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Pike, Kuh & Gonyea, 2003; Terenzini, Springer, Pascarella & Nora, 1995). An important part of the students' residential experience is being able to represent who they are and what they value. This is often done within the confines of the private residence hall room or apartment, but just as frequently in the externally-facing venues physically attached to the private living space: bulletin boards, whiteboards, doors, and windows. While this form of communication is protected by the first amendment as freedom of expression, more and more housing programs are being challenged by the need to balance competing priorities. On one hand, public institutions generally may not limit a student's right to free speech. On the other hand, housing staff seek to promote a residential and learning atmosphere that promotes community building, respectful dialogue, inclusion, and safety. This article will provide an overview of the scope and limits of the first amendment as they relate to student-generated speech, manifested as printed or posted material, within campus housing. Particular attention is focused on common communication forums: bulletin boards (RA-managed versus general public boards); student doors; whiteboards or bulletin boards affixed to an individual student's door; and exterior-facing windows.
Association of College and University Housing Officers - International. 941 Chatham Lane Suite 318, Columbus, OH 43221. Tel: 614-292-0099; Fax: 614-292-3205; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment; Fourteenth Amendment
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A