Approved by: President
History: Issued               -- March 22, 2017
Revised             --
Last Reviewed -- July 24, 2019
Related Policies: Code of Conduct for Staff and Faculty; Code of Student Conduct; Political Activities Policy; Posting Policy; Presentations Policy
Additional References:
Responsible Official: Associate Vice President for Emergency Management and Public Safety tel. (202) 319-5111


I. Policy Statement

The Catholic University of America values and defends the right of free speech and the freedom of members of the University community to express themselves on University property, provided that such expression does not violate the law or applicable University policies.

Members of the University community must remember that the University is private property. Accordingly, the University reserves the right to limit the time, place and manner of Demonstrations that occur on its private property.

Responsibility for the speech or conduct is assumed by the individual, and the exercise of these rights must not deny the same rights to any other individual or violate the limitations as set forth in this policy.

II. Definitions

A. Demonstration means a public meeting, gathering or activity to express views, disagreement, or support regarding a given subject. Forms of Demonstrations include, but are not limited to marches, parades, protests, picketing, or sit-ins.

III. Policy Requirements

A. Notice to the University

To promote the health and safety of the University community and maintain normal University operations, Demonstrations should be scheduled in advance with the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Organizers of Demonstrations are strongly encouraged to provide the following information to DPS (tel. 202 319-5111) at least 3 days in advance of the planned activity:

  1. Brief description of the Demonstration
  2. Date
  3. Location
  4. Beginning and ending times
  5. Name of sponsoring group
  6. Point of contact (name, e-mail and telephone number)

B. Conduct

Demonstrations shall not be discouraged on University property so long as organizers, speakers or participants do not use force or the threat of force or other means of intimidation, so long as the orderly functions of the University are not obstructed, and so long as the limitations set forth in this policy are respected. Specifically, no action may endanger the safety or security of the University community, infringe upon the rights of other members of the community, obstruct access to University facilities or spaces, damage property, disrupt normal University operations, or otherwise violate applicable laws or University policies.

Unless specifically authorized by the University, persons who are not members of the University community (students, staff or faculty) are not permitted to demonstrate on University property.

C. Signs, Placards and Literature

The use of signs, banners or placards is permissible so long as such use does not endanger the health or safety of others or otherwise violate the limitations set forth in this policy. Such materials may not be affixed to University property, such as buildings, trees, benches or lampposts.

Literature and other printed materials may be distributed, but may not be forced upon others, scattered on the ground, or left unattended on University property such as tables, benches or sidewalks. Posting of any materials must comply with the University's Posting Policy.

D. Directives of University Officials

The directives of University officials must be followed at all times.

The University reserves the right to bar from University property any individual who is not affiliated with the University who is determined to be posing a health or safety risk, violating the law, or violating this or other applicable University policies.

Violations of this policy should be reported to the Department of Public Safety at tel. (202) 319-5111.