Demonstrations and Dissent
Effective Date Aug 1, 2009
All members of the university community should be able to express their views by words and actions and to express by words and actions their opposition to the views and opinions of others. Free inquiry and free expression, including the right to open dissent, are indispensable in achieving the goals of an academic community.
To preserve these rights, all members of the university community have a responsibility to conduct themselves so that such rights may be exercised without interfering with the rights of others and without fear of violence, injury or interference. Freedom of protest is protected only as long as it does not unreasonably interfere with other protected freedoms. Coercive activities employed by individuals or groups, either to repress legitimate dissent or to demonstrate dissent, are a threat to the openness of the academic community and will be dealt with as an extremely serious matter.
Orderly and peaceful demonstrations on campus are not forbidden, unless they interfere with legitimate functions of the university. The following rules and regulations are adopted to maintain public order on the university campus and other university property.
Note: Demonstrations may occur only in the Panther Plaza.
- Any act that would constitute a violation of federal, state or local law if committed off campus is prohibited on campus or on other university property.
- No unauthorized person or persons shall interfere with reasonable and free access and normal use of any university building, classroom or other university premises.
- No unauthorized person or persons shall interfere with the freedom of movement or speech of any individual or group.
- When a speaker is the object of protest or controversy, no unauthorized person or persons shall take any sign or other demonstration impediments into the building where the speech is to take place.
- Every person who attends any lecture, speech, discussion or public event shall treat all participants in an orderly and reasonably courteous manner. Acts of social and political protests should not violate standards of civility important to the achievement of educational purposes.
- No unauthorized person or persons shall disrupt or interfere with classes, educational activities or any events sponsored by any university officer or official, faculty group or student group, nor shall any person or demonstration interfere with the right of a primary audience to hear and be heard.
- No unauthorized person or persons shall use or threaten physical force, physical harassment or physical obstruction.
- No person or persons shall use language or actions likely to provoke or encourage physical violence.
- No person or persons shall use, in public, language or gestures that are unreasonably abusive or obscene.
- No person or persons shall, without proper authority, occupy any university buildings or premises.
- No person or persons shall examine, disturb or destroy university records, without permission of the person authorized to deal with such records.
Any individual or group sponsoring a demonstration must meet with the Dean of Students or designee before the event regarding interpretation of the policy, approved location (Panther Plaza) and times, as well as the full procedures on demonstrations and dissent.
When requested by the Dean of Students or designee, persons engaged in any demonstration, meeting or other occasion, on campus or on university property used for educational purposes, or on other university property, shall identify themselves in a manner satisfactory to the Dean of Students or designee. Only peaceful demonstrations are appropriate in an academic community.
To safeguard the interests of all members of the university community, it is requested that those planning a demonstration inform the Office of the Dean of Students as far in advance as is reasonably possible of any planned demonstration, its proposed locale and the object of intended protest or other purpose. At any demonstration, meeting or other occasion, judgment as to whether the regulations are being observed shall be made at the scene by the Dean of Students or designee. Responsibility for exercising such judgment shall rest solely on the Dean of Students or designee. It must be emphasized that judgment as to whether the regulations are being observed shall not be exercised by demonstrators, those demonstrated against or spectators, in contradiction to the expressed judgment of the Dean of Students or designee, except at the risk of such individuals. If the Dean of Students or designee at the scene of any demonstration, meeting or other gathering, determines that one or more of the regulations are being breached, he or she will request the participants to modify their conduct to comply with the regulations, indicating briefly and informally the nature of the breach of regulations and their requested corrective action. All participants and spectators shall comply immediately, fully and cooperatively with the requests of the Dean of Students or designee. Should any participant or spectator fail to comply with the requests of the Dean of Students or designee, he or she shall be subject to removal from the campus or other university property, and in the case of students, subject to disciplinary action by the university. Thereafter, if, in the judgment of the Dean of Students or designee, there appears to be a clear and present danger of injury to person or property or a threat to disrupt university operations, the Dean of Students or designee shall seek the aid of security, the courts or other civil authority in maintaining or restoring order.