Demonstration Guidelines

Since its inception in 1965, FIU has dedicated itself to the support and growth of its diverse student population and strives to produce an atmosphere which encourages both students and faculty to exercise their freedom of speech on a variety of issues. We cherish the right of free speech and understand the great benefit provided to our campus community and society at large when everyone can express themselves, regardless of whether others agree. One of FIU's values is Freedom of thought and expression, regardless of the content of that thought and expression.

FIU's Demonstration Regulation is in place to provide the means by which students and others can lawfully demonstrate on campus. Please review the policy and this site to learn more.

Any student or organization with questions or concerns regarding their ability to peaceably demonstrate at FIU are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office at (305) 348-2797.

Download the Demonstration Regulation

Reservations can be made through the Graham Center at MMC and the Vice Provost Office at BBC.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities to Protest on Campus

The following statement is an excerpt from a letter published in the Beacon in January 2016.

FIU Students:Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities Regarding Protests on Campus

Universities have competing responsibilities and values when it comes to protests on campus.

First off, we cherish the right of free speech and understand the great benefit provided to our campus community and society at large when everyone can express themselves regardless of whether others agree. One of FIU's values is Freedom–of thought and expression, regardless of the content of that thought and expression. We wholeheartedly subscribe to the philosophy embodied in this quote from John Milton: Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

At the same time, there is a responsibility to preserve the continuity of university operations, and maintain an environment where students, faculty and staff can go about their regular business, even when protests are occurring. We serve a diverse and large student body seeking degrees in higher education. Our top priority, above all others, is offering a world class education and graduating all of our students. Two of FIU's other values–Excellence in intellectual, personal and operational endeavors and Respect–for the diversity and the dignity of the individual, among our other values, speak to these aims. It goes without saying that observing or participating in protests can be a great educational experience and we hope all students who desire to exercise their right to protest feel free to do so.

We are at our best as a university when we are able to harmonize these competing values. However, when these values are in conflict with each other we must make choices, sometimes difficult, to reconcile these conflicts, and our choices may not be popular at the time we make them. We can only hope that when viewed through the lens of time, we will have succeeded in reconciling these competing values in a way that best served our FIU community.

We recognize some believe that individuals or groups exercising their 1st amendment rights should be able to do so unfettered. We do not hold that view and our Constitution and the law do not require this view. We likewise understand that respect for the diversity and dignity of the individual does not mean that speech which some or many find disrespectful or distasteful is not permitted. FIU's police and student affairs administrators are trained in responding to protests and work together to ensure the interests of the FIU community and the University's values are appropriately considered in our actions and our obligations under the law are met.

Here are the regulations specifics:

  1. We encourage, but do not require, all large groups to gather in the free assembly areas as these areas were established to be centrally located and provide greater visibility.
  2. Free assembly areas are located in key locations on the campuses to promote visibility of individuals and/or groups wishing to express themselves. In fact, in 2014, our regulation was amended to add a new free assembly area at the MMC campus, the area in front of the Frost Art Museum and MARC building, and to add a free assembly area at the BBC campus outside the Wolfe University Center, an area central to student activity on the BBC campus.
  3. FIU students also have the right to demonstrate anywhere on campus EXCEPT within 50 feet of (1) residence halls, buildings where ingress/egress would be impaired or the building's activities disrupted, (2) the Children's Creative Learning Center, (3) the FIU libraries and (4) buildings where child care, elder care or health care are being provided.
  4. Large groups (30 or more) or groups using amplification must give 2 days advance prior notice to the University. This is a notice requirement only; in other words, University permission is not required. This notice is required because as the noise and size of a demonstration reach or exceed this size, it becomes more likely that regular University operations may be impacted.
  5. Hecklers (those responding in opposition to a protest) have the right to express themselves alongside the original protesters; hecklers should not unreasonably interfere with the rights of the original protesters to express themselves. Ultimately, if relations between protesting individuals or groups result in an immediate concern about safety, the University's police may take the steps necessary to maintain order and safety.

Our Student Affairs professionals are here to assist students in understanding their rights and responsibilities regarding demonstrations on our campuses. Students should feel free to contact the Dean of Students Office at 305-348-2797 for guidance.

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Contact

Dean of Students Office

305-348-2797