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Demonstration Policy

Interested in holding a demonstration or counterdemonstration?

Dean of Students Office

Texas Wesleyan University
Brown-Lupton Student Center, Suite 131
817.531.4872
deanofstudents@txwes.edu 

Texas Wesleyan University respects the rights of all members of the University to express their ideas freely and to demonstrate their concerns collectively by orderly means. Public dialog and debate within an environment that encourages diverse views are vital to the University’s mission. In exercising their free speech rights, University community members assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions and do not represent the University.

The right of expression at Texas Wesleyan University includes peaceful protests and orderly demonstrations. At the same time, the right to protest and demonstrate does not include the right to engage in conduct that disrupts the University’s operations or endangers the safety of others. All forms of speech/protest must adhere to state and federal laws, as well as University policies. 

A pdf version of the Demonstration Policy is availabe here for your convenience.

Please complete the Demonstration Request Form if you, or your organization, is interested holding a demonstration or counterdemonstration.

Definitions
  1. Counterdemonstration: A public demonstration organized to express opposition to another demonstration.
  2. Demonstration: A public event that protests something or expresses views on an issue including, but not limited to social, political, and community issues. Types of demonstrations include, but are not limited to protests, marches, rallies, lobbies, sit-ins, and pickets.
  3. Onlooker: A nonparticipating observer or a spectator to the demonstration.
  4. Student Representative: The student designated to be the point of contact between the demonstration participants and University officials.
Considerations

When planning or executing a demonstration, students and participants must ensure the following:

  • The organizers and participants of the demonstration prioritize the safety and security of all participants as well as those not directly involved. This includes those who disagree with the position(s) of those organizing the demonstration.
  • The organizers and participants of the demonstration permit the continued operation of University functions.
  • The organizer and participants of the demonstration respect University property, including hours of operation (if applicable), facility cleanliness and appearance, and structural integrity.
Behavioral Guidelines

Demonstration participants are expected to behave in compliance with local, state, and federal law and University policies including the appropriate use of any University facility.

Participants may not:

  • Block building/facility entrances or impede traffic (foot, vehicle, etc.);
  • Engage in physical abuse, threatening behavior, or intimidation;
  • Engage in hate speech or other forms of discrimination;
  • Intentionally incite a fear reaction;
  • Disrupt teaching, administration, or other University functions;
  • Possess firearms, firebombs, or any other weapon;
  • Use open flames of any kind;
  • Engage in theft, rioting, or vandalism;
  • Climb upon or rappel from University buildings, trees, or fences, or;
  • Camp or lodge on University property.

Participants must comply with the instructions and directions from University officials including Campus Security and other police agencies that may be called in to assist.

Advance Arrangements

To further the effectiveness of their event, organizations and other groups of students organizing a demonstration are required to make advance arrangements with the Dean of Students (DoS) Office. Advance notification enables the University to help ensure that the event takes place in a constructive and peaceable manner.

A request to host a demonstration must be approved by the DoS Office at least three (3) business days before the start of the event. The request must include a specific Student Representative (SR) for the demonstration. With the appropriate advance notice, organization advisor(s) (when applicable) and the DoS or designee, will engage with the SR to cover the specifics of time, place, and manner. During the advance arrangements, a designated space for counterdemonstration will be identified and discussed.

During each demonstration, the DoS or designee will be present in order to communicate with the SR, as well as the demonstrators, to help increase event effectiveness, to ensure participants’ safety, and to assist organizers to keep the demonstration from disrupting the normal functioning of the University. For events occurring on city sidewalks and streets adjacent to the University, students should make appropriate arrangements to acquire city permits and should adhere to city ordinances and applicable state and federal law.

Counterdemonstration

A demonstration on campus may invite another form of protest. When these occasions arise, the expression of all parties is important. Counterdemonstrations are subject to the same expectations in this policy except for the expectation of advance arrangements due to the nature of counterdemonstration. In those circumstances, the counterdemonstration organizers must appoint their own Student Representative (SR). The SR is responsible for communicating directly with the Dean of Students (DoS) Office or designee and is expected to follow this policy. Failure to adhere to applicable expectations will result in the counterdemonstration ending immediately.

The DoS or designee, along with the initial demonstration SR, will have designated a separate and specific counterdemonstration area for those persons with views that differ from the views held by the event organizers. In order to ensure the safety of all participants, Campus Security may require the attendance of one or more officers.

Time, Place and Manner

Due to the nature of demonstrations, the Dean of Students (DoS) or designee, reserve the right to designate specific parameters of space/location, time, and duration for the event. Failure to adhere to the designations of space/location, time, and duration will result in the event ending immediately.

Demonstrations are normally permitted until or unless University officials determine that University operations have been compromised and/or the rights of others have been significantly infringed. Interference with instruction is viewed as particularly disruptive to the University. The DoS or designee and Campus Security reserve the right to end a demonstration if deemed unsafe or inappropriately disruptive.

Publicity and Advertising

All signs, flyers, or other advertisements must follow the University posting policy found at the Student Organization page for publicity and advertising. All demonstrations will be included on the University calendar as part of the advance arrangements process.

Placards, Banners and Signs

Placards, banners and signs are generally allowed but may not pose a danger to others or impede the participation of others in the life of the University. If the use of placards, banners and signs are deemed to be dangerous or impede the participation of others, University officials will require the individuals carrying the placards, banners or signs to move to a different location or remove their materials.

Identification

All students participating in demonstrations must immediately provide a form of University issued or government issued identification upon request from a University official.

Building Occupancy

Attention must be paid to the occupancy limits and the general safety of the University community within the space utilized for a demonstration. Adherence to building closures is expected from participants of a protest or demonstration within a University building. University officials will require that participants leave the building at the time of a closure.

University residence halls are considered private and demonstrations involving non-residential students will not be permitted to take place within any residential building.

Onlookers

A demonstration or counterdemonstration may attract nonparticipants to the area. Onlookers are permitted to be present, but are expected to follow all parameters of this policy. Students’ (when onlookers) failure to follow all policies and regulations will result in a referral to the disciplinary process.

Visitors

Access to University owned or controlled property shall primarily be limited to students, employees and their visitors/guests for the purposes of study, work, teaching, extra- and co-curricular involvement, and conducting or attending other University business or activity. Absent prior approval, Texas Wesleyan University prohibits access to and being present on University owned or controlled property by non-University affiliated individuals at any time.

All individuals – visitors and others – present on University owned or controlled property shall conduct themselves in accordance with the law, University policies, as well as in a manner that maintains a safe environment. Conduct including, but not limited to, intentional or negligent disruption of the operations of the University, excess noise, threats, harassment, hate speech, physical abuse, intimidation, endangerment to the health or safety of any person or property, or unauthorized entry into, obstruction of, or occupation of any University owned or controlled property is prohibited and shall be deemed a violation of this policy.

Policy Application

Application of this policy does not preclude the application of other University policies or regulations as may be warranted by a given situation, including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, alcohol and drug policies, and the University ID policy.

Violation of Policy

If an individual engages in behavior or conduct that is inconsistent with this policy or any other University policy or that is otherwise inconsistent with the best interests of the University, the individual will be asked to refrain from such conduct and may be asked to vacate University owned or controlled property at once. Failure to adhere to this request may result in law enforcement being summoned to take appropriate action, including possible removal for trespassing. Students reported to have violated this policy will be subject to the Code of Student Conduct and disciplinary process. Texas Wesleyan University reserves the right to regulate the activity on its campus and to end any demonstration, counterdemonstration, or individual who presents any harm or threat of harm to any individual or property.

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