Fordham University United Student Government Commission on Speech and Expression Maroon Square Report by thefire




                   MAROON SQUARE REPORT


                         TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Commission On Speech & Expression………... ………………………………………3

Georgetown University Preamble……………………………………………………………4

The Current Demonstration Policy of Fordham University………………………………6

Specific Causes for Concern…………………………………………………………………..8



Faculty Support………………………………………………………………………………..14

Model Policies and Practices For Consideration……………………………………...…..15

Peer & Aspirant Conversations……………………………………………………………...17

Foundation For Individual Rights In Education (F.I.R.E.) Rankings…………………..18

Free Speech As A Jesuit Ideal……………………………………………...………………...18

The Solution—Maroon Square……………………………………………………………...19



Proposed Locations……………………………………………………………………………22

Concluding Thoughts………………………………………………………………………...26

                            Fordham University
                     UNITED STUDENT GOVERNMENT

                               Maroon Square Report

The Commission on Speech & Expression:

The United Student Government Commission on Speech & Expression (USG-CSE) was
established during the 2008-2009 academic year, in response to the divisive issue of
limited on-campus expression at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus. The USG-
CSE is charged with the task of addressing students’ needs with specific regard to the
right of free and open expression on campus. In contrast to attempts by previous
student organizations and administrators, the work of the USG-CSE has been detailed,
focused, and conducted in the spirit of cooperation with—not direct opposition to—the
Fordham University administration, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of
Student Leadership & Community Development.

The USG Commission on Speech & Expression has met regularly throughout the 2008-
2009 academic year and consists of the following members:

John Tully Gordon-Chairman ________________________________________________

Ian Gaylets-Vice Chairman ___________________________________________________

Michael Recca-Commissioner_________________________________________________

Creighton Muscato-Commissioner _____________________________________________

Michelle Avila-Commissioner _________________________________________________

Georgetown University Preamble:

The following is the preamble of Georgetown University’s policy guiding free
speech and expression. The Commission has been in contact with Reverend James
Walsh, S.J. who authored this statement and recommended that the same sentiment
be conveyed through our efforts in the hope of establishing a designated space on
campus for student demonstration, modeled after our aspirant Jesuit institution,
Georgetown Univeristy.

In January 1989, the following guidelines on speech and expression for the Main
Campus of Georgetown University were implemented. They were developed by the
Committee on Speech and Expression and presented to the University community after
widespread consultation with faculty, students and administrators. The Committee on
Speech and Expression, composed of four faculty members and four undergraduate
students, is a standing committee that advises the Vice President for Student Affairs on
matters relating to speech and expression. The Vice President for Student Affairs is
responsible for administering these guidelines.

The policy guiding speech and expression is intended to ensure the "untrammeled
expression of ideas and information." Reverend James Walsh, S.J., wrote the following
statement to provide an appropriate context for understanding the policy:

“The following policy on free speech and expression derives from a certain
understanding of what a university is and of what Georgetown University is. I will
attempt to articulate that understanding.

1. The nature of a university. A university is many things but central to its being is
discourse, discussion, debate: the untrammeled expression of ideas and information.
This discourse is carried on communally: we all speak and we all listen. Ideally,
discourse is open and candid and also-ideally-is characterized by courtesy, mutual
reverence and even charity.

2. The university teaches by being what it is. What the university takes seriously as an
institution imparts (to its students especially but not exclusively) important lessons. The
fundamental lesson it imparts-just by being what it is-has to do with the nature of the
intellectual life. Rigor of thought and care in research; the willingness to address any
question whatever; the habit of self-critical awareness of one's own biases and
presupposition; reverence for fellow members of the university community and
openness to their ideas, which is reductively a concern for the truth itself-the list could
be prolonged. These habits of mind and attitude have a powerfully shaping influence
on all members of the academic community. A university that sends contrary "signals"
to any of its members (as, obviously, by tolerating plagiarism, violence, intellectual

shoddiness, or any sort of special pleading in the interest of ideology or vested interest)
betrays its mission.

3. "Free speech" is central to the life of the university. The category "free speech"
suggests another realm of life and argument, that of American constitutional law.
Indeed, members of a university community exercise "dual citizenship": we are
academics and we are Americans. The rights and obligations that flow from our
participation in each of the two orders--academic and constitutional--are not reducible
to those of either one, nor superseded by one or the other, but neither are they in
conflict. At the same time, the body of legal principles elaborated from the First
Amendment is usefully applied to particular problems. For example, "free speech", in
the constitutional sense, may be limited by, and only by, reasonable and non
discriminatory considerations of "time, place and manner." These legal categories are
most helpful in resolving the problem of how to reconcile the absolute openness of
expression proper to a university with other considerations: numbers of people,
multiplicity of activities, scheduling, space available and so on. The long and short of
the matter is that "time, place and manner" are the only norms allowable in governing
the expression of ideas and sharing of information that is the very life of the university.

4. More is better. Discourse is central to the life of the university. To forbid or limit
discourse contradicts everything the university stands for. This conviction proceeds
from several assumptions. Besides those sketched above, there is the assumption that
the exchange of ideas will lead to clarity, mutual understanding, the tempering of harsh
and extreme positions, the softening of hardened positions and ultimately the
attainment of truth. Some ideas, simply by being expressed, sink without a trace; others
cry out for the intervention of reflection, contrary evidence, probing questions. None of
that happens when one cuts off discourse. John Henry Newman's formulation applies
here: "flagrant evils cure themselves by being flagrant." The remedy for silly or extreme
or offensive ideas is not less free speech but more.

