U-M requests feedback on proposed Disruptive Activity Policy


The University of Michigan is seeking feedback from the Ann Arbor campus community on a draft policy designed to address disruptions to university events and operations.

The proposed Disruptive Activity Policy states that “no one has the right to infringe on the exercise of others’ speech and activities by disrupting the normal celebrations, activities, and operations of the University.”

Responses to a feedback survey, which went live March 27, will be accepted from students, faculty and staff members on the Ann Arbor campus until 11:59 p.m. April 3.

The draft policy comes days after demonstrations March 24 significantly disrupted the university’s annual Honors Convocation.

In a March 26 message to the Ann Arbor campus community, President Santa J. Ono described the disruption as “unacceptable” and an “intrusion on one of the university’s most important academic traditions.”

“Like many of you, I am proud of our university’s history of protest. But none of us should be proud of what happened on Sunday,” Ono wrote. “We all must understand that, while protest is valued and protected, disruptions are not. One group’s right to protest does not supersede the right of others to participate in a joyous event.”

Ono also said that the disruption was not in “keeping with our student code and our longstanding policy on freedom of speech and artistic expression.” The Board of Regents reiterated the university’s stance on speech when it voted in January to approve the U-M Principles on Diversity of Thought and Freedom of Expression.

Those principles explained that the university’s commitment to free expression “does not extend to speech or conduct that violates the law or University policy,” and that U-M may reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the university’s ordinary activities.

Under the draft Disruptive Activity Policy, students accused of a violation would receive written notice and, after an opportunity to meet with a U-M official, may accept responsibility and an assigned sanction, or choose to participate in a hearing.

Sanctions would include a formal reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion, according to the draft policy.

Any allegation against a faculty or staff member would follow processes outlined separately, including but not limited to U-M Standard Practice Guide policies 201.96 and 201.12, respectively.

Contractors, volunteers or visitors who violate this policy would also face penalties.



  1. Max Lahn
    on March 27, 2024 at 8:00 pm

    All effective protest is disruptive by its very nature. With this new policy, the university administration betrays its skewed priorities: U-M is far more invested in maintaining the comfort of its “leaders” than in cultivating a campus safe for its Palestinian scholars and workers, or in developing ethical guardrails on the use of university funds.

    University policy shouldn’t be designed to protect the fragile egos of administrators who are embarrassed about the clear disdain their constituents feel for them. This blatant attempt to silence political speech that bigoted administrators view as inconvenient must fail. U-M should rescind this policy immediately and listen to the many students, faculty, and staff on campus demanding an end to our funding of the ongoing genocide in Palestine.

    • Fred Feinberg
      on March 28, 2024 at 7:48 am

      Genuinely curious: would this be your reaction if the protesters’ message had been supportive of the Israeli government? If it’s along the lines of “No, because that’s not anti-genocide”, then it’s not the policy you are against.

      I think Chomsky puts it pretty well: “But it is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy.”

  2. Eli Yazdi
    on March 27, 2024 at 8:44 pm

    A clear, effective, and concise policy to curtail terrorism on campus and allow the university to resume its normal function. Better late than never, and I’m proud to see UMich leading the way when many other universities have caved entirely to these hate groups on their campuses.

  3. Rayann Yassine
    on March 27, 2024 at 9:23 pm

    Policies such as these allow for hate speech to be thrown around and the constitutional right to protest be labeled as hate speech.

  4. Marcela Passos
    on March 27, 2024 at 9:52 pm

    Calling protestors terrorists is inflammatory language and only spreads more hate. The right to protest is one of the few freedoms given to “all Americans” that every person should be able to do, even in a university environment. Punish students for “disruptive” protests silences and oppresses the people that don’t agree university administrators. How can we be proud of a school that demonizes people seeking to enact change, speak for civilians who are facing starvation and genocide, and who refuses to divest from companies providing the ammunition. A policy such as this will only create more friction between students and the university.

  5. Thunder Boldt
    on March 27, 2024 at 9:58 pm

    Definitely a mixed bag as it stands – on one hand, a few vague points definitely raise concerns of potential for inconsistency and discrimination in the application of the policy. On the other, it’s very clear the level of disruption, hate, and borderline intimidation on campus lately cannot continue, and it’s comforting to see the University attempting to do something about that. A step in the right direction, as gathering feedback before implementing gives me hope that the final version will clarify and alleviate the potential issues in this one.

  6. Jennifer Walters-Watson
    on March 27, 2024 at 10:02 pm

    So pleased to see this happening. I was in attendance at this event and was so disappointed to see protestors parade across the stage with signs detracting from the celebration.
    Fortunately in this country everyone has a right to protest. However, there was nothing about this event that was remotely political. If the protestors insisted on protesting they should have done it outside the event.

  7. Silke-Maria Weineck
    on March 27, 2024 at 10:16 pm

    I am sorry for the honors students who were robbed of the opportunity to listen to President Ono’s speechwriter’s musings, more sorry for the fate of UM as it enters its GDR phase, and most sorrowful of all for the parents in Gaza who are pulling their children’s body parts out of the rubble.

