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Interim Protest Policy

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Jeremy Haefner

Announcement  •

Dear DU Community, 

As many are aware, a protest encampment has been set up on campus. As an institution committed to critical thinking and inquiry, our policies should fiercely protect free expression. That said, it is important we all have a shared understanding of where free speech becomes something that violates our community’s values and policies. And so, we are pleased to share with you a new interim policy that outlines, specifically, how DU will allow and manage protests or demonstrations on campus, such as we’ve seen today.  This interim policy is in effect immediately.  

Protests & Demonstrations   

As stated within the policy, any acts of protest or dissent by DU students, faculty, and staff must never cause physical harm nor block any individual’s ability to come and go freely in and out of buildings. If a protest interferes with our ability to conduct classes or operate as an institution or if it violates our discrimination and harassment policy, it will no longer be protected by our policy. We hope it goes without saying that discrimination and harassment are not forms of protest; they are violations of our policy.

Also important to note within the policy, should a controversial speaker be on campus, protesting the event is wholly permissible as outlined in the policy. However, because of our commitment to free expression, the protest must not interfere with the speaker’s ability to be heard. We will work with protestors to find space, such as outside the building where the event is taking place, so the protest can be observed by the community and eventgoers. 

Camping / Overnight Protest  

Simply put, encampments require more institutional resources to protect the health and safety of the protesters and the wider DU community. Health, safety, sanitation, and disruption to the university operations will determine the long-term feasibility for encampments to endure. Indoor camping is never allowed, as it disrupts our ability to teach and conduct operations.  

With this said, the use of spaces for overnight activities—including sleeping in open spaces and setting up temporary living spaces—warrants special attention relative to safety and well-being for all involved—including those who choose not to participate and still need and want to access university services. With this in mind, we are permitting today’s new encampment on the green between Mary Reed and Anderson Academic Commons. DU’s Campus Safety personnel will be present in the area to help facilitate the safety of DU community members. 

Today, we are making several commitments to the community: 

In addition to supporting the various forms free expression may take, we also continue to welcome an open dialogue outside of protest activities to find ways to share viewpoints and reflect on the values of our community.  
The University of Denver will never condone calls for genocide or acts of violence, antisemitism, or Islamophobia. It is not only our personal beliefs or affiliations that inform us on this matter; it is our policies and our humanity. Moreover, our Policy on Discrimination and Harassmentprohibits discriminatory conduct and harassment based on race, religion, shared ancestry, national origin or other such protected statuses. These behaviors have no place at DU, and we have robust systems in place to investigate claims of such behavior through our Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. 
Protestors who are not part of the DU community (students, faculty, or staff) shall not participate, and the University has the right to remove them without notice. The University will always strive to protect and promote the safety and the rights of all members of the DU community. 
At any time deemed necessary, the University may direct the discontinuation of encampments if they are creating disruptions to the learning environment or normal business operations, threatening the safety of the campus community, or violating policy or law. 
Attempts to occupy buildings, disrupt campus activities or learning, or otherwise violate University policies will result in disciplinary action. 
Use of alcohol, drugs, fires, weapons, or any other activity deemed to be harmful or potentially harmful by Campus Safety personnel will be considered a violation of the peaceful protest standard and will be handled according to the student Honor Code or Employee Handbook. 

Use of University Identification 

Periodically, we utilize our door locks to help maintain safety across campus. Please be prepared to use your issued ID to access buildings or areas within buildings. 

The use of higher education spaces for protest has a long and important history, and indeed, DU students and scholars have a strong tradition of engaging on difficult subjects on this campus. Many students have found their political-social voices through such activities, contributing to intellectual growth and character exploration during the time spent in discussion around various topics. As always, if you choose to engage in protests or other demonstrations, we encourage you to do so peacefully, respectfully and in a manner which reflects our community’s values.  


Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor

Mary Clark, Provost

Todd Adams, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Jeff Banks, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Inclusive Community