5. The tradition of Georgetown University demands that we live up to these ideals. In
this whole question, matters of history and of convictions central to the Catholic and
Jesuit tradition come into play. The historical precedent of the medieval Catholic
university, with its lively practice of the "disputation," and its role in the formulation,
clarification and development of doctrine, the Catholic teaching that between faith and
reason there can be no fundamental conflict, the Catholic teaching about the autonomy
of reason, certain Jesuit principles about putting the most favorable construction on
your neighbor's argument and especially about reverence for conscience; the vision of
our founder, John Carroll, of a "…general and equal toleration, . . . giving a free
circulation to fair argument," and of an Academy that would be the "first in character &
merit in America"-these and many other fundamentals of the tradition in which
Georgetown stands prohibit any limitation upon discourse. Georgetown's identification

with the Catholic and Jesuit tradition, far from limiting or compromising the ideal of
free discourse, requires that we live up to that ideal.

6. Violation of these principles, by whatever parties, must have consequences. This is a
corollary of the principles themselves and necessary to vindicate the nature of the
University itself. The offenses envisioned in the following policy amount to cutting off
discourse. Making it impossible for others to speak or be heard or seen, or in any way
obstructing the free exchange of ideas, is an attack on the core principles the University
lives by and may not be tolerated.”

Rev. James Walsh, S.J., Department of Theology

The Current Demonstration Policy of Fordham University:

Demonstration Policy:

Policy on Dissent

By its very nature, the University is a place where ideas and opinions are formulated and
exchanged. Each member of the University has a right to freely express his or her positions and
to work for their acceptance whether he/she assents to or dissents from existing situations in the
University or society.

To insure that freedom is maintained, expressions of assent or dissent cannot be permitted to
infringe on the rights of the members of the University community or the community itself - not
only their freedom to express positions, but their freedom to engage in other legitimate activities.
Actual or threatened coercion or violence are abhorrent in a University because they can
destroy those rights and freedoms which are necessary for the existence of the University.

Policy Governing Picketing and Other Demonstrations
Picketing and other demonstrations are sanctioned forms of freedom of speech unless

1. Gather in such a fashion as to physically hinder entrances to, exits from, or passage ways
within any University building or other structure, or hinder the normal flow of pedestrian or
vehicular traffic on or to the campus.
2. Create a volume of noise that prevents members of the University from carrying on their
normal activities.
3. Employ force or violence, or constitute an immediate threat of force or violence, against
persons or property.
4. Congregate, or assemble within any University building or on University property in such a
fashion as to disrupt the University’s normal functions or violate the following rules:
   a. No group may be admitted into a private office unless invited, and then not in excess of
the number designated or invited by the occupant. Passage through reception areas leading to
a private office must not be obstructed.
    b. Corridors, stairways, doorways, and building entrances may not be blocked or obstructed
in violation of the regulations of the New York City Fire Department or of the University. Clear
and unimpeded passageways must be maintained at all times.
    c. Space may be occupied only when assigned through established University procedures.
    d. Any noise which interferes with the work or study of persons in a building will not be
    e. Buildings must be cleared at normal closing time for each building unless other
arrangements are approved in advance.
5. Fail to fulfill the responsibilities of those organizing and participating as outlined

Responsibilities of those Organizing and Participating in Picketing and Other
Demonstration Events Organizers and participants must follow these guidelines in planning and
conducting pickets and other demonstration events:

1. The University Code of Conduct, Office of Residential Life Policies and Procedures and/or
other administrative rules and regulations must be observed at all times in the planning and
conduct of any event. This includes adherence to current university procedures for the
reservation and use of space.
2. A member of the Fordham University community must be designated Organizer/Liaison for
the event. This person is responsible to meet with the Dean of Students and University Security
a reasonable period in advance and in no event less than 48 hours prior to the event. If the
Organizer/Liaison is planning the event on behalf of a recognized club or organization, the
advisor to the club or organization should attend this meeting as well. At this meeting, a suitable
location for the picketing and other demonstration may be chosen.
3. The Organizer/Liaison is responsible to communicate the parameters that have been set for
the event by the Dean of Students and University Security to all participants prior to the event to
take reasonable measures to insure the safety of participants and will act as the primary liaison
with the Dean of Students and/or Security during the event itself.

Procedures for Responding to Obstructive or Disruptive Demonstrations
1. The Dean of the college or the official responsible for the specific building area affected
should summon the Dean of Students and the University Security Office to the scene.
2. The Dean of Students, in consultation with the Dean of the college or the official responsible
for the specific building or area affected, will determine the point at which the normal operations
of the specific building or area are disrupted.
3. If it is decided that the demonstration is disruptive or obstructive, the Dean of Students will
take the following steps:
   a. Inform the demonstrators that their actions are disrupting the normal process of the area in
question and that they should cease and desist their activities. The demonstrators will also be
informed specifically how they may continue their demonstration in a manner which is not
disruptive or obstructive.
   b. If the demonstrators fail to respond to the request to cease and desist their activities or if
they fail to modify them in such a manner as to permit the undisturbed operation of the area in
question the warning will be repeated and clearly stated as a final warning.
   c. If the second warning is ignored and demonstrators persist in the obstructive or disruptive
action, the Dean of Students will apprise the President and/or Vice President for Student Affairs
of the situation and based upon the situation will recommend:
        1. That the New York City Police be summoned and that they be requested to arrest

violators and clear the area.
       2. The University initiate action to obtain an injunction against the continuance of the
disruptive activities.
4. If at any time during a demonstration, physical violence and/or destruction of property occurs,
the Dean of Students will instruct the demonstrators to leave the area immediately. If the
demonstrators do not leave the area immediately upon hearing the Dean's instruction, the
President and/or Vice President of Student Affairs will be informed of the situation and will be
requested to summon the New York City Police to arrest violators and clear the area.
5. During actions to quell an obstructive or disruptive demonstration, an officer of the University,
the President of the Faculty Senate, and the college Deans should be present to observe the
actions of all involved.

