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SEC-039: Protests, Demonstrations, and Other Expressive Activities during Official University Ceremonies and Events held at the Academical Village

Date: 07/20/2016 Status: Final
Last Revised: 03/14/2022
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Applies To:

Academic Division.

Reason for Policy:

The University of Virginia respects and encourages free expressive activity. At the same time, consistent with its educational mission, the University has established reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on such activities on University Grounds to assure that such activities are undertaken in ways that avoid disruption of University operations, and are consistent with its educational, employment, and safety responsibilities to its students, faculty, and staff.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Academical Village:The property bounded by the Rotunda to the north, Hospital Drive to the east, McCormick Road to the west, and including the South Lawn/Homer Flat to the south (thereby including the Rotunda, Lawn and Range rooms, hotels, gardens and pavilions) as noted on the map of the Academical Village.
  • Solicitation:Selling, promoting for the purpose of sales, commercial advertising, canvassing, and/or fundraising.
  • University Grounds:The areas where administrative functions, teaching, and research facilities, as well as athletic and recreational facilities of the University that are used by members of the University community are located.
Policy Statement:

Official University ceremonies and events sponsored by either (1) the Office of Major Events or (2) another University office with the endorsement of the University President and held in the Academical Village always create special challenges for the University because of the great number of activities occurring during that period across University Grounds and the large number of people attending them. Because of this, the University has established the following policy that is specific to these official University ceremonies and events. During these occasions, this policy supersedes all other policies regarding use of University Grounds and facilities to the extent such policies may be inconsistent with this one.

[Note: Use of “ceremonies,” “events,” and “occasions” throughout this policy refer to official University ceremonies and events sponsored by either (1) the Office of Major Events or (2) another University office with the endorsement of the University President.]

  • Attendance at these official ceremonies and events is by invitation only unless otherwise noted. Those in attendance without having been invited or otherwise having been authorized to attend may be asked to leave if their presence creates disruption, impedes movement of invited guests from place to place, or otherwise creates unsafe conditions for participants or invited visitors.

  • Because of the large crowds and multiple venues that are typical of these occasions, activities that otherwise may be consistent with University policy may be impermissible during that period.

  • During official ceremonies and events, items currently approved and authorized to be carried are placards that are not attached to sticks and balloons as long as those placards and balloons are not so large or unwieldy as to obstruct or interfere with the official ceremony or event.

  • Items held or carried must not obscure the view of participants or invited visitors or interfere with these official ceremonies and events.

  • Activities of participants or invited visitors must not interfere with the official ceremony or events.

  • No non-University commercial solicitation will be allowed on University Grounds during these occasions.

  • Protests, demonstrations, and other expressive activities may take place during official University ceremonies and events within the following area of University Grounds: in the area bounded by Alderman Library, Monroe Hall, Peabody Hall, Special Collections Library, and McCormick Road (subject to space needed for emergency medical services). If the official ceremony or event is moved to the John Paul Jones Arena, this policy remains applicable and the designated area is the grassy area on the north side of the McCue Center.

  • Even within this designated area, protests, demonstrations and other expressive activities, including distribution of leaflets or other written materials, may not:
    • Block or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic along streets and sidewalks;
    • Involve placement of tents or other temporary structures;
    • Interfere with or impede official ceremonies, events and activities;
    • Use sound amplification devices; or
    • Violate applicable law or University rules, regulations, or procedures.

Persons Lawfully in Charge:
Ushers and representatives of the offices of the president or vice president and chief student affairs officer are authorized to ask guests to modify behavior in accordance with this policy. In addition to University personnel responsible for the management or supervision of University property and activities, University law-enforcement officers are lawfully in charge of University property for purposes of forbidding entry upon or within or prohibiting remaining upon or within University property in violation of this policy.

Compliance with Policy:
Persons in violation of this policy either will be instructed to bring their activities into compliance with the requirements set forth above or asked to leave. Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies, including but not limited to the University’s Standards of Conduct, if applicable. Any person who violates this policy may be removed and/or prosecuted for trespass, disorderly conduct, or other offenses under law.

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of Major Events or the office sponsoring the University event.

Major Category:
Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Category Cross Reference:
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Policy Review Committee, 07/20/2016
Revision History:

Confirmed 3/14/22; Updated 4/26/19; 8/8/18.