Student Organization Demonstration Policy

The following policy is relevant to student organization activity only. Individual students should refer to the University Demonstration Policy (UPP 6-11).

It is clearly inevitable, and indeed essential, that the spirit of inquiry and challenge that the university seeks to encourage will produce many conflicts of ideas, opinions and proposals for action. The university community recognizes its responsibility to provide effective channels for internal communication, free discussion and rational persuasion as the normal and preferred means of airing and reconciling such differences. On occasion, recourse to public demonstration and protest may become, for some, a necessary and justified means of supporting their cause or position.

In such cases, the university must seek to ensure a fair and reasonable balance and coordination between two sets of rights that are brought into conflict with one another. The first is the right of the members of the university community freely to pursue their academic and vocational objectives without unreasonable obstruction or hindrance. The second is the right of the members of the university community freely to communicate, by lawful demonstration and protest, the positions that they conscientiously espouse on vital issues of the day.

The university endorses both sets of rights and believes that each can be fully exercised without serious damage to the other. The use of the university forum does not imply acceptance or endorsement by the university of the views expressed.

In order to establish an environment that enables both sets of rights and ensures that each can be fully exercised without serious damage to the other, the following procedures govern on-campus Demonstrations. 

a. Leadership and Prior Approval

A member of the Marquette University community (student, faculty or staff member) must be designated Organizer/Liaison for each protest/demonstration (the “Event”).

The Organizer/Liaison must meet with the Dean of Students or designee to coordinate the planned Event and is encouraged to schedule this meeting well in advance. To schedule this meeting, the organizer must contact the Dean of Students office. If the Organizer/Liaison is planning the Event on behalf of a recognized club or organization, the advisor to the club or organization is strongly encouraged to attend this meeting as well.

The Dean of Students/designate will meet with the organizer (and advisor, if relevant) within one business day of the request. The planned Event may be scheduled no fewer than two business days after this meeting is held. This two-day period may be extended at the discretion of the university if additional planning or preparation time is needed. Organizers should therefore plan accordingly and submit proposals as early as possible before the anticipated Event date. The meeting with the Dean/designate will be to review the details of the proposed Event including proposed time, place, manner and planned size of the event. Accordingly, expectations, rights, responsibilities, and logistical considerations will be discussed. In conjunction with this meeting, the Organizer/Liaison will submit a “Demonstration Proposal” form. This form is available through MARQUEE. Following this meeting, if all parties are in agreement regarding the substance of the proposed Event and the institutional expectations, the Event will be approved and the Proposal Form will be shared with relevant campus offices.

Reservation of campus space for any Event will be contingent upon availability. Space cannot be reserved without approval.

b. Measures to ensure safety and security

All students who are members of the university community have the right to peaceful demonstration (including, but not limited to, rallies, gatherings, protests, parades, and processions) on campus. However, disruptive demonstration, here defined as any demonstration that unreasonably interferes with the rights or safety of others, is strictly prohibited.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding of what is a peaceful demonstration (permitted) and what is a disruptive or unsafe demonstration (prohibited), the following non-exhaustive list of characteristics is provided.

A demonstration is disruptive or unsafe if it includes any activity that:

  • Denies or unreasonably interferes with the rights of other students, faculty or staff of the university, including the rights of others to demonstrate
  • Occurs in a way that blocks entrances, exits, or passageways from or to any university building or vehicle traffic on or to the campus.
  • Occurs inside university buildings other than the Alumni Memorial Union. The approved Event cannot interfere with the daily business, traffic flow, ingress/egress patterns or scheduled events in either facility. The approved Event must cease in the event of an emergency or building evacuation.
  • Violates any ordinance or law
  • Creates a volume of noise that prevents members of the university community from carrying on their normal activities; the use of any amplified sound devices (e.g. horns, speakers) is strictly prohibited
  • Places the health or safety of any member of the university community at risk
  • Employs force or violence or threatens force or violence against any persons or property
  • Congregates or assembles in any university building or on university property in ways that disrupts the university’s normal functions or results in damage to property
  • Fails to observe established closing hours of buildings
  • Fails to comply with any other university policy or any other lawful directive, including a directive to cease the Event. Disruptive demonstrations must be suspended or stopped immediately at the direction of Marquette University Police or the Dean of Students or designee. The university may also seek the assistance of law enforcement, such as the Milwaukee police, to disband unlawful or unauthorized demonstrations. Any student who participates in or assists in facilitating a disruptive demonstration may face disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Additionally, the following rules will govern any on campus demonstration:

  • No group may be admitted into a private office unless invited, and then not in excess of the number designated or invited by the occupant. Passage through reception areas leading to a private office must not be obstructed.
  • Corridors, stairways, doorways, and building entrances may not be blocked or obstructed in violation of the regulations of the Milwaukee Fire Department or of the university. Clear and unimpeded passageways must be maintained at all times.
  • The Code of Student Conduct and/or other administrative rules and regulations must be observed at all times in the planning and conduct of any event. Accordingly, expression that is indecent, grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other legally protected bases is inconsistent with accepted norms of conduct at the university and will not be tolerated.
  • The Organizer/Liaison is expected to communicate the parameters that have been set for the event by the Dean of Students and the Department of Public Safety to all participants prior to the event, to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of participants and will act as the primary liaison with the Dean of Students and/other university officials during the event itself.
  • Space may be occupied only when assigned through established university procedures.
  • In order to use space on the campus for the purpose of peaceful demonstration, students or groups who organize a demonstration must also comply with the following:

1. Maintain Peace and Order

  • The responsibility of maintaining peace and order rests at all times with the individual(s) or group(s) who organized the Event. This includes the responsibility to explain to other organizational members, guests, or other demonstrators the implications for failing to comply with the university’s expectations. Demonstrating guests are expected to follow the Code of Student Conduct. Individuals or groups who organized the Event are accountable for the conduct of their guests and may be subject to disciplinary action as the responsible party for violations of university policy incurred by their guests.
  • During a demonstration, the expression of viewpoints may invite or elicit a response from others, including counter-demonstrators or passersby. In all circumstances the right of others to personal expression must not be denied. Organizers should be aware that other demonstrations may also be approved that may include opposing views. Maintaining peace and order is especially important under these circumstances to support a rich campus environment that is accepting of divergent expression.

2. Presence of University Officials

  • When demonstrations are scheduled, organizers should expect university personnel (typically, Student Affairs staff and/or Marquette University Police officers) to be present for all or part of the Event. This presence is often necessary to ensure organizers’ own rights are protected and the university’s regular operations and activities are not interrupted. Accordingly, university representatives may film, photograph or record elements of the event. The presence of university personnel should not be viewed as an effort to deter or otherwise interfere with properly approved demonstrations.

3. Responsibly Conclude the Demonstration

  • The length of any given demonstration may vary. Demonstrations will usually be permitted to continue until and unless university officials determine that university operations and/or the rights of others have been compromised. This includes staff who may be attempting to close facilities according to the established closing hours of buildings
  • At the conclusion of any demonstration, the organizers are expected to make a reasonable effort to return the grounds/area to the condition it was in before the Event. This includes properly disposing of all garbage. Any unanticipated and accidental property damage should be reported to university administrators immediately. Any property damage related to a demonstration (whether peaceful or disruptive) may result in the assessment of fees for cleaning, repairs, and replacement of property to the organization or individuals involved or both.