Specific Causes for Concern:

As seen above, the present University policy concerning demonstration and dissent
at Rose Hill requires advanced notification for any and all student protests and
assemblages. Specifically, the primary points of contention meriting students’
feelings of limited or highly supervised expression on campus stem from the
following sub-points of the policy:

c. Space may be occupied only when assigned through established University procedures.

1. The University Code of Conduct, Office of Residential Life Policies and Procedures and/or
other administrative rules and regulations must be observed at all times in the planning and
conduct of any event. This includes adherence to current university procedures for the
reservation and use of space.

2. A member of the Fordham University community must be designated Organizer/Liaison for
the event. This person is responsible to meet with the Dean of Students and University Security
a reasonable period in advance and in no event less than 48 hours prior to the event. If the
Organizer/Liaison is planning the event on behalf of a recognized club or organization, the
advisor to the club or organization should attend this meeting as well. At this meeting, a suitable
location for the picketing and other demonstration may be chosen.

3. The Organizer/Liaison is responsible to communicate the parameters that have been set for
the event by the Dean of Students and University Security to all participants prior to the event to
take reasonable measures to insure the safety of participants and will act as the primary liaison
with the Dean of Students and/or Security during the event itself.

Seeing that there are several points of the current policy which are of strong concern for
students, it is important to discuss the particular problems that arise from each of them.

Sub-Point c.—The rule that space may be occupied only when assigned through
University procedures automatically asserts that a protest, demonstration, or any form
of expression performed in the public square must be “assigned”. This implies and in
fact affirms that there is a requisite check, approving whether or not a demonstration
can take place. The Student Handbook, which governs the standards of conduct for
students includes the following statement with regard to Demonstration:

 “Each member of the University has a right to freely express his or her positions and to work
for their acceptance whether he/she assents to or dissents from existing situations in the
University or society.”

Although it is stated in the policy’s opening that students have the right to freely
express themselves, students in effect, do not have the ability to do so under the existing
policy. The commission understands the concept of “free expression” as the ability for
students to openly voice ideas and opinions without prior administrative notification or
planning, provided their actions do not (within reason) inhibit or harm the lives and
activities of other members of the Fordham community.

Sub-Point 1—While the observation of student conduct is vital to the successful
exchange of respectful dialogue, the University procedures for the reservation and use
of space, place unnecessary and time consuming limitations on those interested in
hosting an open-expression event (be it a protest, or a piece of impromptu performance
art). In cases where individual students may simply want to demonstrate their views or
beliefs in an open forum, the current policy prevents them from doing this without
seeking the sponsorship of a “duly registered student club or organization.” This point
deprives students of individual autonomy in their right to demonstrate. It is the
Commission’s belief that one’s right to express his or herself on campus is an individual
decision and should not require the support and approval of a specific group or
University club.

Sub-Point 2—This particular rule within the policy is the most inhibiting to the open
and free expression and exchange of students’ views, ideas, and opinions on campus.

“If the Organizer/Liaison is planning the event on behalf of a recognized club or organization,
the advisor to the club or organization should attend this meeting as well.”

The very statement itself is misleading. The policy incorporates the term “if” to describe
a situation when an event is planned on behalf of a recognized club or organization,
implying that one may demonstrate and express dissent even if he/she does not have
sponsorship from any student club or organization on campus. Yet in sub-point 1, it is
previously mandated that one of the steps that must be taken in order to host a
demonstration is:

“adherence to current university procedures for the reservation and use of space.”

The problem with this is very clear. At Fordham University, only duly registered
student clubs and organizations have the ability, the right, and the privilege to reserve
space for an event on campus. Although the policy shapes a demonstration sponsored
by a club or organization as a hypothetical event, in practical reality, these are the only
demonstrations that could ever be permitted under the existing guidelines. The
individual student’s right to express his or herself independently without the support of
a larger registered entity is subsequently non-existent. At the very least, the harm rests
in the miscommunication of this policy, which merits further attention and revision.

Sub-Point 2 (continued)—Furthermore, one of the equally troubling portions of the
current demonstration and dissent policy is the sheer length of time that it takes for
students to register an opportunity to express themselves. Even when not factoring in
the amount of time that it would take an individual student to seek a sponsoring club or
organization to support their efforts, the amount of time that it could possibly take to
reserve space is a hindrance that has the potential to, and already does, dissuade
students from openly voicing their opinions or demonstrating in the public square. A
quick reading of sub-point 2 would lead one to believe that as long as the student
consulted with the Dean of Students more than 48 hours in advance of their planned
demonstration, it would be permitted to take place. However they would have already
had to register a space for their demonstration and according to the excerpt listed
below, that process would take much longer than the mere 2 days outlined as the latest
possible timeframe in the current policy.

“A space reservation application should be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Student
Leadership and Community Development of the McGinley Student Center (Rose Hill) or the
Director of Student Leadership and Community Development (Lincoln Center). The minimum
lead time (unless waived by the Director) will be three (3) weeks, with additional lead time
required where large audiences are anticipated. The request must be signed by the President or
other authorized representatives of the organization, and the organization’s faculty advisor.”

*Bolding added. Taken from the Procedural Guidelines of the Speakers Policy.