  8. Lauren Schandevel
    on March 27, 2024 at 10:26 pm

    With the benefit of hindsight, future Wolverines will look back on this moment and recognize it for what it is: A cruel, cowardly, and deeply shameful chapter in the University’s history.

  9. Shai Revzen
    on March 27, 2024 at 11:31 pm

    “[We] recognize a University’s right to exclude even First Amendment activities that violate reasonable campus rules or substantially interfere with the opportunity of other students to obtain an education.” Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981, US Supreme Court)

    First Amendment rights on college campuses do not extend to the disruption of school operations or the abridgment of the right of other students to obtain their education. While freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy, this freedom does not extend to having the right to threaten other students, or prevent the school from its orderly operation. You have every right to say what you want, but not the right to do whatever you want to make people pay attention to your speech.

  10. Ilyaas Rasheed
    on March 28, 2024 at 1:50 am

    I do not support this bill; this will inherently hinder free speech. If you care about students’ voices then you would never allow this to pass.

  11. Diego Viramontes Vargas
    on March 28, 2024 at 6:35 am

    I do not support this bill, like a previous comment said: the very nature of protests is disruptive because it incites change. This is a step backwards, many steps. Change is always hard, but one would expect that when it’s about humanity it will change- we have seen this to be false. I do not support this bill since I care for the wellbeing of the students.

  12. Fred Feinberg
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:01 am

    Some of these comments are remarkable for their deliberate conflation of “speech” and “disruption”. Nothing in this policy governs WHAT protesters can say, only the degree to which their manner of expressing it disrupts the activities of others. It has zero to do with Palestine or any other particular cause, regardless of the precipitating event that pushed it over the line. If you don’t see the divide between message and action, perhaps you’d like some well-meaning protesters to install themselves in your university-provided office or outside your bedroom window chanting this distinction at you 24/7 because, after all, effective protests are by their nature disruptive, right?

  13. Farah Huq
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:10 am

    Disciplinary action including “suspension or expulsion” for peacefully protesting? This is disgusting.

    Even by publishing this draft policy, you have already silenced so many students — disproportionately students who cannot afford to lose their academic standing and lose a scholarship, students whose housing is tied to their academic standing/ enrollment status, BIPOC students who are already over-policed and experience discrimination when seeking employment / applying to higher education.

    A lot of us will be reluctant to express ourselves even in small ways, if this policy is passed. For just one example, many of us are concerned that students might be reported and investigated for wearing a keffiyeh to classes or university events.

    I am also very concerned about how this policy would be enforced, who would be making decisions about whether an action is considered a “disruption”, the adverse impacts that conducting investigations (in efforts to enforce this policy) would have regardless of their outcome, and the dangerous precedent that this policy would set.

    Speaking of the precedent it would set, consider how might this policy be used the next time graduate student employees go on strike? There are so many ways a policy like this could be weaponized further in so many contexts. I find this absolutely terrifying.

  14. Michael Atzmon
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:43 am

    When the Administration Building was occupied by protesting students in 1966, President Robben Fleming engaged them in a dialogue. He showed true leadership, and Michigan distinguished itself during that period by the absence of campus violence. This policy is grotesque. It follows arrests of protesters and prohibition of a student vote. What did you expect, President Ono and Board of Regents?? You should not repress student protests, whether or not you like their message. It is your responsibility to ensure that students have ways of protesting. Proactively sponsoring an honest dialogue would be a sign of true leadership. Maybe replace this policy with “No person shall prevent student bodies from sponsoring a student vote.”

    • Fred Feinberg
      on March 28, 2024 at 8:08 am

      Hard agree on suppression of voting. That is fundamental to any presumably non-fascist organization. But I’m not sure how any university policy can literally prohibit arrests carried out by police.

      [For the record, I do not support this particular policy. But much of the commentary jumbles up various particularities of this particular policy and whether any policy that balances the right to protest against the right to not be disrupted by a given protest — no matter how righteous — is in principle justified.]

  15. Yuri Gurevich
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:03 am

    Have disruptive ideas, not disruptive behavior.

  16. Bob Harold
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:20 am

    I support this policy, provided that it is not over-used. Protesters must be allowed to protest outside any event, where the participants of the event will, before or after the event, see and hear the protesters, so that their message is communicated. But protesters should not disrupt the event or endanger the participants.

  17. Wendy Benedict
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:31 am

    The policy is, on paper, a great idea to prevent protests from disrupting major events and the general functioning of the University. However, the language is far too broad and open to interpretation. If the protest took place outside of the Honors Convocation would there still be this backlash? Protest is, by its very nature, disruptive, and this policy feels like it’s banning protests without outright stating as much. There needs to be more definition of “disruptive” such as “prevented a planned event from occurring” which seems like what happened here. In most cases, like the shouts at the MLK day opening speech, it’s annoying but did not stop anything. Please go back and more closely define the terms or accept the fact that you are looking to ban all protests.

  18. Tiffani Ihrke
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:37 am

    I am not in support of this bill. By its nature, all forms of protest are disruptive; that is quite literally the whole point. This bill will inherently hinder free speech. If there is any regard for the wellbeing of the students, then the university will never put such a bill in act. I am ashamed to be a University of Michigan graduate because of the way we are handling a present day genocide.

