University Demonstration Policy



Policy on Demonstrations, Protests, Marches or Rallies 

For the purpose of implementation, the word demonstration contained herein shall refer to all demonstrations, protests, marches, rallies, leaflet distribution or other activity involving the public display of a group or multiple groups feeling(s).

1. This policy applies to all members of the University community defined as students, faculty, staff, contracted vendors, volunteers, and their invited guests as well as to those third party individuals or groups visiting the University independent of any specific invitation.   The policy may be implemented on its own merit and/or in conjunction with the University’s Workplace Violence Policy, Code of Conduct, Statement of Community Values, and/or Request to Address the Campus Community Policy.

2. The University of Mary Washington supports the right of individual students, faculty, staff, recognized student organizations, or student organizations seeking recognition status to dissent and to demonstrate providing such activities do not disrupt normal campus operations, obstruct free access to university buildings, or infringe upon the rights of others.

3. The University does not condone behavior that violates the freedom of speech, choice, assembly, or movement of individuals or organizations. In short, responsible dissent carries with it sensitivity for the civil rights of others.

4. Accordingly, the University will take whatever steps it deems necessary to:

a. Protect the right of any individual or organization to demonstrate and publicly proclaim any view, however     unpopular; and

b. Protect the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement of any individual or group that is the object of the demonstration.

5. The following guidelines will apply to all demonstrations:

a. Persons or their belongings may not block or otherwise interfere with the free flow of vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic. The right of way on streets and sidewalks must be maintained.

b. Persons or their belongings may not block or otherwise interfere with ingress and egress into and out of campus buildings.

c. Persons or their belongings shall not obstruct, disrupt, interrupt or attempt to force the cancellation of any event or activity sponsored by the University or by any users authorized to use University facilities.

d. Persons shall not engage in harassing, physically abusive, threatening or intimidating conduct toward any person.

e. Persons shall comply with the directions of any University official acting in the performance of his or her duty.

f. Classes or other scheduled activities shall not be disrupted.

g. Use of public address systems and amplified sound will not be permitted without prior approval from the Office of Event and Conference Management.  Such approval is contingent upon review of potential impact classes or other scheduled activities.

h. Where an invited speaker is the object of protest, persons may demonstrate and/or leaflet outside the building where the speech is taking place. Persons who wish to enter the building must do so as members of the audience, paying admission fees where applicable, and must give the speaker a respectful hearing. Failure to grant the speaker a respectful hearing may result in the offending persons being asked to leave. Signs, placards or similar paraphernalia associated with a demonstration will not be carried into the building.

i. The safety and well-being of members of the campus community collectively and individually must be protected at all times.

j. University property must be protected at all times.

k. The University reserves the right to require the presence of University Police officers at any demonstration. In certain circumstances, searches or metal detectors may be used to ensure safety. The costs for these officers are to be paid by the organization holding the demonstration.

l. In accordance with Virginia Administrative Code, persons on University property may be required to provide identification and qualification to a University official upon request. Evidence of qualification means evidence that the person is a bona fide, currently registered student, staff or faculty member at the institution or has lawful activity to pursue at the University.

m. Persons engaging in activities on University property are subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures.

Although student and/or faculty organizations may sponsor or organize demonstrations, rallies, or picketing of activities, organization sponsorship in no way relieves individuals of the responsibility for their conduct. In addition to the sponsoring organization, each individual participating in such activities is accountable for compliance with the provisions of this policy as well as all other policies of the University.

Persons who are not members of the University student body, faculty or staff may participate in demonstrations, rallies, or equivalent activities only upon invitation by a bona fide student, faculty or staff member unless otherwise specified by the university. All non-students are obligated to the terms of this policy during participation in such activities. Since organizations and persons who are not students, faculty, staff members, or recognized organizations of the university are not subject to University discipline procedures, failure to comply with this policy may result in action under terms of local and State law, as appropriate.


Guidelines for Scheduled Demonstrations

a. Registered student, faculty, and/or staff organizations and/or departments that wish to schedule a demonstration, rally, or equivalent activity, may request the space through the regular reservation procedure up to 72 hours in advance. Demonstrations will be permitted in the following locations, unless the space has previously been reserved by another University department or organization: Campus Walk, Westmoreland Lawn, Jefferson Square Lawn, Woodard Campus Center or Kalnen Plaza.

b. Demonstrations may be held at other locations on campus with special permission by Office of Events and Conferences Management.


Guidelines for Unscheduled Demonstrations

It is the intent of this policy to insure that all demonstrations on campus occur with minimal threat to the safety and security of persons or facilities and with minimal disruption to educational activities through proper planning and scheduling. Occasionally, events occur which demand immediate public outcry, and it is not the intent of this policy to limit the University community’ rights to protest such events. However, it is inappropriate for events which have been planned to circumvent the policies by claiming to be spontaneous.

Existence of the following at any demonstration may constitute evidence of a demonstration having been planned:

  • a. Signs and placards which have been previously produced
  • b. Amplification equipment
  • c. Security alerted to provide protection
  • d. Media contacted to cover event

Members of the University community that plan a demonstration and fail to follow outlined procedures will be referred to the appropriate governing body. Unscheduled demonstrations, rallies, or equivalent activities may be held by recognized University organizations, full or part-time students, and current employees of the University in the areas defined above provided that the activity does not interfere with any functions for which that space has been reserved in advance. All activities in these areas must be conducted so as to avoid interference with the regularly scheduled functions of all buildings surrounding the space and in compliance with the provisions set for demonstrations.
Demonstrations on Public Streets

Fredericksburg Facilities

Sec. 58-5.  Parades and processions.

(a)   No procession or parade consisting of 20 or more persons or one or more vehicles, excepting the military forces of the United States or the military forces of this state, shall occupy, march or proceed along any street or sidewalk of the city, except in accordance with a permit issued by the chief of police. Such permits shall be issued in accordance with regulations promulgated by the chief of police. Any person failing or refusing to comply with the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class 2misdemeanor.

(b)   In the conduct of any procession or parade it shall be unlawful for any person to emit or cause to be emitted any noise from any horn, siren, and whistles by the operators of police, career fire company, volunteer fire company, rescue, ambulance, or other emergency vehicles while in the official conduct of emergency business, nor shall this section prohibit the playing of musical instruments or the use of whistles in connection with the direction thereof.  (Code 1991, §§ 12-6, 12-7)

Stafford facilities:  Demonstrations on public streets may be conducted with the specific approval of route and time by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.  Approval must be secured 72 hours in advance of the event from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.   Application for a street closure permit should be made through the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office by the organization holding the demonstration.

Dahlgren facilities: Demonstrations on public streets may be conducted with the specific approval of route and time by the King George County Sheriff’s Office.  Approval must be secured 72 hours in advance of the event from the King George County Sheriff’s Office.   Application for a street closure permit should be made through the King George County Sheriff’s Office by the organization holding the demonstration.