Managing Controversial Speakers on College Campuses

UC Berkeley Commission Issues Report on Controversial Events

At all three Campus Safety Conferences (CSC) this summer, Vivian Marinelli, who is senior director of crisis management services at FEI, led an in-depth discussion on protests and controversial speakers on and near U.S. college campuses. CSC attendees from around the nation shared their struggles, as well as some solutions that have worked for them in maintaining law and order before, during and after an event.

The following article is a summary of their comments and suggestions (none of the individuals who commented or participated are identified).

Please note that this is not legal advice. Before your department makes any changes or adopts any new policies, be sure to check with legal counsel. Every campus is different, and every state has its own laws. Be sure that what your institution implements meets all legal and ethical requirements.

The summary specifically covers:

  • The identities of the controversial groups involved
  • What steps to take when an event request is received
  • Hosting alternative events
  • Event security and safety planning
  • Time and place considerations
  • Working with other first responders
  • Crowd monitoring and control
  • Managing the media and the influx of calls

Because this information is sensitive in nature, CS is only releasing it to college and university police chiefs, security directors, emergency managers and high-level administrators who we personally vet.

If you wish to receive this document, please email CS Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley at [email protected] with your bio, email address and phone number. The subject line of the message should be “Managing Controversial Speakers.”

We reserve the right to deny requests.

Photo iStock.

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