  19. Michael Atzmon
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:37 am

    (Response to F. Feinberg) Dozens of police cars don’t just show up spontaneously at Ruthven. They were called in by UM Administration. Similarly, Schlissel insisted on arresting and prosecuting students who staged a sit-in in the Fleming Building in 2019.

  20. Kirsten Herold
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:39 am

    Whatever one might think of the events at the Sunday Honors Convocation, this policy is overly broad. Basically it boils down to this: We respect your right to free speech. You may protest all you like, as long as we don’t see or hear you.

    I am happy it is only a draft (so far), because this really needs to be reconsidered.

  21. Karthik Ganapathy
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:56 am

    I will happily violate this policy to protest the university’s complicity in the ongoing genocide. Fortunately, professors in my department have a long history of standing up against the university administration: Chandler Davis, who went to prison and was fired for his alleged communist activities, and Louis Karpinski, who protested the University gleefully sending delegates to the 1936 Heidelberg Conference run by the Nazis.


  22. Rebekah Modrak
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:57 am

    I do not support this bill. The drafting of this punitive policy, and the policy itself, does not allow us to thoughtfully and empathetically consider how acts of civil disobedience may be motivated by deep grief and injustice. In times of conflict, good leadership would build opportunities for the expression of protest into ceremonies and, this year, would offer public forum for discussion about divestment with the Regents. Good leadership does not shut down protests or ceremonies.

  23. Fred Feinberg
    on March 28, 2024 at 9:16 am

    (Response to M. Atzmon) Again, I don’t agree with these specific actions on the part of the administration and am not condoning them. But what does this have to do with a *policy* regarding the limits of permissible conduct? At what point does it go too far? I’m asking seriously. So much of this discussion is about what the protestors stand for or who takes what action when, as opposed to whether an organization can enact guidelines that help balance conflicting rights and responsibilities. As essentially every actual society has had to grapple with.

  24. Ruth Tsoffar
    on March 28, 2024 at 9:41 am

    It is now the time to talk, teach, educate, learn to listen to each other, develop the dialogue beyond terrorism and resistance.
    We need to build a new, effective intellectual front against all the other weapon and rhetoric of threat, destruction, and death. A real challenge, and we need to agree on it first.

  25. Milan Seth
    on March 28, 2024 at 10:03 am

    The policy seems to me to be overly broad, and specific penalties, rights and the hearing/appeals process are not adequately described.

  26. Hannah Berasley
    on March 28, 2024 at 11:21 am

    TLDR; I find this overly broad and restrictive. I also noted the difference in language for violators of the policy between the potential firing of staff versus an “assessment” for faculty…

    I understand and support the university’s right to enact Time, Place, and Manner restrictions to protect normal university activity, but the broad strokes of this policy seem overly restrictive and unnecessary. Be more specific about where, when, and how people can or cannot enact their freedoms of speech. Provide resources to help plan events or for community organizers to review. Activism is, by definition, disruptive. If the goal is to protect commencement activities, then specifically state that and provide an alternative platform or resources protestors and organizers.

    We are an educational institution, so use this time to teach. Teach the university community what is and isn’t protected under the first amendment, what time, place, and manner restrictions are and how to navigate them, teach the campus community about the response teams and resources that student life, general counsel, and DPSS have to offer.

  27. Justin Petersmark
    on March 28, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    Didn’t Ono’s office send out an email about being proud of the University’s long history of peaceful protest? I don’t think that including possible punishments like expulsion for peaceful protest indicates anything of the sort.

    It’s true that the University of Michigan has a rich history of peaceful protest, and regardless of opinion that is something to be proud of. There is also a history of quelling peaceful protest – though we must remember these two go hand-in-hand. If one’s protest goes unpunished, did that protest really reach the people it needed to? In some cases, possibly. In this case, however, several orgs have been asking to discuss the issue and share their grievance with Ono and his office. Being denied a satisfactory opportunity for this, the next course of action is to be disruptive and force their grievances to be heard.

  28. Yiwang Chen
    on March 28, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    Regardless of the ongoing event, this policy seems overly broad and are easy to interpret it differently. Give it another couple years, I can see this being misused.

    The whole thing is built under the assumption that the schools is always good and will not over-use the policy in any certain circumstances, which is likely not true.

    Imagine if the school becomes fascist and openly discussing discrimination towards certain race/minority/country in honors convocation, if I don’t misinterpreted, it will still be a violation towards the policy and I might face retaliation for disrupting it?

  29. Joshua Lohrke
    on March 28, 2024 at 1:18 pm

    This is a disgusting and embarrassing policy that makes me wish I was not an alumni of this institution. This university has a long and proud history of protest. Protest is only useful if it is disruptive to the status quo. Banning demonstrations is a violation of free speech and would be a stain on the history of the University of Michigan. I am ashamed

  30. Ben Havens
    on March 28, 2024 at 1:20 pm

    I see no assurance – either in this article or on the survey itself – that “feedback” is anonymous. Given that I was required to sign into my UMICH account to gain access the survey, such assurance would seem to be in order.

  31. Todd Austin
    on March 28, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    As Mark Felt advised, Follow the Money, Folks.

