Loyola University Chicago

Emergency Response Plan

Dissent Policy

General Policy

Loyola University Chicago in its role as an academic institution, is committed to an environment in which a variety of ideas can be reasonably proposed and critically examined. The University community recognizes that the freedom of inquiry and expression which we seek to encourage may produce conflicts of beliefs, and of proposals for action.

The existence of the free exchange of ideas and the expression of dissent within the University community are considered indications of intellectual vitality and social awareness, which are important elements in the pursuit of knowledge. It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to maintain channels of communication which will foster a climate favorable to the freedom of expression.

Implicit in these freedoms and with regard for the common purposes of the institution is the right to dissent and demonstrate in a peaceful and non-disruptive manner without unreasonable obstruction or hindrance. The University expects that those who enjoy these freedoms must also accept responsibility for order and discipline.

Permissible speech does not include unlawful activity, activity that threatens or endangers the safety of any member of the community, destruction of property or obstruction of the normal operations of the University. In addition, expression that is indecent, grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, age, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation is inconsistent with accepted norms of conduct at the University and will not be tolerated.

The use of the University forum does not imply acceptance or endorsement by the University of the views expressed.


In order to avoid any misunderstanding on the interpretation of what is permitted (dissent) and what is prohibited (disruption), the following definitions of both terms are provided:

Dissent is defined as individual or group activity which expresses grievances held against, or changes desired of, society or campus or both. Dissent may be more general than a single grievance or remedy and may have an ideological base. It often includes proposed solutions as well as complaints.

Disruption is defined as activity which interferes with the rights of others. Whereas dissent relies on persuasion, disruption is based on harassment, coercion and/or violence.

  • More specifically, disruption is construed to include activity which:
  • Denies or infringes upon the rights of the students, faculty or staff of the University community.
  • Disrupts or interferes with instruction, research, administration and other activities of the community.
  • Reacts to the expression of the peaceful dissent of others by attempting to deny their rights.
  • Obstructs or restricts free movement of persons on any part of the University campus.
  • Denies the use of offices, classrooms or other facilities to the students, faculty, officers, staff or guests of the Loyola University community.
  • Endangers or threatens the safety of any person on the University campus.
  • Results in the destruction or defacing of property.


Guidelines for Demonstrations

Students planning a demonstration should complete a demonstration registration form and arrange a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss the arrangements for the event. Participants in demonstrations are not permitted to:

  1. Gather in such a fashion as to physically hinder entrances to, exits from or passageways within any University building or other structure, or hinder the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on or to the campus.
  2. Create a volume of noise that prevents members of the University community from carrying on their normal activities.
  3. Employ force or violence, or constitute an immediate threat of force or violence against persons or property.
  4. Congregate, or assemble within any University building or on University property in such a fashion as to disrupt the University’s normal functions.
  5. Fail to observe established closing hours of buildings.
  6. Failure to heed to lawful directive.

In planning a demonstration, the organizers and participants should keep in mind all regulations pertaining to the use of campus facilities as well as the rights of all members of the University community to move around the campus in a free and unhindered manner.

In addition, the possession or use of firearms, ammunition, fireworks, explosives, dangerous chemicals or weapons by any participant in a demonstration is explicitly prohibited.

Procedures for Handling Disruptive Actions or Demonstrations

The Dean of Students, in consultation with University officials, will determine the point at which the normal operations of a specific building or area are disrupted. If it is decided that the demonstration is disruptive, the Dean will inform the demonstrators that their actions are disrupting the normal operation of the area in question and that they should cease and desist their activities. The demonstrators will also be informed specifically how they may continue their demonstration in a manner which is not disruptive.

If the disruptive demonstration is not discontinued, the demonstrators will be notified that failure to immediately discontinue the disruptive activities will subject the offenders to the full course of University action, which may include immediate suspension or expulsion from the University, pending a formal hearing at a later date.

If the above described internal measures fail to achieve the desired results, the University reserves the right to ask for the assistance of the civil authorities. Any student in a disruptive demonstration when the civil authorities are called for assistance may be arrested and may be suspended pending formal action consistent with the University conduct system. Any person not officially associated with the University who is participating in a disruptive demonstration when the civil authorities are called for assistance will be arrested and may be prosecuted.

Just as Loyola expects the members of its community to abide by the above regulations, it likewise expects that any action taken to enforce compliance with regulations or prevent prohibited activity should be appropriate and proportionate using only the minimal force that is necessary. The University expects all persons will comply with the directions of an authorized University official, who is acting in the performance of his/her duties. Appropriate action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the directions of an authorized official.