Peaceful Assembly

Guilford College supports students’ rights to freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right of petition within the parameters of this policy.

Purpose/Reason for Policy: To outline the conditions under which students may express their rights of free expression within a community of scholars and citizens who choose to respect one another’s perspective, autonomy, and safety.

Scope/Covered Persons: All members of the Guilford College Community

Definitions:  

  • Demonstration — A large group of people, usually gathering for a political cause. It usually includes a group march, ending with a rally or a speaker. A demonstration is similar to a protest in that they both can use the same or similar methods to achieve goals. However, demonstrations tend to be more abrasive and spontaneous, whereas protests tend to be more organized.
  • March — A walk by a group of people to a place in order to express an objection with any event, situation, or policy.
  • Picket Line — A line or group of people who are refusing to go to work until their employer agrees to certain demands.
  • Protest — A protest is a way to express objections with any event, situation, or policy. These objections can be manifested either by actions or by words.
  • Sit-In — any organized protest in which a group of people peacefully occupy and refuse to leave college premises.
  • Vigil — In observance of a commemorative activity or event meant to demonstrate unity around a particular issue or concern, and/or to promote peace and prevent violence.

The Policy:  

Students at Guilford are both citizens and members of their academic community. As members of the Guilford community, students enjoy freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and right of petition, and, as members of the academic community, they are responsible to obligations that come to them by virtue of this membership. The College is committed to free and open inquiry into matters of social, political, and economic concern and encourages the presentation of all views on such issues.

Only Guilford College students or student organizations can organize peaceful assemblies on campus. 

Roles and Responsibilities: 

The Director of Public Safety or designee will review applications  for peaceful assembly within one working day of its submission and meets with the individual(s) requesting the permit prior to its approval. The meeting will cover logistics including safety and security issues, use of amplified sound, and the potential for disruption to the College. Upon notification of a proposed activity, the Department of Public Safety will inform the VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee. The VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee will communicate approved activities in writing (with a clear description of the event) to the Senior Team.

Sponsoring organizations and their representatives are responsible for ensuring that College activities, conduct of business or events, programs or services will not be disrupted by the peaceful assembly. This includes assuring: 

  • The free passage of pedestrian and vehicular traffic around campus at all points.
  • No persons or group shall block the ingress and egress to any building.
  • Use of amplified sound will not disrupt the conduct of College business.
  • Activities that might disrupt the campus environment will not be allowed or encouraged, such as the disruption of the living environment in residence halls, or campus events.
  • Respect for and adherence to all policies and procedures regulating on-campus events.
  • In the event that the demonstration is scheduled to move outside of the confines of campus, the supporting organizations will be responsible for obtaining all permits and notifying the City of Greensboro.
  • Any contact with the media will be handled by the Office of Marketing.

Whenever appropriate, the Department of Public Safety will designate clearly marked areas for protest or demonstrations. 

Compliance: 

Failure to file the appropriate request for approval could result in sanctions according to the Student Code of Conduct.

During the event, everyone is expected to comply with the directions of College officials who are acting in accordance with the performance of their duties. Failure to do so is a violation of campus conduct codes, and is subject to sanctions as outlined in Student Code of Conduct. If a demonstration or activity interferes with normal College activities and/or functions, participants will be asked to disperse. Failure to comply will result in the appropriate sanctions. Other violations that could be in violation include, but not limited to:

  • Excessive noise, which interferes with classes, College offices, residence hall, community neighbors, or other campus and community activities
  • Unauthorized entry into or occupation of a private work area
  • Conduct that restricts or prevents faculty or staff members or student employees from performing their duties, including interruption of meetings, classes, or events
  • Failure to maintain clear passage into or out of any College building or passageway, and/or work space
  • Failure to disperse when a building, office, or campus space is closed
  • Other conduct that disrupts the normal operations of the College
  • Vandalism including graffiti or destruction of College property will not be tolerated

Procedures: 

Prior to sponsoring a peaceful assembly, a group or organization must submit in writing to the Department of Public Safety an application at least 48 hours in advance of any activity. Application forms may be obtained from the Department of Public Safety or online at LINK. The Department of Public Safety may require further notice based on the scale of the event.

The application should include the location on campus where the event will be held, proposed date and time of the event, the purpose of the event, and estimated number of participants. Based on the scope of the assembly, other security requirements may be required by the Department of Public Safety.

If the proposed event is a march, the supporting group will be required to submit a proposed route for the demonstration. If the assembly will utilize a campus facility, the organizer must complete a facility request and obtain the necessary approvals.

The Director of Public Safety or designee will review the application within one working day of its submission and meet with the individual(s) requesting the permit prior to its approval. The meeting will cover logistics including safety and security issues, use of amplified sound, and the potential for disruption to the College. Upon notification of a proposed activity, the Department of Public Safety will inform the VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee. The VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee will communicate approved activities in writing (with a clear description of the event) to the Senior Team.Considering that there may be times when a student or student organization chooses to plan an activity that quickly responds to a current event, students or student organizations must still follow this policy; the Department of Public Safety will make reasonable efforts to accelerate its review; however, such accelerated reviews will occur on a case-by-case basis in a manner that is consistent with this policy.

Approval Authority: The Guilford College President

Responsible Office: Dean of Students

Revision History: Student Handbook 2017