    Every word of this proposed policy is intended to protect against the loss of money – contributions, grants, and so on. This text is incredibly disappointing and sells out the fundamental values of the institution in the name of fear of lost income.

    I struggle to see the difference between Putin crushing dissent in Russia in order to protect his power and money and Ono and the Regents doing the same with this policy. Both seek self-censorship among the masses through the use of direct threats and through the use of individuals who are punished as examples to create a general atmosphere of fear.

    If this policy is implemented, I expect to see a wave of lawsuits against the University in response to its punishment actions. I also expect the University to lose those lawsuits, at great cost to the institution in legal fees and in damaged reputation.

    Think twice. This is not the way.

  32. Kira Edwards
    on March 28, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    “The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor respects, encourages, and defends free speech and free expressive activity as bedrock principles of our academic community” is an opener that could not be met with more contrast than the rest of the policy that follows.

    I understand the need for respect for university occasions and I understand the frustration that probably went into writing this policy – the university is scared of what may escalate during upcoming events, including commencement. But in drafting this broad, far-reaching, and restrictive policy, a message has been sent to all students, staff, and faculty. The message is one of little tolerance.

    “No person without legal authority may prevent or impede the free flow of persons about campus, whether indoors or outdoors, including any pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic”. Where does this particular policy start? Does it start at a threshold of impeding a certain number of persons? Does it start at a threshold of impeding a certain square footage of a pathway? Does it start with intent to impede? Does it start with planned intent to impede? The university intends this to prevent protests blocking pathways, but what about other activities that fall under this? Does crowding a doorway after leaving a lecture count towards impeding flow? Does taking up too much space in a crowded auditorium count towards impeding flow? Does the max exodus of guests leaving a stadium count towards impeding flow? Obviously some of these questions are a stretch, but the draft policy is vague enough to warrant some questions.

    “No person may disrupt the University Operations of UM facilities… or otherwise creating substantive distractions” What exactly falls under these activities? Does it start with intent to disrupt? Can intent even be gauged? What common (and I argue respectful) forms of protest are disallowed under this because they may “obstruct line of sight”, such as standing up and facing backwards silently? What accidental disturbances fall under this broad rule, like a loud belch or cough attack? What normal sporting behaviors like yelling at the opposing team are restricted because they are an athletic event with a “disturbance”? This is entirely too broad and restrictive. The broad nature gives too much room for cherry-picked disciplinary action and unfair categorization by different parties.

    Beyond the specifics, the draft policy goes against the intent of the freedom of speech. While there is historical precedent for universities to limit the freedom of speech, this draft policy is too far reaching in its current form for any fair balance of university oversight and first amendment rights.

    This policy (as written) does NOT “respect”, “encourage”, or “defend” free speech and free expressive activity as claimed in its initial opening statement. A policy that “respects” free speech would provide clear articulation of what “disturbances” are prohibited and what exactly the disciplinary process would be, including detail of the hearing process. A policy that “encourages” free speech and expression would articulate permissible outlets for free speech and manners of conducting oneself to make a voice heard by those unwilling to hear. A policy that “defends” free speech would defend the validity of those who wish to protest, understanding that, quite frankly, for some people, there are bigger issues than ceremonies and celebrations.

    The draft policy needs significant work to be more clear, more just, more fair, more respectful, and more kind. I respect the need to address increased levels of tension at university events, but this draft policy seems shortsighted and incomplete, in my personal opinion.

    Respectfully, I report these sentiments as my own personal beliefs and not as a reflection of my position.

  33. Joey Goodsir
    on March 28, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    As a proud undergraduate senior of this University, I feel compelled to call this out as a completely shameful and discrediting recommendation for an institution that claims to value our community’s proud history of activism! Regardless of your opinion on the cause whose protestors inspired this policy, or your opinion on the strategic choice to do so at Honors Convocation (for what it’s worth, I personally disagreed with that choice and was also disappointed by it) — I’m struggling to understand how anyone who values the American school of thought regarding free speech doesn’t see this policy for what I believe it to be: a vague catch-all rule to selectively suppress the freedom of assembly and petition when it is a “disruption” to the comfort of University administration. Not only does this policy try to uphold the basic cognitive dissonance that one could protest the choices of an institution without being “disruptive” to that same institution on some level, its a scary indication that our leaders are unprepared to face the authentic dissent of their own constituents — a dynamic that, while understandably difficult, is an inherent responsibility to their elected positions.

    To those who think this policy will be a fair and effective means to maintain the sanctity of events like Honors Convocation, I ask: why do you think this policy was inspired NOW, as opposed to during last year’s GEO strike? Speaking humbly from my own student experience, those demonstrations last year were far more blatantly in violation of this proposal (especially the first point) than anything I have experienced this year.

    I beg of administrators and community-members who feel “disrupted” to consider how this policy will undoubtedly do the opposite of their hopeful intentions around it, let alone stifle their ability to stand up for causes they may be more compelled to demonstrate for at some point in the future. The bottom line: the best way to motivate people TO protest is to tell people they can’t.

    I overwhelmingly oppose this policy.

  34. Anne Jackson
    on March 28, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    As a lifelong resident of this community, our university has a rich history of protest that has made positive impacts on the world we live in. I have participated in those protests since the 1960s and will continue for as many years as I have left. It saddens me deeply that the President and Regents would rather silence voices by implementing an overly broad punitive policy rather than engaging in thoughtful dialog. To me this is a telling sign that this institution values money over true education.

