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Uni of York updates protest guidance to reduce placing protesters under ‘disciplinary action’

This comes after multiple protests on campus this semester


The University of York has recently updated their student protest guidance, a series of guidelines in relation to protests and demonstrations on campus.

The guidance, which outlines the do’s and don’ts to protesting on campus, says the update is an effort to ensure protesters are not “subject to disciplinary action.”

The guidance, which was updated last week, aims to outline behavioural expectations. It says: “The University of York supports students to respectfully share, debate and challenge views and positions on a wide range of issues.

“As part of our legal obligations, we uphold freedom of speech within the law, which may at times include allowing individuals or groups to host events or speakers that others don’t agree with or wish to demonstrate against.”

However, the university has also said it “has a responsibility to maintain a safe, effective, and welcoming environment for all our students, staff and visitors.”

They made clear that there is a student conduct guidance that outlines behavioural expectations. Therefore, “where students engage in misconduct, as outlined in our regulations, they become subject to disciplinary action.”

The uni believes that this updated guidance will “help to ensure that student protests can be best supported to be delivered safely for all members of the university community and the general public, and reduce the likelihood of protesters breaching university regulations and becoming subject to disciplinary action.”

Below are the do’s to arranging and taking part in a protest at the university:

  • Give notice of the protest to the University of York Campus Safety team via campus-safety@york.ac.uk
  • Seek in advance and follow any safety, security, and location advice given to you by university and Students’ Union staff and representatives
  • Clearly communicate information about the protest to the participants, including any relevant university guidance
  • Be aware that by taking part in a protest on campus, your image could be shared in the media, or via social media, this could include anything you share to your personal social media accounts that aren’t set to private
  • Make sure that you clear away any litter when the protest has ended and leave the area as you found it

The following points are the don’ts to arranging and taking part in a protest at the university:

  • Prevent speakers from talking, people from attending, or doing anything that is designed to prevent the event taking place
  • Use intimidating, abusive or threatening language via communications, placards, banners, posters, or other means
  • Prevent any teaching or university business from taking place
  • Intentionally or carelessly damage any university or other property as part of your protest
  • Attach posters or banners to university property without permission
  • Undertake any other activities that break the UK law

This update appears to follow a string or protests on University of York campus this semester, including student campaigners from Plant Based Unis dropping banners and letting of flares from Central Hall, and a protest organised by York STAR over the presence of weapon companies at the Uni’s careers fair on Wednesday 11th October.

Additionally, the past few weeks saw universities around the country being hit by Just Stop Oil, resulting in a national debate about the right to protest.

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