Lower Columbia College has designated an area on campus for political demonstration and other “expressive speech.”

The LCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday limited these activities to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and for non-students such demonstrations must be limited to the Quad area in front of the admissions building.

LCC President Chris Bailey said the changes were born out of the 2012 “Occupy Seattle” protest on Seattle Central Community College.

“Central Seattle had a situation where they had multiple days of expressive activities, and it did result in some health issues for them. Since they didn’t have set times and place, it was a permanent camp, and it began to create issues of public health regarding sanitation and public safety,” Bailey said.

The new rules clarify how the public can use LCC as a forum for expression without interfering with college operations, Bailey said.

Also at its Wednesday meeting, the board temporarily reduced credit requirements for students to earn a high school diploma through the college’s Career Education Opportunities program.

For 2019 and 2020, students will have to earn 20 credits instead of 24.

The State Board of Education had mandated that students earn the additional four credits starting this year. The revision increased science, art and world language requirements to earn a high school diploma. However, the board is allowing waivers for two years.

According to Heidi Patrick, CEO program manager, at least half of the school districts the college partners with have asked for waivers.

“We have the curriculum to give students the option to do a 24-credit diploma, but to stay aligned (with area school districts) we wanted to ask for a waiver,” Patrick said.

The CEO program at LCC creates an alternative track to a high school diploma for students who did not finish high school. CEO students earn a diploma rather than a GED, and the program follows state requirements for high school graduation.

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