A law school in California recently implemented a free speech policy aimed at protecting free speech during events at the university.
The event policy by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law was adopted on Oct, 1 and defines "permissable forms of protest" during events that are hosted at the law school. According to the policy, protesters cannot "substantially disrupt" an event that is held in-person or virtually.
"Impermissible forms of protest are those that substantially disrupt an in-person or virtual event in a way that has the effect of silencing a speaker," the policy states.
The following protests are not allowed, according to the policy:
- "Forcing a change to the planned event format."
- "Disregarding time limits or other event guidelines to prevent speakers or other attendees from participating."
- "Preventing a person from speaking or being heard via such means as heckling."
- "Making noise"
- "Standing in the area of a room reserved for the speaker."
- Blocking the speaker or event organizers from accessing AV equipment."
- "Blocking the views of attendees attempting to view the speaker."
- "Using or implementing technology features, such as the mute button and the camera button."
Students who violate the free speech event policy will be "subject to discipline under the UC Hastings Code of Student Conduct and Discipline," according to the document.
Disciplinary sanctions under the code of student conduct range from a written reprimand all the way up to expulsion.
People engaging in "disruptive behavior" at events will be asked to stop, and if they continue being disruptive, will be asked to leave.
If the individuals don't leave, they will be "escorted out of the event," according to the policy.
A spokesperson for the law school said in a statement that the new policy is intended to show its support for "student support, and diversity, equity and inclusion."
"UC Hastings is committed to free expression, student support, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Our new event policy – together with the supportive services that we offer to all students – works to achieve these values simultaneously," the spokesperson said.