Rights, Rules, Responsibilities: University-Wide Regulations- 1.2.3 Peaceful Dissent, Protests, and Demonstrations

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Free speech and peaceable assembly are basic requirements of the University as a center for free inquiry and the search for knowledge and insight. These rights involve a concurrent obligation on the part of all members of the University, guests, and visitors to maintain on the campus an atmosphere conducive to scholarly pursuits and to respect the rights of all individuals.

In view of Princeton’s obligation to promote the free expression of all views, the campus is open to any speaker whom students or members of the faculty have invited and for whom official arrangements to speak have been made with the University. The right of free speech in a university also includes the right to acts of peaceful dissent, protests in peaceable assembly, and orderly demonstrations which include picketing and the distribution of leaflets. These are permitted on the Princeton campus, subject to approval as to schedule and location, unless, or until, they disrupt regular and essential operations of the University or significantly infringe on the rights of others, particularly the right to listen to a speech or lecture.

All individuals and groups planning to engage in activities of the sort described in the previous paragraph should seek approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. Locations generally approved for these activities include the following:

  • the area adjacent to Chancellor Green Center (on the Firestone Library side);
  • the area in front of Frist Campus Center on the north side, by the Frist “gateway”;
  • the areas to the west and south of Alexander Hall, and to the east of Alexander Hall, between Stanhope Hall and West College;
  • the area in the vicinity of the east entrance to the University Store;
  • the area between Whig and Clio halls;
  • the cobblestone area between Firestone Library and Washington Road;
  • the area in the vicinity of the arch near the entrance to McCosh Hall, Room 50;
  • Scudder Plaza at Robertson Hall;
  • the area adjacent to Shapiro Walk between the Department of Computer Science and Mudd Manuscript Library;
  • the walkway in front of Nassau Hall;
  • the area in the vicinity of the north entrance to Jadwin Gymnasium.

In asking groups and individuals to seek prior approval for schedule and location, the University’s goal is not to restrict free speech or peaceable assembly. Rather, it is to give the University the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the University community and those engaged in acts of speech or protest. The University reserves the right to determine the time, place, and manner of all such activities.

Whenever appropriate, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, with assistance from and in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, will designate clearly marked areas for protests and demonstrations from among the list that appears above. In addition to those on this list, other locations may be designated because of particular circumstances associated with a protest or demonstration (for example, to schedule a protest in the vicinity of a campus public lecture held in a location not near those on the list). To the extent practicable, the marked areas will be within reasonable sight and sound of the speaker’s and the audience’s ingress to and egress from the location of the event. The University reserves the right to refuse permission to use a particular area for protests or demonstrations, including those on the designated area list. When such a decision is reached, the University will provide reasons when asked.

It is a violation of these policies whenever any individual prevents, or willfully attempts to prevent, the orderly conduct of a University function or activity, such as lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, and public events; or blocks, or willfully attempts to block, the legitimate activities of any person on the campus or in any University building or facility.

Whenever a member of the University community, that is a member of the faculty, staff, or student body, violates these policies, that individual will be subject to University discipline and/or arrest. Whenever a nonmember of the University community violates these policies, that individual will be subject to arrest. Decisions to invoke University disciplinary action or arrest in the course of a protest or demonstration will be made after due warning and, wherever possible, such decisions will be made by officers of the University (see the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees).

All members of the press and media, both those affiliated with the University and those with no affiliation to the University, are fully subject to these provisions unless special arrangements for press coverage have been authorized by the University’s Office of Communications. Ordinarily, arrangements of some kind to permit press coverage will be made when circumstances allow, and will be administered by the Office of Communications.

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