After months of debate on how to best modify Loyola’s current demonstration policy, the university announced on Feb. 23 a proposed revision that takes into account many of the concerns raised by students and faculty.
The newly proposed policy would allow students to demonstrate without notice, anywhere in outdoor, on-campus areas, and in the Damen Student Center and Terry Student Center. Protesters may also use amplified sound, as long as it is not “substantially” disruptive to class. Demonstrations may not be held during finals weeks.
The administration will gather feedback about the new policy until March 15. After the feedback period, the policy will be finalized.
This new policy proposal comes after a moratorium was placed on most of the old policy on Dec. 8. Since then, students, faculty and staff have provided input to the administration regarding a new policy, according to an email sent by Interim President John Pelissero on Feb. 23.
The demonstration policy at Loyola has been a contentious issue for the past few years, and students have been fighting to have it repealed. Until this point, however, the administration has been hesitant to make changes.
Originally, protesters had to make a request to demonstrate at least 10 days before the proposed protest. The university then had to approve the demonstration. Students were only allowed to demonstrate in the Damen Student Center and the Terry Student Center.
In February 2015, the number of days of advanced notice required was shortened to 3, The PHOENIX reported. Students were still only able to demonstrate in the Damen and Terry student centers.
In September 2015, demonstration areas were expanded to include the Damen North Lawn, The PHOENIX reported. Additionally, students could demonstrate on the North Lawn without advance notice to the university, though the space would still have to be formally reserved through the campus reservation system.
However, student organizations repeatedly violated the policy and had disciplinary charges leveled against them from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. All charges were ultimately dropped.