Can you be trespassed from a public university?

If I’m on a campus sidewalk, not in a university building, can I be trespassed for first amendment related activities (handing out election flyers, for instance)? Would the trespass hold up in court? I am not a student there but the university in question is a public university, funded by the taxpayers and the campus is open, meaning there is no sign nor fence to keep people out. You can walk right onto the university from the road.

Asked on November 7, 2015 under Criminal Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no need for signs, fences, etc. to keep people out to establish trespassing. As you acknowledge, you are not a student there; you were on property belonging to the university (a campus sidewalk); and were not on public land (e.g. a public sidewalk or road). Yes, you can be arrested and charged with trespassing, because you do not, despite any public funding for the university, have a right to be on its property if it does not want you there. The university can control access to its sidewalks (or parking lots, fields, etc.) as much as it can to its buildings.

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