This policy passed by the Campus Life & Community Standards Committee on November 2016, and the Administrative Executive Council on December 2016.
Office of Primary Responsibility
Dean of Students Office
Summary of Policy
One of the primary functions of Allegheny College is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research, teaching and civic engagement. To fulfill this function, an open interchange of ideas is necessary not only within the College but also in the larger society. Freedom of speech is also an idea encouraged and supported at Allegheny. Implicit in this freedom is the right to dissent. The College provides the right to engage in peaceful assemblies for all faculty, staff, and students in our academic community. In providing individuals the right to peaceful assembly, there must also be room for others in the community to access academic and educational processes, to reside in residential spaces, and to take advantage of normal business operations.
Reason for Policy
Allegheny College believes peaceful assembly is an acceptable means of expression within its community.
By law, only peaceful assemblies are protected. Participation in a peaceful assembly must be voluntary and must support the basic exchange of ideas with persons who may be opposed to the ideas or claims that a particular assembly is promoting. To engage in obstruction is a form of censorship, no matter who initiates it or for what reasons. Actions such as blocking, obstructing or impeding the passage of a person or vehicle, bodily harm, and/or erecting or placing of obstructions that result in depriving others of their rights are unacceptable. In all cases, students, faculty, and staff must be afforded an opportunity to decline to participate in and to exit and enter freely from all spaces.
The following are the core principles of peaceful assembly:
- Students are part of the College community and have the right of lawful access to the College land and buildings, other than personal workspaces and other areas to which the College restricts access in the exercise of its normal responsibilities (e.g. the Cashiers, for the purpose of protecting public finances, or staff offices where files are held for the purpose of protecting personal privacy).
- All students, faculty, staff, and other persons legitimately occupying Allegheny land and buildings have the right to a safe environment at all times.
- The College has the right to go about its business and not be subjected to unreasonable disruption of, or increased cost associated with, the conduct of its business and delivery of services to students, faculty, staff, and the greater Meadville community.
- The College promotes and recognizes the principle of academic freedom as per Section 161 of the Education Act 1989.
- The following does not constitute a trespass: non-violent peaceful assembly on College property and buildings (other than restricted locations) by students, faculty and staff, provided the assembly is lawful and does not involve property damage or unreasonable disruption to the daily routine of management, academic staff, general staff, and other persons legitimately on College land and buildings.
- For an action to constitute a non-violent peaceful assembly, the participants must avoid:
- Actions that cause harassment or physical harm to any person,
- Actions that subject a person to abuse or intimidation,
- Actions that cause a person to be fearful for their own safety or the safety of others, and
- Actions that cause or are likely to cause damage to any property.
Guidelines for Planning a Peaceful Assembly
Out of concern for the general health, safety, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, organizers should contact the Office of the Dean of Students to assist with planning for the safety of those engaged in peaceful assembly and those who choose not to participate. The Dean of Students can also assist with identifying spaces for individuals and groups interested in engaging in peaceful assembly. Public Safety is required to ensure that the rights of all concerned are protected. Notification helps to ensure the safety of all participants and community members. You may contact the Office of the Dean of Students for further assistance.
A peaceful assembly on campus may invite another form of assembly. When these occasions arise, the expression of all parties is important. Please note that another area may be identified for those persons with views that differ from those held by the event organizers. In order to ensure the safety of all participants and to guarantee that the Peaceful Assembly Policy is upheld, the presence of Public Safety may be required.
Students are expected to attend all their classes as scheduled. Specific class attendance policies are the prerogative of the individual faculty member. Students will be held responsible for any missed coursework. Any arrangements for missed coursework will be at the discretion of the faculty. In some cases, missed coursework may result in a reduction in grade or no grade at all for unauthorized absences.
Peaceful Assembly: includes meetings, speeches, debates, demonstrations, marches, vigils, sit-ins, rallies, protests, picket lines, and similar meetings or gatherings. The examples and information below are not intended to be an exhaustive list.
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 way to express objections with an 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: An observance of commemorative activity or event meant to demonstrate unity around a particular issue or concern, and/or to promote peace and prevent violence.