MU Protest Meeting

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COLUMBIA – The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protests, Public Spaces, Free Speech, and the Press held an open meeting earlier today to discuss how to resolve any future conflicts that may occur on campus.

The meeting was held as a follow up to one that was held on August 30. The council was going over revisions to policies that are aimed at keeping public spaces regulated while protecting the safety of others.

Faculty member Sandy Davidson said, “many of the policies were already in place. Part of the problem was that some of them were rather obscure in terms of not being that easy to find.”

The committee is made up of faculty members as well as MU administrators, a member of the UM System General Counsel’s Office and students.

Bob Jerry, who is chair of the committee mentioned how important it is for there to be public input on these policies.

“Some of the text [seen] on the screen with the red lines were direct results from suggestions we got at the August forum,” Jerry said.

In the meeting, it was made clear that the University will not interfere with peaceful protest so long as they do not interfere with one of the time, place or manner regulations.

The committee also mentioned that unless it is otherwise expressed, the default rule is that expressive activities are allowed anywhere on campus.

After taking the public’s input on some of the policies, it was also mentioned that students will get an email with all the updated campus rules and regulations.

“Certainly, we’ll continue to be completely transparent about our work on an ongoing forward basis,” Jerry said. 

The council also expressed that they understand protesting is meant to disrupt but they hope to use the common understanding of what would be considered a disturbance.

In addition to recommending how public spaces can be regulated on campus while protecting safety, free inquiry, and free expression the committee is also looking to discover how the University can resolve any future conflicts.