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When Can U. Of C. Ban Protesters? Faculty To Vote On New Rules

By Sam Cholke | May 8, 2017 5:39am
 The University of Chicago is updating its policy on when it bans protesters from campus. In 2015, it banned several tramua center protesters who barricaded themselves in a university building. This year it banned a man caught posting racist flyers on campus.
The University of Chicago is updating its policy on when it bans protesters from campus. In 2015, it banned several tramua center protesters who barricaded themselves in a university building. This year it banned a man caught posting racist flyers on campus.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago is holding a public forum Thursday before the faculty senate votes on how people are disciplined for protesting at university events.

Law School Professor Randal Picker, chairman of the university’s committee on university discipline for disruptive conduct, will explain the changes and discuss it with a panel that includes English Professor Ken Warren, a member of the university’s committee on freedom of expression.

The panel will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th St.

The faculty senate is expected to vote May 23 on several changes to the university’s policy on how to handle people who disrupt university events, like protesters.

The policy in the past has been used to ban from campus protesters demanding the university open a trauma center as well as a man caught posting neo-Nazi posters on campus.

The university can ban people from campus for disruptive conduct, which it defines as including “interference with instruction, research, administrative operations, freedom of association and meetings as protected by university regulations, is prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action.”

That definition is unlikely to change during the May 23 vote.

A committee tasked to review the policy is recommending deans-on-call be allowed to pull people from events for being disruptive, the decision of who is banned from campus be centralized and the university go to greater lengths to treat people from the community the same way it treats students, faculty and staff.

During trauma center protests, the university frequently faced criticism from protesters for having people from the community arrested while students protesting would escape arrest to face discipline by the university.

The full set of proposed changes will be discussed by the panel.