Freedom of Expression: Demonstrations and Fixed Exhibits
“As an institution committed to social justice and higher education in the Jesuit tradition, Loyola University Chicago recognizes the importance of its role as a marketplace of ideas, where freedom of inquiry and open exchange of conflicting viewpoints is supported and encouraged. Such discourse is essential for the University to uphold the Jesuit mission of 'service of faith and promotion of justice.'" (Community Standards §603, revised 3/1/2016)
On November 12, 2015, over 700 Loyola students, staff, and faculty members participated in a demonstration on Loyola’s West Quad, gathering both in solidarity with students on other campuses and to call attention to the experiences of underrepresented students (specifically but not exclusively Black or African-American students) on Loyola’s own campuses. Among the calls to action that resulted from this event was a strong and pervasive desire throughout Loyola's community to revise its “Demonstration and Fixed Exhibit Policy.”
As a Catholic, Jesuit institution devoted to social justice, this movement became a catalyst for change. After a constructive and respectful dialogue lasting several months and involving all members of the University community, from students to faculty, staff, and senior leadership, the Community Standards were updated during the spring of 2016. The amended Student Free Expression: Demonstration and Fixed Exhibit Policy (§603), which can be found in the Community Standards, is the result of this collaborative effort; this policy now stands as a testament both to the power of student voices and to the progress that can be accomplished when a community comes together to effect change.
Key updates to the policy included:
- Demonstration approval is not required. Organizers are encouraged to notify the Office of the Dean of Students two days before the demonstration; however, formal approval to move forward is no longer necessary.
- Indoor demonstrations are now recognized and may occur in two locations on our lakeside campuses (Damen Student Center and Terry Student Center) as long as they do not impede building traffic or operations.
- Outdoor demonstrations can be held throughout campus and are no longer limited to the Damen North Lawn.
- Amplified sound is permitted during outdoor demonstrations if used in a manner that does not substantially interfere with classes or other events on campus.
- Under the policy, demonstrations and fixed exhibits—regardless of the content or viewpoints expressed—are permitted so long as they are orderly, lawful, and congruent with policies within the Community Standards.
In an effort to assist you with planning and executing your demonstration please familiarize yourself with the following guidelines.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Demonstrations do not require that the space be reserved. However, demonstrations may not occur in spaces that have been reserved by others. Therefore, to ensure that your demonstration is not stopped or interrupted, reserving the space where you intend to demonstrate is highly recommended. Individuals or student organizations who intend to sponsor or organize a demonstration should contact Campus Reservations for assistance with identifying and reserving available space. Fixed exhibits do require that the space be reserved in advance.
Utilize LUCommunity. Remember that the Office of the Dean of Students is always available for consultation to help ensure your demonstration is successful. To notify the DOS of a planned demonstration, please complete and submit the Student Free Expression: Demonstration and Fixed Exhibit Form, available through LUCommunity.
Disagree with civility. During a demonstration, your viewpoints or opinions may invite or elicit a response from others, including counter-demonstrators or passersby. In all circumstances the right of others to personal expression must also be respected. Maintaining peace and order is especially important under these circumstances to support a rich campus environment that is accepting of differing viewpoints. The responsibility of maintaining peace and order rests with participants, organizers, and/or sponsors. If you need assistance deescalating something, seek out Campus Safety (773.508.SAFE) to request assistance.
Welcome University personnel. University personnel (typically, Division of Student Development representatives and/or Campus Safety officers) may be present during demonstrations involving our University community. This presence is intended to ensure that all participants’ rights are protected, the University’s regular operations are not interrupted, and the campus community remains safe. The presence of University staff does not mean that the University endorses the viewpoints being expressed, but it also does not mean that the University is "worried about" or planning to interrupt the demonstration.
Avoid disruption. We understand that demonstrations can get noisy. However, it is important that participants and organizers respect the academic environment of campus at all times. Amplified sound or other loud noises may not substantially interfere with classes or other events taking place. Whether or not a demonstration "substantially interferes" will be determined by authorized campus personnel. If both (a) the University receives a complaint about a demonstration, and (b) the complaint seems objectively reasonable, then the demonstration may be stopped or interrupted; additionally, participants or organizers may later be subject to the student conduct process.
Maintaining order is a community responsibility. Organizers, sponsors, and/or participants may be held accountable for violations of the Community Standards. Which party or parties are held responsible depends on the individual circumstances of the incident.
We’re here to help. The DOS partners with University Marketing and Communication (UMC) to ensure that media has reasonable access to a demonstration, and we assist in identifying appropriate individual(s) to speak on behalf of the sponsoring organization or the University. This is among the logistical considerations that are discussed whenever the DOS has been notified of an upcoming demonstration.
Inform yourself. Remember the University reserves the right to stop or limit demonstrations that are unlawful or violate other Community Standards. Organizers especially should familiarize themselves with related policies that could impact the success of their demonstration, including but not limited to the following (all of which can be found in the Community Standards):
- §201(3) Bias-Motivated Discrimination and Misconduct
- §201(6) Disruptive and Disorderly Conduct
- §201(8) Facility Use and Access
- §201(9) Failure to Comply
- §201(13) Harassment and Bullying
Consider all stakeholders' needs. After submitting the Demonstration and Fixed Exhibit Form (available through LUCommunity), you will be contacted by a member of the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) to meet and discuss your plans for a fixed exhibit. Remember that the purpose of meeting with the DOS regarding proposed fixed exhibits is to ensure that the needs of various campus partners are met. Are there any other large events going on that may conflict with the exhibit? Will the exhibit interfere with sprinklers or other facilities needs? How will the exhibit be stored overnight? How safe is it? Should Campus Safety dedicate extra resources to ensure the exhibit (or those viewing it) remains safe? These and more questions will be considered by the DOS on behalf of offices like Campus Reservations, Facilities, Residence Life, Campus Safety, etc. Please keep an open mind coming into the discussion, and remember that the DOS is committed to reviewing proposals without consideration of the content or viewpoints expressed (unless unlawful or in clear violation of the Community Standards).