California ‘s law school recently adopted a free speech policy to protect free speech at university events.
The University of California Hastings College of the Law adopted an event policy on October 1, which defines “permissible forms of protest” at events hosted by the law school. The policy states that protestors cannot “substantially disrupt,” an event held in-person or virtual.
The policy states that “Impermissible Forms of Protest are those that significantly disrupt an in-person, virtual event in such a manner that it has the effect of silencering a speaker.”
According to the policy, these protests are not permitted:
- “Forcing a modification to the event format.”
- “Regarding any time limitations or other event guidelines that could prevent speakers or other attendees participating.”
- “Preventing someone from speaking or being heard through such means as heckling.”
- “Making noise”
- “Stand in the designated area of the room for the speaker.”
- “Blocking speaker or event organizers access to AV equipment.”
- “Blocking the views from attendees trying to view the speaker.”
- “Using or implementing technology features such as the mute and camera buttons.”
According to the document, students who violate the free speech policy will be disciplined under the UC Hastings Code of Student Conduct & Discipline.
The code of student conduct includes disciplinary sanctions that range from a written warning to expulsion.
Participants in disruptive behavior at events will be asked not to continue and asked to stop.
According to the policy, if the individuals refuse to leave, they will be “escorted from the event.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Law School stated that the new policy was intended to support “student support, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“UC Hastings is committed freedom of expression, student support, diversity, equity, inclusion. The spokesperson stated that our new event policy, along with the support services we offer all students, works simultaneously to achieve these values.”