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Campus Events, Demonstrations and Protests Policy

Recommendations of the Political Events and Student Protest Committee – December 2009

Elon University preserves the openness of public dialog and debate. An environment that encourages diverse views and the free exchange of ideas is vital to the Elon University mission. The University’s policies seek to encourage open, on-going intellectual engagement and debate through civil, mutually respectful interactions. Elon University respects the right of all members of the academic community to express their ideas freely and to demonstrate their concerns collectively by orderly means. The University allows guest speakers of diverse views access to its facilities, protects the rights of the campus community to assemble peacefully on its premises, and protects the exercise of these rights from disruption or interference. The University does not endorse political candidates nor does it necessarily endorse the views of speakers hosted on campus.

On-going Engagement: Elon University seeks to provide a visible and vibrant environment where students express their views openly and engage actively in issues of concern to them. Such activity is welcome on any part of the campus. To provide a particularly convenient and visible location for spontaneous student activism on campus, the west lawn of Moseley Center is designated as a “Speaker’s Corner”. University community members (students, faculty, and staff) who participate in these activities do not represent the university. They must assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions, adhere to all state and federal laws and the University honor code, and refrain from interfering with the normal operations of the university.

General Demonstrations and Protests

• In exercising their free speech rights, University community members (students, faculty, and staff) assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions and do not represent the university. All forms of speech/protest must adhere to state and federal laws, as well as the university honor code, and must not interfere with the normal operations of the university.
• Although in some circumstances a designated area for protest or demonstration may be established for safety purposes, protests and demonstrations of Elon University students, faculty, and staff will not be limited to this area.
• Protests and demonstration areas, if established during a campus speaker or event as described above, must be visible and in proximity to the event but should not disrupt the orderly functioning of classes or administrative operations.
• While the University may establish rules for the sake of order and safety during protests and demonstrations, such rules must not result in censoring or marginalizing any group or point of view.
• When protests or demonstrations occur in the context of a speaker on campus, audience members may not behave in a way that infringes upon others’ ability to view or to comprehend the speaker. During the speech itself, chanting or possible incitement of a disturbance intended to distract the speaker or disrupt the speech can, at the discretion of law enforcement or designated University officials, result in individuals being removed from the event.
• Enforcement of University policies during protests and demonstrations may be conducted only by authorized law enforcement officers and designated officials of Elon University.
• The student handbook regarding all student protests or demonstrations should be modified to allow a shorter cycle for review, such as twenty-four hours, to accommodate greater student involvement with issues that emerge unexpectedly.

Events and Speakers

The following policies should guide the planning of events and speakers on campus:

• Campus Safety and Police will be consulted to determine the need for security at events.
• In the case of political candidates visiting campus, any additional security that is needed will be provided by the speaker. All security personnel must cooperate with Elon University’s Campus Security staff.
• Events will be open to all members of the University community. Tickets, if they are employed, must be made available to all students, faculty and staff. Tickets may not be used to ensure that attendees representing a particular point of view will be over-represented at the event.
• Prior to the event, the event organizers and university administration will determine whether signs will be allowed and whether clothing may be worn in either support or protest of the speaker. Whatever the decision, it will apply to all members of the audience, no matter their views.
• Speakers must allow some method for divergent views to be expressed at the event. This may be through a question and answer period, dialogue, or allowing signs representing opposing views.
• Audience members may not behave in a way that infringes upon others’ ability to view or to comprehend the speaker. During the speech itself, chanting or possible incitement of a disturbance intended to distract the speaker or disrupt the speech can, at the discretion of law enforcement or designated University officials, result in individuals being removed from the event.
• While the University may establish rules for the sake of order and safety during events, such rules must not result in censoring or marginalizing any group or point of view.
• Although in some circumstances a designated area for protests or demonstrations may be established for safety purposes, protests and demonstrations of Elon University students, faculty, and staff will not be limited to this area.
• Protest areas, if established as described above, must be visible and in proximity to the event but must not disrupt the orderly functioning of classes or administrative operations.
• In exercising their free speech rights, University community members assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions and do not represent the university. All forms of speech/protest must adhere to state and federal laws, as well as the university honor code, and must not interfere with the normal operations of the university.
• Non-approved vendors associated with the political event or speaker will not be allowed on campus property.
• Enforcement of University policies at events may be conducted only by authorized law enforcement officers and designated officials of Elon University.