 In addition to the requirement of authorization from a club President or organization
representative as part of the demonstration’s sponsorship, a student that would hope to
demonstrate publicly would (according to the current policy) have to wait at least 3
weeks to learn whether or not their request to demonstrate their right to free speech
was approved. Granted, in practice the process for reserving space can take less time,
however the potential for circumstantial delays to arise is not uncommon and justifies
the perception of students, that this portion of the policy adds an additional hurdle to
expressing one’s views. This limitation guarantees that reactionary protests to breaking
news, immediate actions of a government or administration, even spontaneous
performances would not be able to take place. Timing is perhaps the most important
aspect of demonstrations, and the ability for students to be most influential and
effective in the public presentation of their ideas is often measured by how quickly they
can garner support, assemble, and demonstrate. Under these stringent guidelines no
matter how important or pressing an issue may be…it will likely have to wait 3 weeks.
Sub-Point 3—Assuming the student has followed the lengthy and time consuming
steps of securing sponsorship, reserving space, and meeting with the Dean of Students,
there are still additional protocols to be followed and adhered to. The student must
make sure that on the day of their demonstration, if he/she is acting as the
demonstration’s “organizer or liaison” (another term which hinders and downplays the
idea of independent demonstration and expression) that they must obey another set of
guidelines that would have been listed by the Dean of Students to insure the “safety of
participants.” The student would be:

“responsible to communicate the parameters that have been set for the event by the Dean of

While the parameters are not specifically addressed, the inherent problem is that the
content of the demonstration is a matter of approval, subject to the Dean of Students
and OSL & CD staff. The idea of the Dean of Students, the Vice President of Student
Affairs or any University administrator for that matter, having an impact over the style
of the demonstration (provided safety and security is not an issue) is potentially


In the past, members of the Office of Student Affairs have maintained that there is no
demonstrated record of limiting student demonstrations at Rose Hill. Upon review by
this Commission, we can verify that at least in the last three years (2006-2009) this
statement is accurate. Despite this, there have however been documented isolated
instances where student groups have altered the manner in which their protests and
organizations were planned, presumably to ensure their approval by administrators
involved in the process.

On occasion, unofficial student groups desiring to stage a protest have been denied the
opportunity to do so on the grounds of the rules outlined in the policy on
demonstration and dissent. This is evidenced in the case of a group like PRIDE for
example, prior to being officially recognized by the University, this group had to seek
out the sponsorship of another (non-student activities funded) entity at Fordham in
order to meet or conduct their activities. The problem inherent in this practice that
deserves to be corrected is the idea of disenfranchisement for unofficial student groups
or individual students who feel pushed to the fringes of the University community.

In addressing the issue of expression on campus, the Commission also hopes its
recommendations will help in fostering a community steeped in openness and
tolerance, doing away with perceptions that particular organizations or individual
students are unwelcome. While the Office of Student Affairs is correct that in the last
few years there is no record of a duly registered protest being denied, the current policy
is seen as an unnecessary impediment that often intimidates students and denies them
the opportunity to stage a demonstration or express themselves in other ways, on short
notice, in response to any immediate action or issue.

Evidence for this belief can be seen in the following two incidences of demonstration on
campus by recognized student groups:

GROUP: Labor Solidarity Committee of Progressive Students For Justice
DATE: 09 February 2008, 1:00pm
 SUMMARY OF INCIDENT: As part of a movement to obtain standard of living wages
for security workers of Fordham University, Progressive Students for Justice opted to
hold a protest and demonstrate in order to accomplish this goal. Although organized by
PSJ and well attended by members of this club, the organization did not formally
declare the protest as their own and instead claimed to just be a large group of like-
minded and concerned students. This step was taken out of fear of the possible reprisals
and administrative repercussions that could occur given their plans to operate outside
and in violation of the demonstration policy. Additionally, knowing that they would
likely have to meet with security in the pre-planning of this event and given the fact
that numerous security guards would be joining them in the protest, they felt that
discretion was necessary and willingly chose to go around the standard requisite
procedures for reserving space and organizing a demonstration in concert with the

GROUPS: CSP, Campus Ministry, El Grito, PSJ, African American Studies Department,
Office of Multicultural Affairs, ASILI
SUMMARY OF INCIDENT: The Sean Bell protest, between occurred at Rose Hill on
11/20/2008. In the time leading up to the protest, Wander met with the Dean of
Students and other administrators from Security and the Office of Student Leadership
and Community Development on 3 separate occasions. In the planning of this
demonstration, the issue of student safety became apparent as the protest was planned
to go beyond the gates of Fordham.
Concerns that Dean Rodgers brought up were safety, not interrupting student activities,
and ensuring that the protest would not turn violent. 40 minutes before the actual walk,
Dean Rodgers, and John Carroll wanted to meet with Wander to finalize details.

The overall process itself took 3 weeks. In Mr. Cedeno’s mind, were it not for the
connections that Security had with the NYPD this process could have been further
delayed. While a demonstration of this sort was possible, the time limitations and the
duration of the process do not provide an encouraging or easily accessible means of

According to Mr. Cedeno decision was made to change the route of the protest 40
minutes prior to the walk. Specifically in his opinion, “you need a lot of approval,
coordination, etc. but you’re still subject to [the] administration’s last word.”


The primary contention that we have received in response to idea of suggesting an
alternative or an addition to the current student demonstration policy is that United
Student Government is “creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.” USG
recognizes that the existence of and the potential for inhibited expression of students at
a liberal arts institution of higher learning is a problem—and although the disbanding
of unregistered protests in the past is a rarity; it is the position of this commission that
the possibility for such actions to make others hesitant of peacefully expressing
themselves out of fear of adjudication or reprisal is not acceptable.

To be clear, the steps which we advocate for are not necessarily a reactionary measure
but a precautionary one. In the future, we recognize that unforeseen circumstances may
lead to increased ideological discrimination and prejudice against certain students with
particular views. More importantly, the very structure of advanced notification,
registry, and approval (while important for security concerns) inherently creates the
perception among the student body that the right to express themselves at Rose Hill
does not exist…without obtaining prior permission.