  35. Ashraf Al Okkeh
    on March 28, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    I feel like the protesters are losing sight of what they deem as effective protesting and or not. Protesting is supposed to bring attention to your cause or bring people to your team. While the social media and news outlets are busy with covering this war 24/7 there is no one probably who did not hear about this subject. Then what remains is to ask ourselves if these protests are yielding any positive impact by changing the university policy or brining in more supporters.

    I feel the protest at the honor event struck a cord with the University.

  36. William McMillan
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:03 pm

    Civility is dead. Shout and drown out reasoning, respect and meaningful debate. In the end no one is heard. Hate wins.

  37. Jordana Levine
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:14 pm

    Free speech is a cornerstone of our society and should be respected and protected. However, it’s crucial to recognize that there are appropriate times and places for expression. Disrupting university events and traditions, particularly ones aimed at honoring students in a non-political space, undermines the integrity of our community and the values we hold dear. While protest is a fundamental right, it should not impede the rights of others to participate in cherished university activities. It’s essential to establish clear guidelines and consequences to maintain a respectful and inclusive campus environment where all students feel valued and heard.

  38. Eitan Ben Shitrit
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:30 pm

    Freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of our society, deserving of respect and protection. Yet, it’s important to acknowledge that expression should be exercised at suitable times and in appropriate settings. Interrupting university ceremonies and traditions, especially those designed to celebrate students in a neutral setting, detracts from our community’s cohesion and the principles we cherish. Although protesting is an inherent right, it should not obstruct others’ ability to engage in esteemed university events. Establishing explicit rules and repercussions is critical for fostering a campus atmosphere that is respectful, inclusive, and where every student feels appreciated and listened to.

  39. Bryan Hammond
    on March 28, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    This policy would infringe upon free speech and contribute to repression, so no thank you. I would however support a proposal that encourages protections for protesters and free speech. We must be made uncomfortable to see the change that is needed. Let them speak.

  40. Tatiana Calixto
    on March 28, 2024 at 8:15 pm

    What is this?
    Repressing free speech, *and* they have the audacity to ask us to participate by giving them feedback? As to say we all participated?
    This intended policy is a shame and the administration knows it.

  41. Michael Atzmon
    on March 29, 2024 at 10:17 am

    Interesting observation: two comments submitted the evening of 3/28, within 16 minutes of each other, differ from each other only by massive paraphrasing. It is particularly noteworthy that these comments call for following guidelines while seeming to violate the Record’s guidelines (“Posts may be removed for… Duplicative comment by the same user or multiple users”).

  42. Lisa Brennan-Carey
    on March 29, 2024 at 10:35 am

    I don’t understand how, in the same breath, the University can state it supports protests and free speech but only IF it falls within the rules, timing, and convenience of administrative leadership. You are stripping the “free” from speech and snuffing the power out of protest. The policy provides a dangerous precursor for future leadership to abuse power and really put shackles around free speech and protest all together. The only policy that should be in place should be against violence, hostility, and endangerment during protests.

  43. Robert Smith
    on March 29, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    As a Michigan alum, married to an alum, (both “Lifetime” Michigan Alumni Association members) with an alum daughter and a current Michigan student…

    It is long, long past time that Michigan returned to what it is supposed to be – an institution of learning. Not an institution of one-sided indoctrination, but rather a place that teaches critical thinking. A place where students are honestly and fairly exposed to varying positions, enabling them to make fully informed decisions… for themselves. Critical thinking is completely absent when differing opinions are shouted down.

    Censoring differing opinions by disruption is an indication of a weak argument. A position that refuses to stand up to legitimate, fair, and open debate is a failed position. Disruption is the toy of immaturity and bullies. Bullying has no place in respectful society.

    Exposure to varied ideas, perhaps previously unheard ideas, even when those ideas might initially appear uncomfortable, is what enables us to learn and grow. And regardless of the viewpoints we originally held, we might find ourselves enlightened. Is that a bad thing? It seems well worth the risk that we might or might not remain steadfast in our viewpoint.

  44. Alexis Heinz
    on March 29, 2024 at 1:49 pm

    I am not posing an opinion on the matter, simply conveying information that might be helpful for the decision-making process.

    To further explain, I have read the Student Academic Code of Conduct that instructs correct behavior concerning the authenticity of student scholastic work and the prohibition of plagiarism. I have also read the Code of Conduct for members of student groups. (Forgive me if I named these documents incorrectly without verifying the precise word choice online.) I have not yet found a standard Student Code of Conduct for all students irrespective of his or her participation, or lack thereof, in a student group.

    At Cornell University, annually, the university printed and provided a 5.5″ x 8.5″ Campus Handbook that described requisite student behavior. I read the handbook every semester to ensure I was in keeping with the university culture. At UM, this information was harder to ascertain.

