Policy on Campus Demonstrations and Protests

General Policy

Discussion and expression of all views is permitted within the University subject only to requirements for the maintenance of order. Support of any cause by orderly means which is not in violation of law and which does not disrupt the operation of the University nor interfere with the rights of others is permitted. The University retains the right to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process and business operations.

In accordance with the Illinois Criminal Code, Interference with public institution of higher education, (720 ILCS 5/21.2) and the Student Code (§ 1-103 Campus Expression) the policy of the University is to prohibit acts which interfere with University operations.

The University policy provides for freedom of expression and lawful assembly at the University, and for the orderly petition for redress of grievances. Many venues are provided on our campus for the lawful expression of opinions, demonstrations and protests. Indeed, this is an appropriate and important element of university life. The University retains the right to regulate the time, place and manner of demonstrations to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process and business operations.

Conduct during Demonstrations and Protests

Conduct that will not be tolerated under any circumstance, including during demonstrations and protests, can be found in the Student Code. Such conduct includes:

  • Conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person, including but not limited to:
    1. causing bodily harm to an individual
    2. making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual
    3. reckless disregard for the health or safety of any person
    4. any threat or physically threatening behavior which creates a reasonable fear for a person’s safety
    5. engaging in behavior which is so persistent, pervasive, or severe as to deny a person’s ability to participate in the University community.
  • The use of force or violence, actual or threatened, to willfully deny, impede, obstruct, impair, or interfere with any of the following:
    1. the freedom of movement of any person, including entering or leaving property or facilities
    2. the performance of institutional duties by a member of the University or
    3. by knowingly occupying or remaining in or at any property or facility owned or controlled by the University after receiving due notice to depart.
  • Any conduct that substantially threatens or interferes with the maintenance of appropriate order and discipline in the operation of the University. Without excluding other situations, examples include shouting, noise making, obstruction, and other disruptive actions designed or intended to interfere with or prevent meetings, assemblies, classes, or other scheduled or routine University operations or activities.
  • Participation in a disruptive or coercive demonstration. A demonstration is disruptive or coercive if it substantially impedes University operations, substantially interferes with the rights of others, or takes place on premises or at times where students are not authorized to be. There is no requirement that University authorities order students to cease participation in a disruptive or coercive demonstration.
  • Guidelines for Demonstrations and Protests

    There are a number of campus policies that must be observed when organizations or individuals plan to use University facilities for events of any kind. In planning a demonstration or a protest, the organizers and participants must observe regulations pertaining to the use of campus facilities as well as this Policy. Use of facility regulations can be found in Campus Administrative Manual Section VIII - 1, Use of University Premises and Facilities on the Urbana-Champaign Campus. Camping is not permitted on University premises.

    Information about reserving space for Registered Student Organizations can be found at: http://www.union.illinois.edu/involvement/rso/. Complete information regarding the rights and responsibilities of those using University property can be found in the Statement on Individual Rights section of the Student Code.

    Procedures for Handling Disruptive Demonstrations and Protests

    The administrator in charge of the building or area where a disruptive event is occurring is normally responsible for determining what actions are necessary to respond to a disruption, in accordance with the standards in this policy. In situations where there is a group demonstration, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or designee, in consultation with the Chancellor, or designee, will determine the point at which a demonstration becomes disruptive based upon the criteria set forth in this Policy.

    If the situation permits, the Vice Chancellor or the Chancellor will inform the demonstrators that they must discontinue their disruptive activities, explaining which activities are in violation of this Policy, and will advise them how to continue their demonstration in a manner which is not disruptive. If the disruption continues, appropriate action will be taken, which may include police action. An immediate physical threat to persons and/or property may require immediate police action as well as situations in which the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor determine that a warning will not provide adequate protection for persons or property.

    Consequences of Violating the Policy

    Once individuals are advised by a University official that they are violating University policy, state law, or both, the individuals may disperse or move to another location identified by the University. If they choose to remain, they are subject to arrest and/or University discipline. Illinois law prohibits interference with the operation of a public institution of higher education (See 720 ILCS 5/21.2). Violations of this law can lead to arrest, incarceration and fines. Criminal damage to state property is a felony and criminal trespass on state supported property is a misdemeanor (720 ILCS 5/21). Any battery against a police officer constitutes felony aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-1, et seq).

    Students who violate University or campus policy, including this Policy or the law may be subject to disciplinary and/or criminal action. Students should refer to the Student Code for specific information regarding campus rules and regulations, and the student judicial system. Disciplinary action can range from a reprimand to dismissal from the University.

    Faculty and staff who violate university or campus policy, including this Policy or the law may be subject to disciplinary and/or criminal action. Faculty and staff should refer to the University of Illinois Statutes, the Handbook for Good Ethical Practice, the Academic Staff Handbook, and Policy and Rules for Civil Service Staff.