Campus Events, Demonstrations and Protests Policy: Memorandum of Understanding for Non-University Related Groups

The following are guidelines for external groups who would like to utilize University facilities for Campus Events:

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.

All events sponsored on campus must adhere to the Campus events, Demonstrations and Protest Policy adopted by Elon University in December 2009. Elon University retains the right to refuse access to campus facilities or to suspend or cancel any event which does not meet with these requirements. Those criteria which are germane to outside groups include:

Venues:

All events sponsored on campus must be held in an approved venue. Decisions about appropriate venues will be made on the basis of academic needs and schedules, safety and potential for disruption for students. Venues will be approved by a committee comprised of appropriate senior staff members, Safety and Security Staff, and the chair of the Academic Council. Those committee members will be appointed by the President or his designee.

Timing of the Event:

Approval for events will be made at a time which reduces disruption to classes or other academic activities on campus. Venues will be approved by a committee comprised of appropriate senior staff members, Safety and Security Staff, and the chair of the Academic Council. Those committee members will be decided by the President or his designee.

Ticketing and Admission Requirements:

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.

Safety and Security:

• 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.

• Enforcement of University policies at events may be conducted only by authorized law enforcement officers and designated officials of Elon University.

Opportunities for Dissenting Opinions and Divergent Views:

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

Vendors:

• Vendors will be allowed only in the event that their presence is in accordance with existing University vendor contracts and that their presence does not create a disruption or safety issue.

• Non-approved vendors associated with the political event or speaker will not be allowed on campus property.

Vendors who wish to set up in an off campus location must secure the proper permits from Town of Elon officials.