  45. Lark-Aeryn Speyer
    on March 29, 2024 at 3:21 pm

    The draft policy appears unnecessary, in light of the 30-year-old SPG 601.01 https://spg.umich.edu/policy/601.01 which the draft policy also references. *If* a new policy is called for (perhaps to, indeed, clarify how penalties are adjudicated and adminstered), it should engage MUCH more directly with SPG 601.01, including reaffirming the guidelines as to what is and isn’t prohibited ‘disruption,’ and should clarify what ‘hole’ in the SPG the new policy is filling.

    601.01 already answers many of the concerns raised in these Comments about the draft policy –
    * “This prohibition against undue interference does not include suppression of the usual range of human reactions commonly displayed by an audience during heated discussions of controversial topics…, so long as such activities are consistent with the continuation of a speech or performance and the communication of its content to the audience. … The standard of “undue interference” must not be invoked lightly, merely to avoid brief interruptions, or to remove distractions or embarrassment. …The University does not, however, have the obligation to insure audience passivity.” (re: Kira Edwards “A policy that ‘respects’ free speech would provide clear articulation of what ‘disturbances’ are prohibited”)
    * “They [these guidelines] apply to settings in which an audience has been assembled for a talk or performance, or in which a talk or performance takes place in a public setting at the University, but do not apply to the classroom.” (re: Joey Goodsir on GEO strike)
    * “The overriding goal of the organizers or University representative during a disruption should be to reestablish … an atmosphere conducive to communication…, and [conducive] to full respect for the rights of all parties.” (re: Lisa B-C, “You are stripping the ‘free’ from speech and snuffing the power out of protest.”)

  46. Nicole King
    on March 29, 2024 at 4:27 pm

    I hope everyone who has commented here with their opinion is actually using the linked form to share these thoughts, and not just hoping the Regents will read these comments and take them to heart. Please take the time to use all available avenues to demonstrate the community feeling about this policy.

  47. Karin Cooney
    on March 29, 2024 at 11:07 pm

    U of M has progressive in it’s methods of delivering education. As an alum, I have been proud of the education that U of M offers. However, the information that is being delivered to me via my own children, students and alum of Michigan, as well as this article is unbelievable. 90% of students on campus do not support this policy. 40% of students will consider leaving this university due to a policy like this. What our are “leaders” not understanding about the students they are “teaching”. Maybe listening to our young people will teach us how to interact with each other. They are more worried about the world they are inheriting and whether they will be able to live in it, rather than support ideas that foster hatred and closed-mindedness. Maybe listening to what they are saying, leaning in and understanding their perspective. Again, I cannot believe this oppressive, punitive policy that tries to extinguish the light that U of M has always tried to ignite.

  48. Yusuf Halabi
    on March 30, 2024 at 2:04 am

    This is a scarily broad and overreaching policy that shouldn’t even be considered. If policies like this were adopting earlier we would never be respected as a university whose student body lead the way for divestment in South Africa by means of disruptive protest.

  49. Grace Gingold
    on March 30, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    “Death to Jews” and “Death to zionists” is not freedom of speech, that’s hate speech and directly incites violence. Why should a student be fearful of their LIFE and SAFETY in a place where they come to learn and grow as an individual?

  50. Mag Grace
    on April 1, 2024 at 9:18 pm

    This proposal is basically thus: We are allowed to have opinions, but the university would prefer that we are quiet, docile, and don’t interfere with israeli donors, who have clearly spent a LOT of money on this.
    I am absolutely certain we shouldn’t be letting the Heritage Foundation draft university policy. This entire proposal looks their vision for the future.

    So, while you claim pride at the university’s history with protesting, you don’t actually want us to do it in any way that other people might have to see, hear, or in any way be inconvenienced by.

    This policy is, frankly, disturbing. It is so broad, and so vague, that it essentially bans any kind of political engagement on campus. It is short and incredibly broad, and vague enough that the university could plausibly apply it to any situation where they wanted to get rid of someone.
    Obviously, this is directly in response to the calls for divestment from Israel and a permanent ceasefire in Palestine.

    In the short term, this will absolutely be used to silence all opposition to israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza. In the long term, this can also be applied to strikes. Sure, we’re allowed to form a union, but they WILL absolutely use this policy to fire us when we need to strike. They are already trying to replace grad students and workers with AI. Do you think this will get better?

    I think it’s time for the University of Michigan to stop trying to silence the voices of those who are not israeli or pro israel. The university has been very quick to call out students and staff for protesting to stop the slaughter, but has been absolute crickets for the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim members of our university community. It wasn’t until December 5 that one of President Ono’s mass newsletters even mentioned Gaza by NAME, and that email was to demonize protesters. You pay lip service by claiming to support “those on both sides” but one side is actively promoted over the other. One side is actively being supported, and one side is having multiple police departments called on them.

    There are students and staff from Palestine at this very school. You are telling them, right now, that their lives, their families, and their homes do not matter. You are saying that their existence is somehow antisemtic.
    Ridiculous. Shameful. Abhorrent.

    Sit. Down. With. The. Protesters.


    Use your words instead of the violence of the state.

    Be a leader instead of the problem.

    You’re a university. You have access to so many resources with which to educate yourselves.
    Figure it out.

  51. Jabeen Hamzavi
    on April 2, 2024 at 9:43 am

    Effective protest is disruptive . Protest is a symptom, and need to treat the root cause of the protest . I disagree with this policy which seeks to punish students of color .