When we take time to reflect on the great social movements and progressive displays of
student empowerment which took place in the 1960’s, whether it be from the opposition
of the Vietnam War to the support of the Civil Rights movement, and the fight for
gender equality, it is difficult to imagine a campus’ right to openly and spontaneously
express itself being stifled by University policy, yet here at Fordham, that is exactly the
case. The concept of civil action at Fordham University will be strengthened by an
administrative recommitment to open dialogue because the tensions of groups that feel
uncomfortable voicing their thoughts and opinions will be removed or alleviated if they
are given a forum to speak and demonstrate free from any prior registry or pre-

Having an opportunity to demonstrate respectfully in an accessible and open space will
minimize tensions on this campus, significantly reduce hostile sentiments toward the
University as a whole, effectively end a widespread perception of student
infantilization by the administration, and provide students with a designated area to
voice their opinions, ideas, and views without resorting to more disobedient and
harmful measures.

With that said, it is understandable that certain topics and issues are divisive and
viewed even as offensive to some, but if one person is able to determine whether or not
those views can be openly expressed, or the present policy continues to intimidate
students with its time constraints and procedures, then it will not quell students interest
or passion about those issues, it will instead enflame it, and encourage students to go
against the process in ways that are, in true Fordham tradition, creative and
effective…even if disobedient.

It is with the hope of providing students a co-equal alternative to this policy and a deep
desire to avoid instances where students’ frustrations will boil over with negative
results for the individuals themselves and the institution as a whole, that we, the duly
appointed members of the USG Commission on Speech & Expression, propose the
establishment of an area designated specifically for the open discourse, demonstration,
and free exchange of views, ideas, and opinions. We call this place “Maroon Square.”

Faculty Support:

Given the important academic value of Maroon Square, this Commission believes it is
important to consult with and garner the support of the faculty of Fordham University.
On October 19, 2009, John Tully Gordon presented the details of this proposal to the
Student Life Committee of the Faculty Senate and was able to obtain their full support
of this initiative. The Student Life Committee, chaired by Dr. Mary Procidano, following
their review and approval of the proposal, presented this initiative at a November
meeting of the Fordham University Faculty Senate.

[The USG Commission on Speech and Expression is currently awaiting a statement
from the Faculty Senate]

Model Policies and Practices for Consideration:

Georgetown University-Red Square:

II. Guidelines

The following guidelines implement the foregoing propositions:

1. Events - An individual member or group of members of the academic community may invite
any person to address the community. For purposes of this document, an event is any public
meeting organized by such an individual or group primarily for the dissemination or exchange of
ideas. "Public meeting" shall not be construed to include formal academic convocations,
regularly scheduled classes, or regular business meetings of University organizations.

The individual or group hosting such an event must reserve the place where it will occur, in
accordance with registration requirements. However, the area adjacent to the ICC ("Red
Square") and Leavey Lobby (in inclement weather) shall be available, without prior
arrangement, for individuals and groups during daylight hours for the purpose of exchanging
ideas. Because of the proximity of Red Square to classrooms, sound amplification in
conjunction with any presentation in Red Square is prohibited, as is disruption of classes in any
other way.


TIMES Organizations and individuals must adhere to the beginning and ending times indicated
in the outdoor events policy.

NOTE The area adjacent to the ICC (Red Square) is available without prior reservation to
individuals and groups during daylight hours for the purpose of exchanging ideas. Therefore,
persons requesting the use of Red Square should be aware that an event scheduled in this
space may be disturbed by such activity.

Red Square: No sound may disturb university business, including classes, faculty and staff
working in offices, and university events. In general, no amplified sound is allowed between 9
AM and 5 PM on class days. It may not be allowed at other times if there are classes or other
activities happening later than 5 PM or on weekends.

Santa Clara University-Benson Memorial Center, Student Union Complex:


1. Santa Clara University does not have a designated "free speech zone" but rather the
campus as a whole is available for freedom of expression with some defined parameters and
guidelines. You can read the entire Expressive Activity Policy in our student handbook found
at: . In
particular review section II.Y.statement and 1-9.

2. What Rachel is referencing is a physical space located within our student union complex
('Benson Memorial Center'). It is an outdoor space that is easily identifiable and recognizable to
Santa Clara students. Many people refer to this location as the "free speech zone" but in reality
the technical term is the 'Plaza' located at Benson Memorial Center. As on many campuses, a
physical space takes on its own characteristics and about 95% of our campus expressive
activities occur in the Plaza location.

3. As a person with some responsibility in this area, I get involved when a student organization
believes or the university event planning office believes that there is a likelihood that 25 or more
people might be attracted to the event. I work with the student organization on process (not
content) and communicating with other key campus constituencies. I would estimate that I work
with about a dozen expressive activities per academic year.

4. The policy affords only members of the campus community this opportunity. Campus is not
available to non-university people to walk onto campus and begin their own expressive activity.

5. This policy has been in effect for a couple of years and seems to work very well for
our community.

1. [For less than 25 people] the requirement to work with me does not apply however the rest of
the policy does. For example, the expressive activity may not disrupt the educational mission of
the university as described in the student handbook (section II.Y.3 [Purpose and Regulations]).

2. If in the planning process, there was a sincere and honest determination that the likelihood of
attendance was less than 25 yet in reality more than 25 showed up, then I doubt very much that
there would be a recourse. However, if in the future a similar event was contemplated and/or
the same student organization was considering to host such an event we would probably err on
the side of assuming more than 25 and plan accordingly. The other reality factor is that if a
student organization thought that less than 25 were going to show up then they probably would
not host the expressive activity because of the lack of perceived interest.

On the other hand ... if there was a spontaneous expressive activity (i.e. no prior planning) and
more than 25 people gathered, we - more than likely- would identify who was the source and
invite them into a dialogue of expectations and responsibility of being a member of the Santa
Clara community. There exists language about what it means to be a member of the
Santa Clara community and what are the individual expectations and responsibilities including
to be respectful of university policy, procedures, and guidelines.

