Noncooperation, passive resistance, peaceful protest—“Civil Disobedience” has influenced human rights laws around the world since before Henry David Thoreau published his essay in 1849.
Disobedience Day, which is recognized every year in the United States on July 3, exists to inspire the average American to learn more about their rights and responsibilities in this country, specifically how to protest with integrity.
Although freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment, Salt Lake Community College has its own rights and responsibilities, too. This includes, but is not limited to ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment. Thus, the SLCC Student Code of Conduct specifies exactly what is required and expected of any person or group who uses college property for public expression.
“If [protesters] were violating the college’s rules and they did not have permission,” said Lieutenant Jeff Wilson, Utah Highway Patrol officer at SLCC, “they could face a misdemeanor charge depending on what happens.”
Follow these guidelines to legally stand up for what you believe is worth fighting for. Peacefully, that is.
Know what you stand for. Put it down on paper. Permission will be necessary to protest on any campus, so develop a mission statement and frame a request, which will need to include the following:
- Contact information (choose a representative for the group—should be able to effectively communicate the details of the request).
- A detailed agenda or brief description of intended outcome.
- Exact location, dates, times, necessary equipment, fees (if any), purpose of fees and projected attendance.
The Student Center and the Alder Amphitheatre at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, the outside fountain area at the South City Campus and the South Quad at the Jordan Campus are all designated as “free speech areas,” but other locations can be approved by Dr. Marlin Clark, the Dean of Students.
Be timely and cooperative
To obtain authorization from Clark, the Office of Dean of Students is located at the Taylorsville Redwood campus in the Student Center room 276A, submit a request in writing and electronically at least three days prior to the desired date. Work with rather than against Dean of Students. He is there to help you, so help him by responding to his inquiries and counter-requests, within reason of course.
Mind your manners
If a request is denied, do not throw a tantrum. The Office of the Dean of Students must give a reason for the denial and five days for an appeal. Appeal, but do so politely and eloquently.
In the end
The issues at SLCC may not compare to those of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. or Henry David Thoreau, but the point is this: students at SLCC have the same freedoms they have outside of school, but it can only be expressed with permission.