Student Demonstration Policy



 This policy outlines the parameters for student demonstrations at William Paterson University


 Associate Vice President for Campus Life and/or designee in consultation with the Vice President for Student Development


 The University is committed to the principles of academic freedom and deliberative discourse. All members of the campus community are encouraged to participate fully in the academic life and governance of the institution through various administrative and advisory committees, in the performance of their respective roles, and in all forums, formal and informal, for debate and deliberation. Recognizing that a healthy and productive climate for debate involves a provision for criticism and dissent, the University affirms the right of its students to express dissent raise issues, or express their views by whatever orderly means they deem appropriate, while preserving the rights of others to their own beliefs and opinions. Protest and dissent by verbal and other symbolic means are, therefore, protected. The University has the right to enforce regulations with respect to the time, manner and place in which these activities may occur to ensure the University’s essential functions and educational activities continue unimpeded and that the freedom of other members of the community are not unduly restricted. When, in the judgment of the President or his/her designee, dissent or protest interferes with the rights of others or the essential functions and educational activities of the University, actions will be taken to rectify the situation using the procedure that follows. 

It is the duty of the administration and the responsibility of all the members of the campus community to affirm the rights of all protected expression and communication.


A. Organized demonstrations

1. All persons or organizations intending to stage demonstrations on the William Paterson University campus or at off-campus events sponsored by the University must contact the Associate Vice President for Campus Life (or designee) one week prior to the event.

2. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life (or designee), in consultation with University Police and the Director of Physical Plant, will assign an appropriate area for the demonstration, i.e., one which will not restrict access to buildings or facilities or otherwise impede the rights of others or the essential functions and educational activities of the University.

3. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life (or designee) shall notify the individual or group of his/her decision regarding time, place, and manner of the event as soon as possible to allow for general notification.

 B. Spontaneous demonstrations

 1. Because not all conditions, events, or actions that stimulate dissent may themselves be foreseeable, and because demonstrations may emerge under such circumstances, there is an understanding that spontaneous demonstrations will occur from time to time.

2. Under these circumstances, it is the responsibility of both the Associate Vice President for Campus Life (or designee) and the demonstrating parties to cooperate with the aim of supporting the rights of all and protecting the safety of all while enabling the expression of opinion.

3. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life (or designee) and dissenting parties will therefore negotiate:

a. To seek to remedy the situation which gives rise to the demonstration, if possible or appropriate, or

b.To provide a forum for the expression of opinion and the continuation of debate and dialogue that seeks to resolve conflict, find remedy, or allow for expression of ideas.

 C. Enforcement

 It is important to realize that First Amendment protections do not absolve one of the responsibilities to respect other persons. As such, the spirit of these guidelines and procedures is violated when any party infringes upon the rights of individuals or groups as outlined above. It is the responsibility of all parties to avoid such infringement in the following ways:

 1. In the event that a demonstration or other expression of dissent becomes disruptive to the rights of others or poses a threat to health and safety, including that of the dissenting parties, the Associate Vice President for Campus Life or designee, on behalf of the University, will present to the disruptive parties the concerns of the University and shall seek to provide alternative avenues for expression. In the event that accommodation is not reached, the Associate Vice President for Campus Life or designee shall ask the disruptive parties to cease their activities.

2. The production of noise, for instance, through the use of loudspeakers, megaphones, etc. that prevents members of the University from conducting their essential functions and educational activities will be considered a violation of any agreement regarding a scheduled or spontaneous demonstration and will result in a request to cease disruption immediately.

3. In rare cases where activities are disruptive and the disruptive parties refuse to comply with a request to conduct alternative activities or to cease disruption, the University reserves the right and has the responsibility to the community, after due deliberation and consultation, to request the intervention of University Police to ensure the health and safety of those present, as well as access to facilities, and agreement with the law.

 4. If the demonstration causes disruption or destruction, the Associate Vice President for Campus Life or designee will inform the demonstration leader that the William Paterson University Police may be called to end the demonstration if there is no compliance with the directives or if the behavior causing the disruption or destruction does not cease.

 D. Adjudication and Appeal for Students

 1. In the event that an approved demonstration or spontaneous demonstration occurs and does not follow the prescribed guidelines, University Police may be called to intervene.

2. Students or student groups who believe that their rights have not been upheld under this policy and procedure may seek remedy by written communication to the Vice President of Student Development.

3.Students or student groups who are believed to have violated this policy may be charged through the student conduct process.

 By Direction of the President and Cabinet: Date: 9/1/16