Student Protest and Rally Policy

In pursuit of its Catholic and Jesuit mission to promote learning, the development of the whole person, and engagement with the world in pursuit of social justice, John Carroll University recognizes its responsibility to encourage its students to be independent, critical thinkers who take action in accordance with their values.

John Carroll University strives to create an environment in which students may discuss questions, express opinions, and debate issues publicly while respecting the rights of others. This policy ensures that students are made aware of the options available to them to protest and rally on campus and at University-sponsored events. This policy also exists so students understand the limits for those options as well as the ways the University can provide requirements necessary for the protest or rally to take place.


Protest or Rally: This policy applies to protests or rallies on University property that include student participants (with or without other University community members such as faculty and staff or JCU alumni). This policy does not apply to protests or rallies on University property that are sponsored and/or approved by an appropriately authorized University office or department.

Policy and Procedures:

In planning any protest or rally, there are two primary considerations that the University seeks to balance. First, the University is responsible for maintaining a safe, non-disruptive and secure environment conducive to academic and other educational pursuits and that respects the rights of others. Second, we seek to promote the University’s mission and values, which include both respect for others and a desire for social justice as well as open speech, assembly, and expression. Within this context, reasonable restrictions such as those on time, place and manner or on activities inconsistent with the University’s mission and values are put in place in order to balance these two considerations that could come into unproductive conflict. Additionally, student protests or rallies must comply with all applicable University policies, including the Student Organization Political and Campaign Activities Policy, the Hate Free Policy, Firearms and Other Weapons Policy, and the Posting Policy.

Therefore, when planning and executing a protest or rally, student organizers must ensure the following:

  • The protest or rally prioritizes the safety of those involved, as well as the safety of those not involved in the protest or rally, including those who disagree with the position taken by organizers.
  • The protest or rally permits the continued operation of University functions – i.e. allows students to freely move about campus; allows classes and University-sponsored events to continue unhindered and uninterrupted (including excessive noise in academic buildings); allows other students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors to conduct their business; allows entrance and egress from University grounds as needed; and is not in violation of other University policies.
  • The protest or rally respects University property, including building times, facility cleanliness and appearance, and structural integrity.

Students who fail to follow these requirements are subject to disciplinary action according to the university student conduct procedures as well as possible legal action when applicable.

If the protest or rally attendees choose to engage in an activity or method of protesting or rallying not prioritizing safety, the continued operation of the University, the compliance with University policies and with the law, or respect for University community members and University property, the attendees generally will be warned once for minor issues before being asked to leave the protest or rally. If a significant percentage of attendees choose to engage in this manner, the entire protest or rally may be dispersed. When a significant concern about the safety (e.g. carrying weapons, unsafe open flames, or engaging in threatening or intimidating behavior) of any community member or the University as a whole arises (as determined by the Dean of Students, JCUPD, or their respective designees), the University will remove an attendee or disperse a protest or rally without first issuing a warning. Student protests or rallies on University property or at University-sponsored events must be organized, led and attended by current students (and may include other current University faculty or staff members or JCU alumni), so that there is an appropriate University contact for the protest or rally. Protests or rallies by those who are not University students, faculty, staff or alumni are not permitted on University property. Individuals who are not current students, faculty, staff or alumni are not permitted to participate in on-campus protests or rallies. Reasons for dispersing a protest or rally will be communicated to student organizers at the time of dispersal. If immediate communication is not possible, reasons will be communicated to student organizers during a follow-up meeting with a staff member from the Office of Student Engagement.

Students planning to protest or rally are expected to contact the Office of Student Engagement at (216) 397-4288 at least five (5) business days prior to the event to provide notice of the planned protest or rally and designate an organizer as an official point of contact. In limited circumstances, the University may permit a protest or rally with less than five (5) business days’ notice. This notice allows University staff to work with student organizers to assure the protest or rally will meet the requirements of this Protest and Rally Policy, and to provide assistance in utilizing University resources to maximize the learning experience inherent in protest and rallying.

In its dedication to social justice and an open, respectful exchange of ideas and opinions, John Carroll University is committed to permitting student protests or rallies advocating different viewpoints. The use of John Carroll facilities for any protest or rally or the assistance of John Carroll staff in providing guidance to students does not imply endorsement of the ideas therein. This policy exists to govern the process of a protest or rally and seeks to provide positive, productive, and safe outlets for John Carroll University students to engage with the important questions of today’s world.

Counter-Protesting and Rallying
All of the above guidelines on protests and rallying also will govern any counter-protesting and rallying for a viewpoint opposed to the viewpoint being advocated by the student organizers of the protest or rally. Counter protests and rallies are required to avoid actions that physically disrupt or block other protests or speakers.

Fixed Exhibits/Chalking
Fixed exhibits are an important form of expression and the University seeks to streamline the process through which a fixed exhibit may be utilized. Fixed exhibits, because of their nature, must be approved and coordinated with the Office of Student Engagement and in consultation with the Offices of Facilities, Auxiliary Services, and Regulatory Affairs and Risk Management and/or other relevant departments at least five (5) business days prior to being displayed.

To initiate the process, a student or student organization(s) needs to submit a Fixed Exhibits/Chalking request, at least five (5) business days prior to installation of the fixed exhibit, to the Office of Student Engagement using an online form (located at The five day period provides time for a University staff member to meet with the student to discuss the exhibit, its content, placement and duration, the responsibilities of the requesting student(s) in terms of safety and respect for University property, and other logistics. The agreed-upon parameters and boundaries from the meeting will govern the fixed exhibit and must be followed. This subsection governs chalking as well.

Related Policies

Student Organization Political and Campaign Activities Policy

Posting Policy

Speaker Policy

Hate Free Policy

Firearms and other Weapons Policy