  52. Malik Mossa-Basha
    on April 2, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    It seems public institutions are fixated on restricting free speech including on our college campuses. They support diversity of ethnicity but not a diversity of ideas. This policy will be a disaster for every student ever concerned about criticizing policy or events. The language in this proposal is broad and allows the university the ability to destroy student lives for protesting. Protesting is disruptive and it should be. We protested when I was a student at Michigan and the university was intelligent and open minded enough not to destroy our lives, even if it was disruptive. The university has fallen a long way since then because of poor leadership.

  53. Muhammad Saleh
    on April 2, 2024 at 3:20 pm

    The University of Michigan must immediately revoke any policy, which seeks to stifle political expression under the guise of protecting administrative sensibilities.
    It’s imperative that the university leadership confronts the reality of widespread disapproval from its own community members, rather than attempting to silence it.
    The call from numerous students, faculty, and staff—to halt funding contributing to an occupation that have been terrorizing Palestinians for years—demands urgent attention and action, not evasion.

  54. Shamma Siddiqi
    on April 2, 2024 at 4:44 pm

    The draft policy is too broad and overreaching. It undermines the University’s legacy of activism and transparency while disproportionately harming and silencing marginized minorities on campus. This attempt at curbing disruptions is an attempt to shut down free speech. This Admin is going to tarnish the University’s standing and reputation if it implements this policy.

  55. Deyar Jamil
    on April 2, 2024 at 7:59 pm

    This proposed policy is a blatant attempt to silence free speech and expression when it comes to issues where the Administration wants to appease powerful donors, just like the other prestigious universities whose names have been forever tarnished when they chose to serve donors over students. It is a smear to the good name of our university that will result in lawsuits and more bad press coverage.

    UMich already has a policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities, which has served the student body and administration well for years. The protests currently taking place are not any different from the myriad protests of years past, including the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gulf War, South African Apartheid, etc. The only difference this time is the object of the protests is Israel, which has become a lawless entity as a result of preferential policies implemented by governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities. At every juncture, Israel and its supporters have been lobbying to silence free speech whether by banning TikTok, censoring content on other social media, and most recently outlawing Al Jazeera. It is clear to all watching what the proposed Umich policy is intended to do.

    The 1970 Black Action Movement disrupted the UMich Honors Convocation as part of its efforts to call attention to discriminatory policies with regard to admissions of black students. UMich vehemently objected to the disruption and the entire movement. History has shown us that it was a just cause and that UMich was mistaken in its short-sighted attempts to silence the movement. UMich currently refers to the 1970 Black Action Movement as “arguably the most influential in shaping the university’s diversity efforts and policies.” The protests taking place today are just as important and must not be silenced.

  56. Sydney Ragla
    on April 3, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    Kamala Harris being in Rackham Graduate School last year disrupted my day. It took me over an hour and a half to get to North Campus from my dorm on the hill. This policy will effectively pick and choose what is considered disruptive based on arbitrary beliefs. I echo my peers in the belief that this is an attempt to silent free speech.

  57. Fatima Al-zeheri
    on April 3, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    It’s very disturbing to find a protest very disruptive and must make a policy for it, yet being OK with ethnically cleansing a whole population and funding it too.
    Naturally, when a protest addresses a sensitive issue involving leaders is disturbing, isn’t it?
    How else would leaders keep funding an ongoing GENOCIDE and carry on as usual without silencing voices and maintain widespread ignorance!
    This policy should be revoked.

  58. Dahn Shaulis
    on April 3, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    History, even whitewashed history, will document what universities did in these times, including complicity with genocide. And what is happening in Palestine is a genocide by international standards. Mass killing of civilians and starvation cannot be ignored.

    We should be reminded that the University of Michigan was built on the land of nations that were systematically terrorized and killed. The land was not for the taking. It was not a “gift” as the University of Michigan claims. It was theft–part of a genocide. The University of Michigan also prevented African Americans and women from attending fully for much of its history. Only a portion of this systematic discrimination has been documented.

    To ignore the importance of justice and resistance is saddening. To acknowledge less is not just reactionary, it is morally wrong.




  59. Wahida Abaza
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Vehemently disagree with this policy. As a proud alumnus, I like to think my alma mater encourages independent thinking and free speech. The ability to protest is a right and the idea that the university will ruin a student’s academic career for doing so is ludicrous. Instead of succumbing to external pressure, the university should prioritize academic freedom and protect its students.

  60. Nudrat Hassan
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:02 pm

    It seems that the university is picking and choosing what is disruptive and what is not. Policies like this squash any viewpoints that are contrary to university leadership and donors. So much for free speech. It is very clear that this administration is allowing external factors to impact the university environment.

  61. Fazlur Zahurullah
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    As an alumnus, I must express my profound opposition to this policy. Its introduction at this juncture is not coincidental but a deliberate signal of the University’s intention to suppress and penalize students, staff, and faculty voicing their concerns out of a deep sense of empathy for victims of an ongoing genocide.

    I urge the University to align itself with the right side of history and uphold the values that define Michigan: humanity, decency, and bravery. It is crucial to grant our students and the broader university community the liberty to express themselves freely. More importantly, it is imperative that we listen to their voices, understanding the cumulative effects of our actions—or lack thereof.

