University officials announced last Friday that they will issue a permit for use of the Central Campus Diagonal to the National Organization for the Reform of the Marijuana Laws (NORML), pending the organizations compliance with several conditions.
NORML seeks to use the Diagonal on April 2 for its annual Hash Bash rally.
NORML was notified of the conditions in a Feb. 9, 1994 letter from Frank J. Cianciola, associate dean of students and director, University Unions. One of the conditions was registration as a student group with the Michigan Student Assembly. This condition has been met.
The conditions NORML must meet are published in the Policy for Scheduled Use of the University of Michigan Designated Outdoor Common Areas, adopted in January 1993.
To receive the permit, NORML must meet the following additional conditions, which are based on the Universitys schedule of deposits and the anticipated number of participants at the rally:
We are prepared to issue a permit to NORML for the use of the Diag based on the organization meeting the same conditions that are required of other student organizations, said Maureen A. Hartford, vice president for student affairs.
The policy makes it possible for us to consistently apply guidelines related to use of outdoor common areas. The policy and guidelines are content-neutral. They deal only with time, place and manner issues as they relate to the use of these areas.
Hartford notes that the policy and guidelines are based on several principles important to the University.
We believe very strongly in the right of free speech, Hartford said. However, we also feel we have the right to regulate use of the Diag and other designated outdoor common areas, following guidelines set forth in the policy. In addition, we are opposed to the sale and use of illegal substances anywhere on campus.
The policy states that its purpose is to assure that all facilities operated by the University are maintained in a safe and orderly manner that supports the basic University functions of teaching, research and service. The procedures are not intended to impinge on the rights of members of the University community to express their beliefs and voice their grievances. Rather, the procedures and restrictions outlined in this policy are intended to protect and advance the health, safety and total environment of the campus community.
Hartford added that requiring student organizations to have estimated expenses on account with the Student Organizations Accounts Service is standard operating practice for the use of the Diag and other University facilities, such as the Michigan League, North Campus Commons, Track and Tennis Building and William Monroe Trotter House.
U-M General Counsel Elsa Cole said that in April 1993 the court heard a motion for a preliminary injunction regarding the validity of the Universitys rules for use of the Diag. At that time, Judge Shelton told us it was appropriate for the University to charge for reasonable clean-up costs and for electrical hookup, to regulate solicitation and sales, and to limit amplification to one hour. He preliminarily ruled that payment for security services was not required before issuing a permit.
In hopes of settling the issue prior to this years rally, the University in January filed a motion for summary disposition, arguing that security costs are a reasonable expense, Cole explained. On March 9, the court notified the University that the hearing date for the mostion was being moved from March 18 to April 22.