Demonstrations FAQ

We are here to help you have a successful event. Do you have questions about coordinating with the University on a protest or demonstration? Then, start here.

Do I have to wait a long time to meet with the Dean of Students about a demonstration?
No, students can come to the Dean of Students' office and the Dean will meet with you within one business day unless you need longer to schedule. It's important to make clear when you arrive that you would like to coordinate with the University on a planned protest or demonstration and staff will ask for some basic information including your contact information and proposed dates and locations for the event.

Do I have to wait a long time for approval?
Nope. Once you meet with us to coordinate, protests may take place as rapidly as two business days. In some cases, the Dean can work with groups on an even more rapid turnaround. It may depend on what else is happening on campus and other factors. The Dean helps make sure everyone's activities and events in the community can happen, even if your protest or demonstration is going on.

What information do I need to have?
Like any other event you are planning, it's best to be as prepared as possible. When you come to the Dean's office, have a pretty clear idea of where, how, and when you want to hold your protest/demonstration as well as the manner in which you will demonstrate (A march? A speak out? A picket?). Since the Dean's job is to coordinate with you on time, place, and manner, these are key factors. The Dean will also need a few other pieces of information, like the point-of-contact, adviser (if applicable), and can also connect you with offices at Fordham who may need to help (Public Safety, Student Involvement for microphones and space reservations, etc.).

I know that what I am protesting/demonstrating about is controversial. Does the Dean have to approve my viewpoint?
No, that's not really the point. A request to use space at Fordham for a protest or a demonstration has never been turned down based on the viewpoint or content of the protesters/demonstration. Generally, the Dean and staff in Student Life coordinate with groups or individuals planning protests/demonstrations on time, place, and manner. Though Fordham's campus is private property, this is quite similar to the way municipalities coordinate with those planning protests in public spaces.

I feel strongly about the issue—why can't I just walk outside and protest?
Remember, we all share this community with others. Those around you may feel just as strongly about their own interests, activities, and pursuits on the campus and a lot could already be scheduled during the time you have chosen (without checking with anyone) to have YOUR activity. Coordinating with the Dean's office assures that you don't inadvertently hinder the plans and activities of others. By working with the Dean of Students and coordinating with the University as you exercise your right to express your viewpoint, you avoid keeping others from exercising THEIR rights to what they are doing on campus: going to class, going to work, delivering items on campus, doing their jobs, etc.—any number of pursuits that (to others) are just as important as yours. The value here is pretty straightforward: in a community, we should never assume that our rights trump those of others.

Protests should be disruptive. I feel that the protest and demonstration I am planning should interfere with the activities of others to attract attention. Is this permitted?
That's tricky. If interference with the activities of others or the business of the University is a goal of your protest/demonstration, it's unlikely to be seen as reasonable by the Dean of Students. Again, others have a right to pursue their goals on campus too. If you proceed anyway, you should be prepared for the consequences of your decision to infringe on the rights of others. There is, of course, a familiar tradition of civil disobedience that runs through protests and demonstrations, but participants in activities like this have hopefully made the conscious and fully-informed decision to be penalized as a result. Philosophically (and because it may actually violate University policy meant to protect others), the Dean of Students is most likely going to be unwilling to grant your protest permission to take rights away from others in our community. This is a good principle to bear in mind as we share our campus and community with one another. Mutual respect is key. If you decide to proceed anyway, you should be prepared for the Dean of Students or the Department of Public Safety to direct that participants in your demonstration/ protest leave the area and to have your event ended.

Of course, any violence or threat of violence, unauthorized entry, and/or damage to property can result in action by the Department of Public Safety and the Dean of Students or other staff to immediately end any demonstration/protest whether coordinated/approved or not. 

Special Note Related to the Ongoing Health Emergency

The University is required by the State of New York to limit the size and conduct of all on-campus and sponsored events to published safety guidelines. Please coordinate with the Dean of Students through this process as caps on attendance and social distance measures may be required. Additional information is available at these links: 

COVID Community Safety Expectations for Students

COVID Guidelines for Student Programming

View the entire Demonstration Policy in the Student Handbook.

Additional questions? Please contact your campus Dean of Students.

Rose Hill: Campbell Hall 124 (off Martyrs’ Court Lawn) | | 718-817-4755

Lincoln Center: 140W Building G33 | | 212-636-6250