The University strongly supports the constitutionally guaranteed rights of members of the University community as well as visitors to engage in discussion, debate and protest.  The free and open exchange of ideas and perspectives is essential to a healthy democracy and a foundational element of any academic community.

At the same time, courts and society have recognized that expressive activity can be subject to limited, content-neutral restrictions when necessary to protect the rights, interests and safety of individuals and the public at large.

Like every university, Berkeley has its own carefully defined “time, place and manner rules” and other regulations governing individuals’ conduct on campus. These apply to students, staff, faculty, and visitors. See Time, Place and MannerBerkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct; Workplace Violence Prevention; Faculty Code of Conduct; Conduct of Non-Affiliates.)

These rules and regulations are designed to prevent substantial disruption of the University’s educational and other critical activities, protect lawful access to University programs and facilities, avoid unsafe behavior, and prevent the destruction of property. Their application does not vary according to the cause or content of a particular protest, speech or other form of expression, and the rules and regulations are designed to enable extensive opportunity for expressive activity. 

The University's rules cannot be effective and protect the members of its community unless individuals who violate them face potential consequences, either through campus disciplinary action or even criminal sanctions, for doing so. The University recognizes, however, that not all violations are equally serious, and that not all violations warrant an identical response. Therefore, in general, the University will tailor its response to the harm or potential for injury resulting from the violation in question. Thus, in the event that “time, place and manner” rules and/or other campus regulations are violated, the University administration will decide on an appropriate course of action after examining the context by asking the following:

To what extent did….

  • the violation entail a substantial risk of or result in personal injury or property damage?
  • the violation involve serious criminal activity, such as physical assault, breaking and entering, vandalism or theft?
  • the violation involve conduct that a reasonable person would perceive as threatening or intimidating?
  • the violation disrupt or obstruct legitimate activities, including matters of academic freedom, of students, faculty, or staff or with their access to University facilities, resources, programs or educational opportunities?
  • the violation involve an intrusion into any individual’s personal living or work space or violate individual privacy?
  • the violation disrupt or obstruct University operations?
  • the violator intend or have reason to know that the violation would result in adverse consequences to individuals, property, or University operations?
  • the violator ignore reasonable requests by University officials to cease the violation?
  • the violator engage in repeated violations of University rules of conduct?

These principles and guidelines are intended to foster and sustain the conditions necessary for the free and lawful expression of ideas in the context of a diverse academic community. They were designed to be applied without regard for the perspectives or positions at the heart of a particular discussion, debate or protest. The University is, and will remain, committed to ensuring that every member of its community feels safe, welcome and respected.