Listen to podcast from President Cevallos addressing on-campus demonstrations and free speech. (2MB MP3)
September 24, 2007
Dear Students, faculty and staff:
Last spring, the KU campus was the site of a demonstration by non-KU community members. The possibility exists, as college campuses become more visible to the media, that such visits will continue in the future.
Some of the visitors select college campuses because the sponsoring groups seek confrontation and the ensuing publicity. What often follows is a lawsuit charging that the demonstrators’ civil liberties have been violated. Thus, I want to share with you what we believe to be the best course of action should we again, as a campus, be the site of demonstrations:
- Non-KU organizations have the legal right to be on our campus.
- We should avoid confrontation with any demonstrators.
- We have the legal right to walk away from demonstrators; they cannot block our movement, nor can we block theirs.
- Counter-demonstrations must follow KU policy: conduct a peaceful, organized event.
- If directed by Public Safety or other law enforcement officials to disperse, we must follow those directions.
- Following any other course of action gives the demonstrators exactly what they seek: confrontation, publicity, and lawsuit potential.
Following these guidelines -- regardless of whether we agree, as individuals or community, with the demonstrators’ messages -- recognizes the Constitutional rights of all parties.
Persons who desire details about policies governing demonstrations by members of the KU community should meet with Chief Bill Mioskie of Public Safety.
I appreciate your expressions of concern and your cooperation with these guidelines.
F. Javier Cevallos