No. 748 January Term, 1977 Appeal from the Order Entered June 29, 1977 by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 1698 October Term No. 1976, affirming by an equally divided court the decree entered April 21, 1976 by the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County at No. 75-950.
Virginia B. Eisenstein, State College, for appellants.
Delbert J. McQuaide, Grant H. Fleming, State College, for appellees.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
Appellants, the class of canvassers and the class of residents, challenge Pennsylvania State University's regulation of residence hall canvassing. Appellants claim the regulations impermissibly restrict freedoms of speech and assembly guaranteed by the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section VII of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Thus, they ask this Court to reverse the order of the equally divided Superior Court affirming a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, entered after a full hearing, denying them injunctive relief against the challenged regulations. We conclude that the Superior Court and the court of common pleas correctly determined on this record that the Penn State regulations are constitutionally permissible limitations on the time, place and manner of the exercise of these rights. Accordingly, we affirm.
Penn State operates 66 residence halls providing housing and meal service for approximately 11,600 students. Access to a residence hall is gained by way of a separate entrance in the main lobby and main floor common areas. Living areas of the halls, including individual rooms, are located apart from those common areas. In the larger multi-story residence halls, living areas are located on the upper floors of
the hall and are reached by elevators.*fn1 All residence halls exhibit "No Trespassing" signs at the entrances and exits.*fn2
In the living areas of the residence halls, rooms are used for sleeping, studying and entertaining within the restrictions of the Penn State visitation policy and general rules of conduct. These individual rooms, however, do not contain bathrooms, laundry facilities or telephones. Those facilities, used in common by all residents of the floor, are located at the center of each floor and may be reached only by traversing the common hallways. Thus, the resident must pass through the common hallway when using the shower, lavatory or any other common facility located on that individual's floor. Common study areas, located on each floor for the students' use, are also reached by passing through the common hallway. In addition, telephone calls may be placed and received only at the telephones located in the hallway.
Visitors seeking to contact a resident may enter the main lobby of the residence hall and telephone the individual. In accordance with Penn State visitation policy, guests may then visit the resident in that student's room. If a guest is of the opposite sex, visitation rules require the resident to escort that person through the common hallway. Resident Assistants live on the floors to ensure that no unauthorized persons gain entrance to the living areas.
Before February 15, 1975, Penn State prohibited all canvassing in its residence halls. On that date the University adopted the regulations ...