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C11.0 Policy with Respect to Demonstrations on Campus

1. RIT firmly believes that among its goals and responsibilities are the free pursuit of truth and the intellectual and moral development of its students. Each member of the RIT community has both rights and responsibilities. The primary responsibilities of the faculty and the administration of the University are to foster, enhance and safeguard the freedom of all to learn by creating opportunities and orderly conditions for exercise of such freedom in the classroom and upon the campus. The primary responsibilities of students are to exercise the freedom and opportunity to learn, and to contribute to the maintenance of an orderly, intellectual environment wherein such freedom and opportunities are freely exercisable by all members of the academic community.

Because the rights of free speech and lawful assembly are fundamental to the democratic process and the academic process, RIT supports the rights of all its members freely to express their views and to protest against actions and opinions with which they disagree, using peaceful and lawful means of dissent. RIT also recognizes a concurrent obligation to maintain upon its campus an atmosphere conducive to academic work and freedom and respect for the rights of all individuals. Administration, faculty, and students must cooperate in a manner which will ensure that all of these rights are protected.

In furtherance of these principles, demonstrations or disturbances that limit, interfere with or infringe upon the equal rights and freedoms of others, that are not orderly, or that impede the university's purposes are not to be tolerated. Implicit in this, any seizure or attempt to seize a physical facility of the university by any person, group or combination of groups of the University is in violation of university rules and regulations. The rights of free speech and lawful assembly do not confer upon those who exercise them a license to limit, interfere with, or infringe upon the equal rights of others to free speech, lawful assembly, free association, privacy, and the pursuit of education. Integrity, open-mindedness, and respect for the opinions and rights of others are crucial in the RIT community. Behavior at variance with these standards is inimical to RIT's objectives.

Among other requirements, the following shall be observed:

  1. Reasonable and free access to, and exit from all RIT offices, buildings, or other premises shall be maintained.

  2. The freedom of movement or speech of any individual or group shall be maintained, provided that this shall not be deemed to countenance language or actions likely to provoke or encourage disruption of, or interference with classes, educational activities, or any events sponsored by RIT or any recognized official, faculty or student group.

  3. Recruiters or representatives from industry, government, the armed services, potential employers, or similar guests of the university shall be assured free access and the opportunity to meet in privacy with any individual who desires to consult with such guests.

  4. All participants in any lecture, speech, discussion, or public event on campus shall be treated in an orderly and courteous manner, as shall all guests or invitees to the RIT campus.

  5. There shall be no disruption of, or interference with classes or educational activities, or other RIT functions or events.

  6. Physical force, physical harassment, or physical obstruction shall not be used or threatened. Specifically, no unauthorized weapons of any kind shall be permitted on campus.

  7. In general, only conduct which does not disrupt unreasonably the academic community and does not infringe unreasonably upon the rights of others shall be countenanced.

2. Any individual charged with participating in a disturbance will be referred to the appropriate judicial body for action.

The judicial procedure with respect to faculty and other professional staff charged with participating in a disturbance or improper demonstrations or seizure of facilities, or other like violations of university policy, is as follows:

The faculty member shall be afforded a hearing before the University Appeals Board (see Policy D18.0: "RIT Student Conduct Process," section VI.) which shall determine whether:

  1. The faculty member violated the policies of the university and

  2. The faculty member willfully disobeyed any reasonable request to discontinue such violations, if any.

If such violation and/or willful disobedience are established by the University Appeals Board, it shall recommend the nature and extent of any disciplinary action to be taken against the faculty member involved.

Prior to any hearing by the University Appeals Board, the faculty member shall be notified of the time and place of the hearing, and shall upon request, be furnished a written copy of the charges and shall be afforded the right to choose an advisor to assist in confronting and examining opposing witnesses and to present a defense which may include calling other witnesses. A record of the hearing adequate for review shall be made and the transcript of such record shall be available to the parties upon request and under reasonable conditions.

The chair of the University Appeals Board shall have the discretion, if necessary, to limit the hearing to a reasonable opportunity for presentation of relevant and material evidence, and to conduct such hearing in a manner that will not unduly disrupt the educational and other functions of the University.

Responsible Office:

Effective Date:
Approved prior to July 1975

Policy History:
Edited August, 2010


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