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Public Demonstrations and Protests Policy

Franklin & Marshall College encourages an atmosphere that supports civil discourse. The right of free expression at F&M includes the opportunity to engage in peaceful dissent, protests in peaceable assembly and orderly demonstrations, subject to the general requirements of this policy. The College reserves the right to determine the time, place and manner of all such activities, and the College reserves the right to refuse permission to use a particular area for protests or demonstrations. No protests or demonstrations that disrupt regular or essential operations of the College or infringe upon the rights of others, particularly the right to listen, will be tolerated.

The right of peaceful protest and orderly demonstration on campus is generally available only to the College community. Demonstrations by persons who are not members of the current campus community will be limited to protest and demonstration in connection with and related to a specific event that is "open to the public," and must be associated with or related to attendance at the event.

Advance Registration Required

Any individual or group seeking to protest at an event must register their request with the College at least 48 hours (or 72 hours if the event is to occur on a holiday or during a weekend) in advance of the event. One or more representatives for the individuals participating in the proposed demonstration must contact the Office of the Dean of the College. Individuals or groups wishing to protest will be advised of the relevant College protocols surrounding peaceful protest and orderly demonstrations. Individuals or groups will also be advised of any additional rules and protocols that may apply to a specific event. The College expressly reserves the right to designate the specific areas in which such activities are conducted.

The Office of the Dean of the College will seek assistance and consultation with the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Communications when evaluating requests. In asking groups and individuals to seek prior approval regarding the schedule and location for peaceful protest and orderly demonstrations, the College's goal is to give the College the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the College community and those engaged in acts of constitutionally protected speech or protest.

In addition to the guidelines set forth in this policy, other factors considered by the College in determining whether a request for peaceful protest or orderly demonstrations should be granted include, but are not limited to, whether such protest of demonstration would

    • interfere unreasonably with the activities of other persons. The time of day, size, anticipated noise level and general tenor of a meeting, event or demonstration are factors that may be considered;

    • cause injury to persons or property or threaten to cause such injury;

    • endanger health or safety; or

    • knowingly interfere with unimpeded movement in a College location.

Individuals sponsoring or hosting the demonstration or protest must include on any distributed materials the name, telephone number and/or email address of the College sponsoring organization or individual member of the College community. These materials may include print or electronic petitions, posters, leaflets, or other materials distributed on campus. Attribution promotes and facilitates civility as well as vigorous debate in the academic community. Anonymous public postings without sponsorship of a registered College organization will be removed or deleted at the College's sole discretion.

Whenever appropriate, the Office of the Dean of the College, with assistance and consultation with the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Communications, will designate clearly marked areas for protest or demonstrations. Activities that take place in the vicinity of College residences, classrooms, the library, Nevin Chapel/Miller Lecture and Recital Hall and similar facilities must be conducted in such a way as to respect the necessity for maintaining a reasonable degree of order and low volume in such areas.


It is a violation of College regulations for any person to prevent the orderly conduct of any College activity. Participation in any effort to prevent or disrupt a class or other College function or event, or to seize any College building or part thereof, or to violate the right of an audience to listen at a College function, or to interfere with any activity of any member of the College community, is an offense that will require the offending party to leave College property, and may prompt other actions as are appropriate under the circumstances, including arrest and criminal charges against the offending individual.

Demonstrations or protests that exceed the limits outlined in this policy subject the participants to temporary or permanent separation from the College. The terms of the separation will be within the sole discretion of the College.

The right to public demonstration involves a concurrent obligation on the part of all members of the College community, guests and visitors to maintain an atmosphere conducive to scholarly pursuits and to respect the rights of all individuals on campus.

Policy Maintained by: Office of Communications, Vice President for Communications
Last update: August 11, 2016