Know the Code

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Student Code of Conduct Guidelines for Student Activism

The University of Miami recognizes that peaceful and orderly demonstration is considered to be one of the many legitimate avenues for the free expression of ideas. In our support of student activism, the Dean of Students Office has provided some additional guidance to ensure that students stay safe and in good standing as they exercise their rights to free speech and free expression. Complete policies for our standards of conduct can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. It is also important to note that the Code of Conduct governs student behavior whether an incident occurs on campus or in any location off campus from the time of admission to the University through the time when a student has permanently severed ties with the University.

Are you planning an on-campus demonstration?

The University defines a demonstration as any public display of support for, or in opposition to, any person, group, organization, cause, institution, idea, or policy. All recognized University organizations and full- or part-time students who wish to schedule a demonstration, rally, protest, or equivalent activity must follow the appropriate steps to get their demonstration registered and supported. To request the required Demonstration Registration Form, please email Full Demonstrations policy.

If you have a question about a policy or wish to learn more about the process for registering your demonstration, rally, or protest, please contact the Dean of Students Office.

Policy Guidelines

Whether you are planning a demonstration, or contemplating participating in one, the guidelines and resources below are intended to help you make the most of your experience.

Freedom of Expression

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  • Freedom of Expression

    In support of diversity of thought and the free, respectful exchange of ideas, the University campuses welcome the sharing of ideas and opinions, and the protest and challenge of ideas and opinions. However, the University of Miami reserves the right to use its sole discretion to refuse any request for the use of University space or facilities deemed inconsistent with the values and mission of the University including those events that may cause a disruption or cause danger to the health and safety of others or cause violence. Full Freedom of Expression policy.

    Examples of free expression that comply with UM policy:

    • Silently wearing badges, armbands, distinctive clothing, or similar symbols of opposition to a speaker or event
    • Respectfully disagreeing with a speaker who has allowed or welcomed questions or engagement from the audience
    • Expressing opinions that oppose a popular movement

    Examples of expression that violate UM policy:

    • Intentionally block or interfere with the free flow of foot or vehicular traffic
    • Obstruct or disrupt a class or other event sponsored by the University
    • Engage in threatening or abusive behavior or cause physical injury to another protester

    Related policies:
    Disorderly Conduct, Harassment or Harm to Others, Noise and Nuisance, Online/Internet Social Networking Usage

  • Disorderly Conduct

    The University supports and protects the rights of all students to demonstrate and publicly proclaim their views, however unpopular. Our commitment to free expression also leave open the possibility that students will be presented with views and ideas that conflict with their own. This commitment does not mean, however, that there are no limits upon free expression. Students whose expressions become threatening, aggressive, lewd, or indecent, or those whose views substantially interfere with, or negatively impact the safety of others, can be charged with violating our policy on Disorderly Conduct. Full Disorderly Conduct policy.

    Examples of conduct that complies with UM policy:

    • Protest organizers completed and were approved through the required Demonstration Registration Form process
    • Respectfully disagreeing with a protest speaker who has allowed or welcomed questions or engagement from the audience
    • Express dissent with a protest speaker by standing together in the back of the room without interrupting 

    Examples of conduct that violate UM’s Disorderly Conduct policy:

    • Disturbing the peace and/or impede upon the rights of others during a rally
    • Hosting rally that disrupts normal academic or administrative functioning of the University
    • Expressing dissent by blocking the view or enjoyment of others attendees at a University-approved protest

    Related policies:
    Assault, Freedom of Expression, Harassment or Harm to Others, Noise and Nuisance, Removal of Ejection from a University-Sponsored Event, Requests or Orders, Student Organization Rights and Responsibilities

  • Harassment

    In support of diversity of thought and the free, respectful exchange of ideas, the University campuses welcome the sharing of ideas and opinions, and the protest and challenge of ideas and opinions. However, the University reserves the right to deem any unwelcomed and/or discriminatory words or acts, whether intentional or a product of the disregard for the safety, rights, or welfare of others as harassment. Harassment involves words or acts that, among other things, demean, degrade, or bully others. Bias incidents, or action, behaviors, or expression against an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived identity are also considered harassment. Full Harassment and Bias-Related Incidents policies. How to report Bias.

    Examples of action or behavior that violates UM’s Harassment or Bias policies:

    • Refusing rally participation from two black volunteers, because “they didn’t look like students”
    • Telling a student she “looks to ethnic” to organize a conservative rally
    • Not allowing a volunteer to participate in your protest, because he is a self-described “gay activist”

    Examples of action or behavior that likely result in educational conversations:

    • Protest organizers who openly oppose the commitment of two, tall female volunteers, because they’re “probably student athletes”
    • Counter protesters expressing that a student is enrolled at UM because of Affirmative Action

    Related policies:
    Bias-Related Incidents, Disorderly Conduct, Freedom of Expression, Online/Internet Social Networking Usage, Retaliation, Student Organization Rights and Responsibilities

  • Requests or Orders

    Although your demonstration, rally, or protest may be properly registered and supported, your behavior during the demonstration or event should also align with the University’s value for respect for others. Failure to comply with any reasonable request or orders made by University officials, representatives acting on behalf of the University, or by members of law enforcement violates the University’s Requests or Orders policy. Full Requests or Orders policy.

    Examples of action or behavior that violates UM’s Requests or Orders policy:

    • Ignoring a request for your Cane Card from a UM official who believes a policy is being violated
    • Ignoring a request to put away protest signage that is not safely adhered to sticks or sign posts
    • Ignoring a request to stop posting information that violates a student’s privacy (i.e. sharing student records online) 

    Related policies:
    Removal of Ejection from a University-Sponsored Event, Solicitation, Student Organization Rights and Responsibilities,