3. Incidences of hate speech would be appropriately addressed through our bias reporting
structure. Information on this topic can be found at: . In my opinion there is a
difference between differing views / honest dialog of dissenting opinions and the area of
intolerable hate.

To date, activities of expressive activity have been void of hate speech, offensive
displays, and/or disrespectful behaviors. Perhaps we are fortunate but at some level I
believe strongly that people are trying to do the right thing and behave accordingly.

Peer & Aspirant Conversations:

Enclosed below are several conversations that members of the USG Commission on
Speech and Expression had with student leaders at peer and aspirant institutions of
Fordham University. One of the primary considerations that we have looked into in
the crafting of this proposal is the perceived risk that is assumed by our community
establishing “Maroon Square.” This risk specifically involves the possibility for this

zone to be utilized as a general soapbox for the validation and promotion of hate
speech. The following discussions provide a backdrop for the incredibly low
incidence of hate speech or other negative consequences in an environment of open
and unobstructed expression.


There is an outdoor space for anyone to utilize free speech. Located adjacent to our
Student Union, the free speech zone is open for rallies and such, but also serves as an
expansive area for visiting merchants and events.
In the fall, there was a rally for living wage of our Bon Apetit (food service) workers led by
students. There have not been any incidences of hate speech as far as I know.

Please let me know if there is any other information I can help you with. Best of Luck!

Rachel Manfre, Student Body President
Associated Students
Santa Clara University


“Well, we actually had a pretty recent example of a campus protest. Last year, a group of
students gathered in our quad to protest the arrest of the Jena 6. I'm attaching a picture of one
of the students in the protest, Nia Mayani. They had not registered for permission to use the
space, as far as I can recall, but had so much support from the campus, our Vice-President for
University Life came out and stood with them during the protest.

Generally, if students want to assemble, they can do so. If they want to use a room on
campus, they have to reserve it, just as they would for any other kind of event, or risk being
kicked out of the space if someone else needs it.

Now, this is not to say that the school would allow a group of students who are spewing hate
speech to meet at their own will. I haven't seen student gathering become a problem in my
three years here, but it's also never been to promote a negative message.”

Alexandra Platt, Senate President
University of San Francisco
USFtv Executive Programming and Development Director
Founder/Vice President Women in Media

Foundation For Individual Rights In Education (F.I.R.E.) Rankings:

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's colleges
and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process,
religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of individual
liberty and dignity. FIRE's core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate
the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights
on our campuses and about the means to preserve them. *

This issue affects not only students that currently attend Fordham but also the
thousands of prospective students across the country and indeed the world, who spend
time researching colleges and universities in the hope of being accepted and continuing
their studies. The non-profit group FIRE routinely ranks institutions of higher learning
based on their tolerance and preservation of independent human liberties, primarily
that of free speech. Rankings range from “Green” for excellent protection and
permissiveness of free speech, to “Yellow” which indicates a sub-par preservation of
the same principle, and finally to “Red” which is indicative of an institution that is
deemed hostile to free speech. Understandably, Fordham University is currently ranked
as “Red” after FIRE conducted a review of the policies governing demonstration as
outlined in the Student Handbook. For publicity purposes, this website and this
ranking, which is easily accessible either via the internet, or FIRE’s published reports, in
addition to its full page contribution in US News & World Report sends an
unwelcoming message to potential students, and is a harm which the Commission
believes should be corrected, in the best interest of the University.

Free Speech As A Jesuit Ideal:

The advancement of “reasonably uninhibited expression” at Fordham University is
linked to our commitment to the ideals of Jesuit teaching. Ultimately, this is one of the
few things that separate Fordham from other institutions of higher learning. Among
the most important of these Jesuit core beliefs is the commitment to critical thinking,
open discourse, and the toleration of respectful dissent. Georgetown University, Santa
Clara University, and the University of San Francisco, all fellow Jesuit institutions,
stand on the forefront of open expression and have, in this Commission’s mind, set the
gold standard for respect and cooperation between the University administration and
the student body by allowing an area for demonstration that requires no prior official
notification or registry. Testimonials from University administrators and students there
have shown that the numerous benefits provided to the campus community from this
action far outweigh any of the rare (even nonexistent) incidence of harms. Again,
arguments have been raised that a free speech space, an open expression zone, etc. will
be nothing more than an invitation for highly controversial, violent, disruptive, and ill-
received demonstrations. There is a fear that the establishment of a free speech space
would serve as a public platform, legitimizing morally reprehensible ideas and
viewpoints. Yet the historical precedent indicates that this will not be the case and has
proven that when administrators place faith in the student body’s ability to engage in

respectful dissent mindful of three key components—manner, place, and method— the
enhanced vibrancy of the campus that follows, is an invaluably positive result.
The Commission has also considered the religiously ideological concerns, that
somehow the authorization of a free expression area would invite opposition to the
values and beliefs that Fordham University was built upon and stands for. Previous
controversies surrounding Fordham’s decision to allow the Vagina Monologues to be
performed on campus or other examples of alleged “anti-catholic” displays are all
matters that have been given considerable thought. The Commission believes that
above all else, Fordham’s values and the tenets of the Catholic faith are strong. They are
strong enough to endure dissent and can only stand to be made stronger in response to
organized opposition. Catholic ideals do not exist in a vacuum, they endure criticism
on a daily basis, and the creation of a venue for open discourse would simply be a
reflection of the real world in the academic environment it deserves. To otherwise
shelter students by opposing this particularly valuable opportunity to defend one’s
beliefs and viewpoints is to commit an academic injustice. The USG Commission on
Speech & Expression proposal for the establishment of an alternative area for student
expression is grounded in the belief that whether it be used for the vocalization of
ideological views, the advertisement of an upcoming event, or even a demonstration of
artwork, its existence is of paramount importance in order to safeguard the value of
open expression and the academic integrity of the Rose Hill campus.