    By fostering an environment that values open dialogue and thoughtful consideration of diverse perspectives, we demonstrate our commitment to the principles we stand for. Let us not only preach these values but also practice them, enabling our community to act as a beacon of hope and moral clarity in challenging times.

  62. Rabia Syed
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    Disruption is at the core of every civil liberties movement. Umich cannot preach progress and boast DEI bs, when it doesn’t support current movements of civil rights across the globe. Stop trying to silence students for trying to be on the right side of history.

  63. Asra Hamzavi
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    I strongly oppose this policy. As an alumni, I took pride in the first amendment protections on campus in the 90’s. The culture at Umich allowed us to value differences and see the dignity in others. The current culture seems to be shifting far from that ideal. And the rush for this policy change leads one to question what the motivations and driving forces are. There seems to have been an effort to bypass normative processes in adopting these policies. What is the real long term objective?

    Rather than punishing the first social media generation that is there to learn & grow, teach and guide them. When they thoughtfully & peacefully dissent, spend more time on being curious and less time on censoring and being punitive. These students did not reach this boiling point in a vacuum. Ask yourselves: Did you listen? Did you provide safe spaces to engage in dignified free speech? Or did you muzzle them and expect them to stop being passionate about their legitimate concerns that are shared by the international community? What was wrong with the existing policy?

    Censorship and silencing are the tactics of insecure and weak leadership. I would like to believe that Umich leadership will take this opportunity to learn & grow during these unprecedented times.

    Please begin to provide transparency and demonstrate that there are checks and balances. Show us that outside influences are not the reason these students are paying tuition only to be taught to fear their own institution. Consider the fact that hastily drafting such a policy further undermines trust in the administration, which only adds to the pressures it will inevitably continue to face. Because there is no sustainable way to silence people.

  64. Nishath Hussain
    on April 3, 2024 at 5:48 pm

    I am deeply disappointed in this policy and its broad overreach. It seems to many of us as alumni that the administration is picking and choosing who gets to practice their freedom of speech. Rather then sit down and engage in dialogue, the administration has chosen a punitive approach in dealing with students who are voicing their opinions according to their 1st amendment rights. The administration rather than punishing students needs to focus on protecting & ensuring ALL students are given the right to a fair/safe education on campus.
    The policy is too broad in scope and is circumventing the already policy in place in the student handbook.

  65. Mamnoon Siddiqui
    on April 3, 2024 at 6:26 pm

    I very strongly disagree with this policy being considered. Colleges and universities are places for free thought and exchange of ideas and expressions. Students should be able freely express themselves within legal boundaries without the threat or fear of being harassed or threatened with punitive measures. This is a scarily broad and overreaching policy that shouldn’t even be considered. If policies like this were adopting earlier we would never be respected as a university known for bringing major reforms in public policy.

  66. Henry Gorelick
    on April 3, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    Commenting for my aunt who’s a mother of a student and therefore doesn’t have access to comment:
    “Promoting freedom of speech AND having a policy that allows the University of Michigan to be a respectful community for all students are not mutually exclusive. Laws, rules and regulations exist in this world to prevent anarchy. The behavior at the Honors Convocation was inappropriate and unacceptable, and it would never be tolerated in the workplace. Without a policy in place that requires students to conduct themselves with proper decorum in their community, this behavior becomes acceptable. There must be a forum for debate and differences of opinion as well as designated spaces for peaceful protest, BUT intimidation, disruption and disrespect incite violence and cannot be tolerated.”

  67. Susan Steigerwalt
    on April 4, 2024 at 12:57 pm

    As in 1973 alumni of LSA, and as a 1977 alumni of the university of Michigan medical school, I am appalled at the vague, opaque and draconian rules proposed by President Ono. I participated as a white ally in the black action movement strike. In 1970 activists of the Black Action Movement presented President Fleming with a list of demands, including an increase in black students’ enrollment to 10 percent. Over the ensuing weeks they organized a campus-wide strike; on 20 March they disrupted the Honors Convocation. By the end of March attendance at the College of Literature, Science and Arts was down by 60 percent. The School of Social Work and the Residential College had closed entirely. if we had not participated in this nonviolent, civil disobedience, there would’ve been no effort on the part of the university to increase the number of black men and women who attended the University of Michigan. Any struggle, the civil rights struggle for example and other struggles for justice require the use of nonviolent, civil disobedience and disruption in order for people to pay attention to their cause. The University of Michigan does have a history of students disrupting in order to make change and make the world a better place.
    I am truly appalled, that there is a consideration of policies that will crush not only student protests,, but the protest of others ( GEO, LEO?) . The creation of this now singles out students fighting against genocide in Gaza, caused by Israel, and permitted by the United States, as well as the involvement of the military industrial complex. When I was involved in protests against the Vietnam war, we frequently blocked building entrances and sat in, as well as blocking the function of the ROTC recruiters. This would all have been considered disruptive and we would have faced expulsion.
    This is not a university that will allow interaction of people who disagree. This is dictatorial repression- I completely oppose this policy.
    Susan Steigerwalt, MD,FACP FACC( retired)

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