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University policy protects free speech of students, preachers

Cody Finney/ The Arbiter

As classes let out on Thursday, the quad filled with dozens of students congregated around the Business Building to watch the men who were preaching on campus.  Some students listened quietly, while others shouted responses and a few individuals approached the man standing on the small wooden platform.

The quad was also ringed with men and women in uniform ranging from individuals on bikes who are volunteer police on campus, to campus security  and members of the Boise Police Department.

Those in uniform stood behind the crowd, answering student’s questions and maintaining a presence in case further action became necessary as emotions
ran high.

While preaching on campus isn’t a new occurrence, students with opposing view points or low tolerance for being shouted at may take offense. Onlookers have different responses to these campus visitors, but certain reactions could get students in trouble with the university or with
campus police.

Many students expressed discontent with the preachers being on campus, however, Boise State is a state university and is open to the public.

University policy number 1100 states, “Public Areas of the campus may be used by individuals lawfully on the University property for any free expression activities.”

But there are stipulations to free expression. Devices such as megaphones aren’t permitted and classes must not be disrupted—these particular individuals on campus Thursday were well within their rights, as were the students who spoke out in response.

To avoid trouble on campus, students should be aware there are certain acts that could land them in hot water with the university for violating university policy or with the police for violating the law.

Profanity, inciteful language, spitting and acts of violence are not tolerated.

Additionally, behavior that could be interpreted as threatening, which Boise Police Department’s Lt. Tony Plott described as having the apparent means to cause harm, can land individuals in potential legal trouble.

Plott offered the example of an individual standing in close proximity to another person demonstrating the ability to cause harm through proximity and the intent to cause harm through spoken word or physical action. This is considered assault.

Once a person moves from threatening to physical contact the line has been crossed from assault to battery.

About Amy Merrill (0 Articles)
Amy is a senior at Boise State and the current news editor for The Arbiter. She crammed everything she possibly could into a single degree; a dual major in communication and English, a journalism emphasis and a political science minor. She is eager to earn what she calls, "that expensive piece of paper" on May 18, but in the meantime is focused on bringing campus as much news as humanly possible.

1 Comment on University policy protects free speech of students, preachers

  1. Good job AMY!!!! Love and miss you! Love Rocky <3

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