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Campus Free Speech: Protecting Rights While Protecting Students

Federal, Case, State and Local Laws Surrounding Freedom of Speech (PDF)

Student Clashes on Campus by Jeffrey Sun and Georgre S. McClellan (Dr. Sun is Professor and Associate Dean for Innovation & Strategic Partnerships in the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development


The Division of Student Affairs works to maintain an awareness of activity on campus and nationally that may result in student protests or demonstrations.

If the University becomes aware of a planned protest/demonstration, the following University action steps will be taken:

  • If student or student organization:
    • A Student Affairs representative will attempt to meet with the identified student leaders. During the meeting, the following items will be addressed:
    • Review of University policies and procedures including the Code of Student Conduct and Use of Grounds Policy, and Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities; reservation of space will be requested.
    • Review of safe protest routes and locations, how to avoid causing a disruption on campus, and how one might handle confrontation.
    • After meeting with student leaders, the Student Affairs representative will notify the Dean of Students, University Police, and Office of Student Involvement to update them on the protest/demonstration. These offices may inform other departments depending on the nature of the protest/demonstration.
  • If off campus group:

Section 7 of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities outlines campus expression.

The University of Louisville’s interest is to allow for a university education and business functions that are not disrupted. Within the Code of Student Conduct, students are prohibited from interfering with the freedom of expression of others and are prohibited from disrupting normal University functions.

For individuals unaffiliated with the (not students or not invited by recognized student organizations, faculty, staff, students and/or departments to campus) the Speech and Distribution of Literature applies.

If a staff member becomes aware of a possible demonstration/protest, they should contact the Dean of Students office. Please provide as much information as possible so follow-up can occur.

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