Regents’ Statement On Disruptive Behavior
The following is the policy of the Board of Regents regarding disruptive behavior in any institution of the University System. The rights, responsibilities, and prohibitions contained in this Statement are incorporated as part of these regulations.
“The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia reaffirms its policies to support fully freedom of expression by each member of the academic community and to preserve and protect the rights of freedom of its faculty members and students to engage in debate, discussion, peaceful and non-disruptive protest and dissent. The following statement relates specifically to the problem described below. It does not change or in any way infringe upon the Board’s existing policies and practices in support of freedom of expression and action. Rather, it is considered necessary to combat the ultimate effect of irresponsible, disruptive and obstructive actions by students and faculty which tend to destroy academic freedom and the institutional structures through which it operates.
“In recent years a new serious problem has appeared on many college and university campuses in the nation. Some students, faculty members, and others have on occasion engaged in demonstrations, sit-ins, and other activities that have clearly and deliberately interfered with the regular and orderly operation of the institution concerned. Typically, these actions have been the physical occupation of a building or campus area for a protracted period of time or the use of display or verbal or written obscenities involving indecent or disorderly conduct.
“These actions have gone beyond all heretofore recognized bounds of meetings for discussion, persuasion, or even protest in that: (1) acquiescence to demands of the demonstrators is the condition for dispersal, and (2) the reasonable and written directions of institutional officials to disperse have been ignored. Such activities thus have become clearly recognizable as an action of force, operating outside all established channels on the campus, including that for intellectual debate and persuasion which are at the very heart of education.
“The Board of Regents is deeply concerned by this new problem. Under the Constitution of the State of Georgia, under all applicable court rulings, and in keeping with the tradition of higher education in the United States, the Board is ultimately responsible for the orderly operation of the several institutions of the University System and the preservation of academic freedom in these institutions. The Board cannot and will not divest itself of this responsibility.
“Of equal or even greater importance, such action of force as has been described above destroys the very essence of higher education. The essence is found in the unhampered freedom to study, investigate, write, speak, and debate on any aspect or issue of life. This freedom, which reaches its full flowering on college and university campuses, is an essential part of American democracy, comparable to the jury system or electoral process.
“For these reasons and in order to respond directly and specifically to this new problem the Board of Regents stipulates that any student, faculty member, administrator, or employee, acting individually or in concert with others, who clearly obstructs or disrupts, or attempts to obstruct or disrupt any teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary or public service activity, or any other activity authorized to be discharged or help on any campus of the University System of Georgia is considered by the Board to have committed an act of gross irresponsibility and shall be subject to disciplinary procedures, possibly resulting in dismissal or termination of employment.
“The Board reaffirms its belief that all segments of the academic community are under a strong obligation and have a mutual responsibility to protect the campus community from disorderly, disruptive, or obstructive actions which interfere with academic pursuits of teaching, learning, and other campus activities.
“The Board of Regents understands that this policy is consistent with resolutions adopted by the American Association of American Colleges in January, 1968, and by the Executive Committees of the Association for Higher Education in March, 1968, condemning actions taken to disrupt the operations of institutions of higher education” (Minutes, 1968-69, pp. 166, 169).