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Student Handbook

Other Policies and Procedures

Freedom of Expression/Maintenance of Public Order at Hamilton College

In compliance with the provision of Article 129a of the Education Law of New York State as added by Chapter 191 of the Laws of 1969, Hamilton College submitted the following statements of procedure to be used for the maintenance of public order on its campus and other college property used for educational purposes.

December of 1967, the faculty of Hamilton College adopted the following statement of freedom of expression:

"Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of those goals to which Hamilton College is dedicated. All members of the college community should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, to express opinions, and to question but not suppress the opinions of others. Because of its commitment to free discussion, the faculty states that actions by individuals or groups to prevent speakers invited to the campus from speaking, to disrupt the operation of the institution, or to restrain others by physical force cannot be tolerated. In short, the right to protest the expression of opinion and the right to express opinion are mutually dependent."

Based on the above, the College would stress that it has not only protected, but has encouraged controversy and indulged dissent, whether by students, faculty members or visitors. This has applied to all forms of vocal demonstrations, protests and criticism, whether directed at national or local policy or at Hamilton. The College further stresses that it deplores the use of violence, and it will make every effort to prevent violence.

Hamilton College has a system of rules, regulations and procedures which have proven effective. These are published annually here and in the Faculty Handbook. It now adds to these rules the following procedures for the maintenance of public order on its campus and other College property used for educational purposes. Such public order shall be that deemed appropriate to a college campus and, more particularly, to the campus of Hamilton College.

We recognize that in matters of this sort in particular, full and prompt communication among all components of our College community is highly desirable, and that to the extent time and circumstances permit, such communication should precede the exercise of the authority, discretion and responsibilities granted and imposed in the following rules, regulations and procedures:

  1. These rules, regulations and procedures shall apply as appropriate at all times to all persons (students, faculty, staff, visitors, invitees, licensees and trespassers) on the campus or other College property used for educational purposes, and this includes not only those persons associated with the regular academic sessions of the College, but also those present for special programs, such as are held during the summer. All of the participants in such special programs, other than members of the Hamilton faculty and staff, shall be deemed invitees.
  2. All disruptions of public order shall be dealt with by the College authorities according to the established system of rules, regulations, and procedures as supplemented herein.
  3. Disruptions of public order include the following without limitation thereto:
    1. physical possession of a building which denies the right of authorized persons to enter and to work in it;
    2. violence or threats that unduly restrict the movements or activity of authorized personnel;
    3. destruction of College property;
    4. undue noise or other interference which disrupts the carrying out of an academic or noncurricular activity of the College;
    5. any other gross misconduct which interferes with proper activities of the College.
  4. When, in the judgment of the president or her agent, who has been specifically designated by her for the purpose, the normal procedures have failed to maintain proper order, she or her designated agent shall put the following into effect:
    1. if she deems that extreme circumstances exist, the president or her designated agent shall summon the appropriate law enforcement agency or agencies to quell the disrupters and eject them from the campus. This is an extreme measure to be used only in the event of grave emergency;
    2. if she deems the disruption not such as to require the intervention of a law enforcement agency, the president or her agent shall offer a specific invitation to meet with the disrupters at some stated place and time in the immediate future for the purpose of constructive discussion which may continue without limit provided there is no interference with the conduct of any College activity or access to any College-controlled facility;
    3. if this invitation is not accepted, or if after such time as the president or his agent deems reasonable under the circumstances there shall have been no sufficient progress, the following steps shall be taken:
      1. the College campus shall be declared closed to outsiders without legitimate business on the campus. Violators shall be liable to treatment as trespassers;
      2. the president or her designated agent shall declare the disrupted area off-limits to all students, faculty, staff members and other College personnel, except those designated by the president or her agent to enter it, as well as to all visitors, invitees and licensees;
      3. the president or her agent shall warn the disrupters that unless the disruption ends by a specified time, a court injunction seeking their immediate ejection from the campus will be sought;
      4. if the disruption persists, the president or her agent shall apply forthwith to a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction and temporary restraining order requiring the disrupters to cease their disruption or be ejected from the campus, subject to whatever penalties the court may impose;
      5. if the court order must finally be served, those disrupters affected by the order, whether they are students, faculty, staff or other employees of Hamilton, or others, will be subject to applicable judicial procedures.
  5. Any action or situation occurring on the Hamilton College campus or on other College property used for educational purposes, which recklessly or intentionally endangers mental or physical health or involves the forced consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into, or affiliation with, any organization, is prohibited. This prohibition shall:
    1. apply to students, faculty and staff, as well as to visitors and other licensees, invitees and trespassers on the College's property described above, and
    2. be deemed to be part of the by-laws of all organizations operating on such College property. Each organization operating on such College property must review annually such by-laws with individuals affiliated with it.
  6. Notwithstanding the pendency or termination of criminal or civil proceedings with reference to the same conduct, by independent or parallel action the College may bring students, faculty, staff and other members of the community before appropriate collegiate bodies for such actions as individual cases may warrant.
  7. Penalties for violations of the provisions of these rules, regulations, and procedures (which penalties shall be in addition to any penalty provided for in the New York State penal law or any other New York or federal law to which a violator may be subject) shall include the following:
    1. violators who are neither students nor members of the faculty or staff shall be subject to ejection from such College property;
    2. for students the procedures shall be those set forth under "Student Discipline," and may result in disciplinary action of the most severe kind, including suspension or expulsion;
    3. for faculty the procedures shall be those set forth in the applicable Faculty Handbook, including the procedures recommended by the Association of American University Professors and agreed to by the College, and may likewise result in suspension or dismissal from the College;
    4. for staff and other employees of the College, normal procedures appropriate to the determination of their rights and responsibilities shall be followed, and may also result in suspension or dismissal;
    5. any organization which authorizes conduct prohibited by these rules, regulations and procedures shall be subject to the revision of its permission to operate on such College property.

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