Poland's military authorities today published strict new rules for the functioning of universities and colleges in an attempt to avoid a surge of student unrest against martial law.

The regulations, issued by the Ministry of Higher Education, suspended most of the reforms won by Polish students during a wave of strikes throughout the country last February. After enjoying a brief period of autonomy, university senates have again been reduced to the status of advisory bodies without decision-making powers.

Universities and schools throughout Poland were closed following imposition of martial law on Dec. 13. The new rules spell out the conditions on which they will be allowed to reopen. Elementary and high school pupils and some postgraduate students have already resumed their studies under tight supervision of military commissars.

University rectors have been resisting demands for the "ideological verification" of staff members and students on the lines of the purge under way in the mass media. But the regulations make clear that in practice students and lecturers will be subject to strict and continuing controls and liable to dismissal or expulsion at any time.

The regulations also state that students may be compelled to do military service or other compulsory work in the middle of their studies. Many students have already been threatened with being put into the Army if they do not obey martial law regulations.

Under those regulations, the rector of each university will be responsible to the Ministry of Education for the running of the university. He will be required to exercise control over printing equipment, to censor scientific publications and teaching aids and to enforce a ban on the presence of students and university employes on campuses after working hours.

Last March, after strikes lasting some three weeks, students won the right not to attend previously compulsory courses in Russian or Marxism-Leninism. The new regulations say that presence at all such classes has been made obligatory and absenteeism could result in a student's ouster.

The independent students' association, which was affiliated with Solidarity, the independent trade union movement suspended by martial law, has been banned.

News services reported the following:

A Warsaw court freed three Solidarity activists accused of organizing a strike to protest martial law. The judge found two of the defendants not guilty and gave the other man a suspended prison sentence of 18 months.

It was the second time in less than a week that the Warsaw courts had rejected state prosecution demands for jail sentences under martial court regulations.

The three defendants were from the Warsaw steel mill, one of several major centers of protest against the imposition of martial law. The prosecutor had demanded seven years in prison for chief defendant and six and four years for the others.

But Judge Andrzej Lewandowski accepted defense arguments that protests at the steel works were spontaneous and not organized by individuals. He said there was no evidence that a strike had actually taken place at the plant, which was stormed by riot police after the military takeover.

Four workers from a Warsaw car plant were freed last week after a judge accepted similar defense arguments.

Meanwhile, the Polish official in charge of economic reform, Wladyslaw Baka, in an article in the Communist Party newspaper Trybuna Ludu, said the economic outlook was not good. He blamed U.S. economic sanctions and implied the sanctions would prolong military rule.

Baka said the sanctions will be felt by all Poles and will slow the return to "reform and renewal," Radio Warsaw reported. (In Poland, the terms "reform" and "renewal" are used to describe the liberalizations that occurred after the Solidarity union was recognized in August 1980.)

The official news agency PAP, quoting Baka's interview, said he charged that Poland's ability to make payments on its estimated $28 billion foreign debt has been "considerably aggravated . . . due to the repercussions of the well-known decision by President Reagan."

Baka also was quoted as saying the authorities should introduce workers' control of factories as soon as possible.

He said that as soon as conditions allowed, "worker self-management must be introduced or restored. Only then does the term 'reform' correspond to the ideas it represents."

The issue of worker self-management was one of the most controversial raised in negotiations last year between the government and Solidarity, which insisted on full worker ownership of factories and the right to hire and fire managers.