Faculty Handbook

Guidelines1 for Public Forums and Demonstrations 2

Western Connecticut State University is committed to providing an educational community that disseminates knowledge by means of teaching, research, and service. To fulfill these functions, a free exchange of ideas is encouraged both within its walls and between the University and the outside world. Western is committed to doing everything possible to insure the greatest degree of intellectual freedom. These rights apply to all members of the Western community. Few institutions in our society have this same vital purpose; accordingly, few assign such high priority to the freedom of expression.

Western Connecticut State University is committed to maintaining an environment where the free expression of ideas and open, vigorous debate and speech can occur. Every member of the campus community has an obligation to promote and respect free expression in the university. No member shall prevent such expression.

As a member of this academic community your rights as a citizen are neither increased nor lessened by your status as a member of the University community. However, you do have added responsibilities. These added responsibilities include the exercise of civility and honesty and a respect for the dignity, diversity, equality and freedom of others.

The University also has the equal and simultaneous obligation to protect the rights and freedoms of protestors and also the rights of those who choose not to participate in a given protest or demonstration. The University has an obligation to protect its property and to assure continuation of the activities of students, faculty, staff and guests on campus.

The following guidelines are in accordance with the CSU Board of Trustees’ Policy Resolution on Campus Freedom and Order, dated August 7, 1970.

Guidelines for Public Forums and Events
The guidelines, which apply to all public forums and events at Western Connecticut State University, are intended to protect the right of free expression and the safety and integrity of the forum in which this right is exercised.

Right to Dissent
The right to dissent is the complement of the right to speak, but a speaker is entitled to communicate a message to the audience during an allotted time, and the audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker during that time.

Force or Violence
Using force or violence or threatening imminent physical force or violence is prohibited.

The Audience’s Responsibility
The audience, like the host and the speaker, must respect the right to dissent.

Guidelines for Demonstrations
A broad range of speech will be tolerated at Western Connecticut State University, subject to consideration of the health, welfare, and safety of all students, faculty, staff and guests and the functioning of the University.

Demonstrations may be held anywhere on campus so long as they do not unreasonably disrupt the normal operation of the University or infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.

Demonstrators shall not physically interfere with the operation of the University or the rights of others. Such actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Physically obstructing or disrupting teaching, research, or administration
  • Interfering with the safe operation of the residence halls
  • Causing or threatening to cause, injury or harm to persons or property
  • Obstructing vehicular, pedestrian or other traffic lanes
  • Obstructing entrances or exits to buildings
  • Interfering with educational, residential, theatrical performance, or co-curricular activities inside or outside any building
  • Precluding a scheduled speaker from being heard
  • Damaging property, including lawns, shrubs or trees
  • Failing to comply with reasonable orders or directives of University officials, police, or any other law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties.

The University may place reasonable restraints on demonstrations with regard to time, place, and manner to protect property and person and to maintain the orderly conduct of the University.

To secure assistance in planning and obtaining university facilities to ensure that other activities are not adversely affected, and to protect the rights of all members of the University community, sponsors of demonstrations or marches are encouraged to meet with the Vice President of Student Affairs and/or the Director of Student Center/Student Life, together with the Director of the University Police Department, or designee, to discuss the details of the demonstration and/or march. During this meeting The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee shall discuss with the organizers of the demonstration or protest the parameters of the demonstration. This will include issues of time, place, manner, including sound amplification, and arrangements for proper security to insure the rights of all members of the university community.

Senate Approved R-02-03-04
Administrative Approval May 10, 2002

(1)These guidelines shall apply to all members and guests of the University community and to all events taking place on property owned or under the control of Western Connecticut State University.

(2) Demonstrations shall also include marches and protests.

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