Policy on Non-Curricular Student Public Display

Public displays by students or other individuals are forms of free expression. The college protects students’ right to free expression and is committed to civil discourse.

Students who install objects in public spaces are expected to function as good citizens of the college and stewards of the campus; the college is our community. The policies below guide these forms of public display, which support students interested in public expression, and guide them through the successful installation of objects on campus.

The policy and procedures described here address student public installations (display) that are not associated with a course or other academic work. For public display that is associated with a course or other academic work – please consult, alternatively, the Short Duration Public Installation Policy or the Longer Duration Public Installation Policy.


Noncurricular student public display is initiated by a student, student club, or student organization, is installed on approved spaces on campus, and is not related to a course or other academic work. Modes of public display include chalking sidewalks or paved areas, a poster or posters not intended to advertise an event, or the installation of an object or objects intended to be viewed by the campus community.


The installation of noncurricular student public displays is overseen by Student Affairs through the Office of Campus Life.

Student Responsibility: Respecting Our Community

Students who install noncurricular public displays must be mindful of the need for civil discourse within their right to freedom of expression. Students are reminded that threatening messages or messages likely to incite physical or emotional harm to persons, groups, or property are not permitted and libelous statements about individuals or groups are not permitted.

Respecting Our Campus and Assuring Campus Safety

Public displays that cause damage to or permanently alter any campus structure or landscape are not permitted. The student or student organization responsible for the display will be charged for the repair and may be referred to the student conduct system. Displays that pose safety hazards are not permitted. Examples of safety hazards include, but are not limited to, objects that block entrances or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow or that block snow or trash removal.

Respecting the Public Display

It is a violation of this policy for a student other than the student or student organization responsible for a public display to deface or remove any public display. Removing or defacing a public display by a student or student organization may result in referral to the student conduct system. That said, a public display by its nature imposes itself on an audience in unmediated ways. The audience may be critical or even hostile to its perceived message or value. All public display entails – even invites – this risk. It behooves the creator to expect and allow for a multiplicity of reactions and outcomes.

Duration of Display

The duration of an installation of any student noncurricular public display is a maximum of 7 days.

Locations Available for Noncurricular Public Display

Public displays are permitted on Alumni Walk, the Historic Quad, the Library Quad, the area surrounding Lake Andrews, and on the open area adjacent to Garcelon Field across from Smith Hall and Adams Hall.

Chalking is permitted on any sidewalks or pavements on or adjacent to the above locations. For chalkings, only chalk may be used. Permanent markers, paint, or other substances that deface or damage college property are not permitted. Defacement or damage of college property may result in the referral of the responsible student or student organization to the student conduct system as well as charges for removal of the installation and for repair of defaced or damaged areas.

Public displays are not permitted on any athletic fields or facilities or in any interior spaces on campus. Students are not permitted to attach public displays in any way to the exterior of any building on campus.

Public Displays in Violation of this Policy

Bates College reserves the right to immediately remove public displays that are in violation of this policy. In these instances, the responsible student or student organization may be referred to the student conduct system and may be charged for its removal.

The college reserves the right to rescind this policy at any time if abuses are observed.