The Solution—Maroon Square:

United Student Government’s endeavor to secure a location wherein members of the
Rose Hill community will be able to demonstrate without advanced administrative
notification is of vital interest to the student body. The Untied Student Government
Commission on Speech & Expression supports a solution based off of the “Red Square”
model (a successful social experiment in on-campus student expression at our peer and
aspirant institution, Georgetown University). Maroon Square would be a specific
location on campus where students would be free to express themselves and
demonstrate without the necessity of registering through the Office of Student
Leadership and Community Development.

It is important to note, that by utilizing Maroon Square as their means of
communication, the student will be sacrificing the ability to publicly post documents on
campus, the right to register space in other prominent areas in the University, and the
legitimacy that is inherently granted by associating one’s efforts with Fordham
University as a whole. These additional benefits could only be acquired by following
the present demonstration policy. We propose Maroon Square as an enhancement to the
current policy, offering students a fair and reasonable compromise that would provide
them the opportunity to speak publicly without prior permission at the expense of other
means of official demonstration in more prominent locations. Independent students
and on-campus groups that are not provided access to benefits of the University such as
funding through the Student Activities Fund, room reservation rights, etc. will have the
ability to convey their messages in a respectful and public manner without the need for
co-sponsorship by any student group or academic entity of the University—this is a
right that they would otherwise be denied. For registered organizations, the key
advantage to demonstrating in Maroon Square will be the lack of requisite prior
administrative approval.

Student Conduct:

While many of the worst case scenarios which have been argued as the key opposition
from Fordham University administrators in the past are, in the views of the
Commission , numerous faculty members, and academic administrators both at
Fordham and other Jesuit institutions, likely to be non-existent to very rare isolated
incidents. Regardless, USG has a chief responsibility to provide for the safety of its
fellow students, so the issue of behavioral limitations within the proposed Maroon
Square must be addressed.

There has been great consideration given to the sensitivities of all groups on Fordham’s
campus and the guiding mission behind this proposed space is to encourage thoughtful
discussion over tense division and incidences of violence or derogatory expression.
Students and all other card carrying members of the University community
demonstrating within Maroon Square will still remain subject to the University Code of
Conduct. While the space will provide for free expression, it is important to note that
the establishment of this area will not serve as a sanctioning mechanism for any form of
“hate-speech” targeting a specific person/persons of any particular race, religion, creed,
ethnicity, ideological stance, gender, sexual orientation, handicap, etc. Should a student
be witnessed taking part in any of the aforementioned actions, they will be in violation
of the University Code of Conduct, and should rightly expect and will indeed be met
with the University judicial process and/or independent legal action.


The location of Maroon Square is a particular planning issue which the USG
Commission on Free Speech has considered and dedicated serious discussion to. Due
to risk, insurance liability concerns, as well as fire/ emergency codes, in addition to the
general value of safety, we believe that Maroon Square should be located in an area that

does not obstruct the entrances to any on-campus buildings, pedestrian walkways, or

Additionally, Maroon Square must not be located proximal to an academic building in
light of the fact that previous student demonstrations and acts of expression have had
the potential to be loud enough to disrupt class functions. With an awareness of this,
and a belief that Maroon Square should exist as an enhancement to academic life, not a
distraction from it, we have taken this under consideration.

Maroon Square will ideally be a space of roughly 800-1000 square feet. The Commission
believes that this number is a reasonable and relatively modest request; capable of
accommodating a reasonably manageable number of students actively and
simultaneously engaged in one form of demonstration or another.

While the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development will
understandably be the most likely authoritative body to monitor and respond to
violations of the student code of conduct, we anticipate and hope that students will
have a co-equal responsibility in administering this privileged space. United Student
Government will also ensure that any potential rare incidences of hate speech are
reported appropriately and will use all resources within its power to ensure that
registered groups or organizations that abuse this space will be met with some form of

 The definition of hate speech which will be interpreted and enforced by those
responsible for the administration of Maroon Square will be the following:

“Hate speech is a term for speech that attacks or disparages a person or group of people
based on their social or ethnic group, such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality,
religion or lack thereof, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability,
ideology, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, skin color, etc.), mental
capacity, and any other distinction that might be considered by some as a liability.”

Ideally, this Commission would like to see this space fully-administered by students,
however given the fact that all members of the Fordham University community will be
entitled to make use of this zone, and our goal of establishing this space as soon as
possible, we are in support of a more expansive oversight structure if need be. While
ensuring that violations involving student misconduct or hate speech are reported and
fairly adjudicated, the administration of this space must not violate the primary goal of
Maroon Square—to facilitate open and uninhibited discussion without the necessity of
prior administrative notice. It is this key crucial component that makes this zone unique
and effective.

Furthermore, if students are not ultimately entrusted with the sole responsibility of
monitoring this space, then there should be a concerted effort to include a
representative of the faculty, an elected representative of United Student Government,
and a representative from the Division of Student Affairs to handle the treatment and
administration of this space.

Total Proposed Locations for Maroon Square (11):

Total Proposed Locations for Maroon Square “Central Campus Zone” (4):

                                                                         McGinley Lawn

                                                                         External Ignatius Lawn

                                                                         Administration Building Lawn

                                                                         Adjacent East Edwards Lawn

* The Commission’s first choice for Maroon Square is the External Ignatius Lawn. Located adjacent to the
statue of St. Ignatius, this space has had a strong history of demonstrations in the past by the Fordham’s
pro-life groups and College Republicans who utilized the space for a 9-11 memorial. It has more than
enough space to accommodate the needs of the students who will demonstrate there and has exposure to
the heaviest flow of pedestrian traffic to and from the McGinley Center. For the second alternative space,
the lawn of the McGinley Center would also meet student’s needs for this space.

