Skip Navigation. Skip to content
University Policies
Back to Home page

Guidelines on Demonstrations and Leafletting

General Provisions:

  1. The University of Maryland supports the right of individual students, faculty, staff and student organizations to demonstrate and leaflet, provided such activities do not disrupt normal activities or infringe upon the rights of others. Except as authorized in section II of VI-4.10(A) University of Maryland Procedures for Use of Physical Facilities, persons who are not members of the University student body, faculty or staff may participate only upon the invitation of a bona fide student, faculty or staff member engaged in such activity. 
  2. The University will not condone behavior that violates the freedom of speech, choice, assembly, or movement of other individuals or organizations. In short, responsible dissent carries with it a sensitivity for the civil rights of others.  
  3. Accordingly, the University will take whatever steps it deems necessary to: protect the right of any individual or organization to demonstrate and publicly proclaim any view, however unpopular; and protect the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement of any individual or group that is the object of the demonstration.
  4. The following guidelines apply to all demonstrations, rallies, leafletting and/or equivalent activity:
    • Persons may not block or otherwise interfere with the free flow of vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic. The right of way on streets and sidewalks must be maintained.
    • Persons may not block or otherwise interfere with ingress and egress into and out of campus buildings.
    • Persons shall not obstruct, disrupt, interrupt or attempt to force the cancellation of any event or activity sponsored by the University or by any users authorized to use University facilities.
    • Persons shall not engage in harassing, physically abusive, threatening or intimidating conduct toward any person.
    • Persons shall comply with the directions of a University official acting in the performance of his or her duty.
    • Classes or other scheduled activities shall not be disrupted.
    • Use of public address systems and amplified sound will not be permitted without prior approval from the Office of Campus Reservations.
    • Where an invited speaker is the object of protest, persons may demonstrate and/or leaflet outside the building where the speech is taking place. Persons who wish to enter the building must do so as members of the audience and must give the speaker a respectful hearing. Failure to grant the speaker a respectful hearing may result in the offending persons being asked to leave. Signs, placards or similar paraphernalia associated with a demonstration will not be carried into the building.
    • The safety and well-being of members of the campus community collectively and individually must be protected at all times. The University maintains the right to define the time, place and manner in which activities occur on campus. The Office of Campus Reservations will identify appropriate spaces for planned and spontaneous demonstrations.
    • University property must be protected at all times.
    • In accordance with Maryland Annotated Code, Section 26-102 of the Education Article, persons on University property may be required to provide identification and evidence of qualification to a University official upon request. Evidence of qualification means evidence that the person is a bona fide, currently registered student, staff or faculty member at the institution or has lawful activity to pursue at the University.
  5. Persons engaging in activities on University property are subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures.
  6. Student organizations sponsoring or organizing demonstrations, rallies, leafletting or equivalent activities will be held responsible for compliance with this policy. Student organization sponsorship in no way relieves participating individuals of responsibility for their conduct. Each individual participating in a demonstration or equivalent activities, whether sponsored or not, is accountable for compliance with the provisions of this policy as well as the Code of Student Conduct. Complaints of violation of this policy may be grounds for disciplinary action against both individuals and/or the sponsoring or participating student organizations and their officers. 
  7. Although persons who are not members of the University student body, faculty or staff may participate in demonstrations, rallies, leafletting or equivalent activities upon invitation by a bona fide student, faculty or staff member engaged in such activity, all non-University participants are obligated to the terms of this policy. Persons who invite non-University participants may be held accountable for such participants¹ compliance with this policy. In addition, since non-University participants are not subject to University discipline procedures, their failure to comply with this policy may result in appropriate action under State and Federal law. 

Special Guidelines for Scheduled Demonstrations

  1. Recognized University organizations, full or part-time students and current employees of the University who wish to schedule a demonstration, rally or equivalent activity, may request the space through the regular reservation procedure. Any such request must be made no less than one business day in advance of the activity. The Office of Campus Reservations will respond promptly to any reservation request. In the event a request is denied, an appeal may be made to the Vice President for Student Affairs who shall respond promptly to any such appeal. Demonstrations will be permitted at the following locations, unless another University department or organization has previously reserved the space: 
    • McKeldin Mall
    • Engineering Field
    • South Chapel Field
    • Hornbake Plaza
    • Stamp Student Union (South East Plaza)
    • Nyumburu Amphitheatre
  2. Demonstrations may be held at other locations on campus with the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs on a first-come, first-serve basis after an assessment that such demonstrations will not otherwise interfere with scheduled University use or fail to comply with the guidelines applicable to all demonstrations.

Special Guidelines for Unscheduled Demonstrations

  1. It is the intent of this policy to ensure that all demonstrations on campus occur with minimal threat to the safety and security of persons or facilities through proper planning and scheduling. Occasionally, events occur which demand immediate public outcry, and it is not the intent of this policy to limit students? rights to protest such events.
  2. Unscheduled demonstrations, rallies, or equivalent activities may be held by recognized University organizations, full or part-time students, and current employees of the University in the areas defined above provided that the activity does not interfere with any functions for which that space has been reserved in advance.
  3. However, it is inappropriate for events that have been planned to circumvent the policies by claiming to be spontaneous. In deciding whether a demonstration is spontaneous or planned, the University may consider any relevant evidence, including (a) whether signs or placards used at the demonstration were commercially produced, (b) whether participants used amplification equipment, (c) whether security was alerted, or media contacted, substantially in advance of the demonstration, or (d) whether other circumstances demonstrate advance planning by one or more organizations.

Special Guidelines for Small Demonstrations

  1. Demonstrations or equivalent activities by ten (10) or fewer students, faculty or staff may occur at any outdoor area without advance reservation. Except with respect to location, such demonstrations are subject to the same policy guidelines applicable to larger demonstrations. Accordingly, the University encourages all persons planning a demonstration or equivalent activity to call or visit the Office of Campus Reservations to discuss those policy guidelines and how they might apply to the demonstration being planned.

Special Guidelines for Leafletting

  1. University students, faculty and staff may distribute, without registration or advance approval, non-commercial announcements, statements or materials in any outdoor area of the campus, the use of which is not otherwise restricted or scheduled. Persons distributing such materials are expected to refrain from littering and may be held responsible for costs incurred as a result of littering. "Distribution" is defined as individuals handing materials to other individuals who may accept them or refrain from receiving them. Leaving materials unattended on a surface to be picked up is considered littering, not distribution. For purposes of this provision, announcement, statements or materials pertaining to the sale of goods or services authorized by the University administration are considered "non-commercial".

Special Guidelines for Parades

  1. Demonstrations in the form of parades on streets may be conducted with the specific approval of route and time. Approval must be secured 48 business hours in advance of the event from the University Police Department. Application is made through the Office of Campus Reservations.