*The Commission’s third choice for Maroon Square is the Administration Building Lawn. Although never
previously used for any practical purpose, the placement of Maroon Square here would add a practical
element to the landscape square and provide students with an enclosed space to demonstrate within a
proximal location to Fordham’s administrators.

*The Commission’s fourth choice for Maroon Square is the Adjacent East Edward’s Lawn, which would
provide more than enough space for the students’ needs, offer exposure to traffic walking down the main
dividing road on campus. However, its close proximity to Dealy Hall would necessitate that students be
additionally prudent in the sound level of their demonstrations.

Total Proposed Locations for Maroon Square “West Campus Zone” (5):

                                                                                  Rock Triangle

                                                                                  North Duane Green

                                                                                  Martyr’s Lawn

                                                                                  Duane Lawn

                                                                                  Walsh Library

*The Commission’s fifth and sixth choices, respectively, for Maroon Square would be the Rock Triangle
and the North Duane Green located on the west side of the Rose Hill campus. The rock triangle is
currently unutilized for any purpose at the University and is cordoned off by a stone barrier, making it
one of the only areas on campus that already comes pre-enclosed for demonstration purposes.
Unfortunately, it’s a rather isolated location and does not expose it to high levels of student, faculty, and
administration foot traffic. The North Duane Green location solves some of these harms by being closer to
Dealy Hall, however space there is noticeably more limited.

*The Commission’s seventh and eighth choices would be a spot in front of the William D. Walsh Family
Library or the green located between Duane Library and Larkin Hall. At present, these sites rarely are
used for anything other than student socialization in the fair weather months. The high level of foot
traffic to and from the library would ensure that there would be an audience for any and all
demonstrations. The drawback of this location is of course the proximity to a space that is reserved for
quiet study. Students, reading in the lobby or the 24 hour zone would see and possibly hear the
demonstrations, which could be distracting.

Total Proposed Locations for Maroon Square “East Campus Zone” (2):

                                                                              O’Hare Green

                                                                                Spellman Green

*The Commission’s last two choices for the location of Maroon Square would be the green space adjacent
to O’Hare Hall and across from the Seismic Observatory, on the Spellman lawn. These areas would
provide enough open space to support the number of students expected to utilize the square at any given
time. The proximal location of both of these areas to Keating Hall makes it very visible to pedestrian
traffic without blocking any major buildings and is located far enough from the building that
demonstrations should not cause any significant auditory distraction. Additionally, the O’Hare Green
option’s close proximity to Keating would make it easily accessible (within view, in fact) to the Dean of
Students’ office.

Concluding Thoughts:
        “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign
ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its
people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its
people.” ~John F. Kennedy
        These moving words speak volumes to the current status of free speech at
Fordham and throughout the country. On college campuses across the nation, the right
to free speech and the ability to openly demonstrate at institutions of higher learning is
a topic of great concern. In the time that I have spent at Fordham University, the
academic harms of limited speech or censorship have made national headlines,
particularly with regard to lectures and student protests. From Columbia University’s
controversial decision to invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, to Boston College’s
choice to cancel a lecture by William Ayers, and even Fordham’s decision to allow
Norman Finkelstein to speak at Lincoln Center, institutions of higher learning have
responded in their own unique ways to support or hinder open discourse.
        Students on our campus have a rich and proud history of open expression as
evidenced by the number of protests that take place both at Rose Hill and Lincoln
Center every year. However, as this report has shown, this history of public
demonstration (and the procedures that govern it) is also not without problems, areas of
concern, and opportunities for positive change. Our community is also no stranger to
the issues that have arisen in the past surrounding this process and the administrative
reactions that the failure to adhere to the demonstration policies outlined in the Student
Handbook can illicit.
        With the formal submission of this report we are prepared to do more than just
claim that we are entitled to something better and instead begin the difficult but
important process of working with the administration to improve the quality of life, the
diversity of opinion, and the climate of open exchange here at Fordham University.
        After many months of researching previous issues that students have had with
demonstrations on campus, a detailed assessment of the changes that we feel would
benefit the University community, and extensive planning for a potential solution, I
genuinely hope that those responsible for judging and evaluating the merits of this
document and the case for Maroon Square give this proposal the attention and
thoughtful consideration it deserves.
        USG is now ready to start the process of negotiating with the administration in
the spirit of cooperation. As you finish reading this report, I ask that you take a moment
to reflect upon the potential benefits that this great social experiment could yield for the
student body and that you place trust in our community’s ability to make use of this
space in a responsible and appropriate manner. It is with complete confidence in the
student body and our ability to rise to the occasion and by earning this privilege that
the Commission on Speech and Expression submits this proposal.
        With that said, I am grateful for your consideration and strongly encourage the
Dean of Students, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and all relevant administrators
of Fordham University to grant approval of a designated space on campus for students

to demonstrate, perform, stage displays, express themselves, and exercise their right to
free speech, with the aforementioned specific exemptions from the current
demonstration policy. In doing so, you will become the final piece of this effort and will
have taken on an instrumental role in setting Fordham above many of its peer and
aspirant schools by re-affirming its commitment to the Jesuit tradition of tolerance for a
wide diversity of views and opinions.
       I believe truly, that there is intellectual value in exchanging ideas, finding
compromise, exposing hypocrisy, and bringing ideologies that thrive in the shadows of
our society, out into the light of public exchange and academic criticism. I know it is a
difficult process, but it is also one that the honest pursuit of knowledge and truth—the
mission that drives each of our collegiate studies—calls upon us to engage in. I look
forward to working with the administration in the pursuit of this goal and deeply
appreciate your support in this effort.

      Thank you,

      John Tully Gordon
      Executive President, United Student Government
      Chairman, USG Commission on Speech and Expression
      Fordham University at Rose Hill


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