A day after campus outcry reported by Inside Higher Ed prompted Chancellor Timothy P. White to announce he would appoint and chair a task force to review and possibly revise a new set of extensive and unusual guidelines regulating protests at the University of California at Riverside, he removed the document altogether from the university’s policies and procedures web page. As of late Tuesday, nearly 900 people had signed a petition demanding the immediate removal of the guidelines (the petition is no longer active).
White essentially put a moratorium on the rules Wednesday; the document will still be reviewed by a group of students, faculty and staff in the New Year, but is not in effect in the interim. In a letter to the campus, White admitted that the guidelines were misdirected but also pointed out that he and Riverside have accommodated spontaneous demonstrations in the past, and suggested that some of the anger evident in the petition stemmed from misunderstanding. In interviews Tuesday and Wednesday, a university spokesman, James Grant, said the guidelines were never intended to apply to spontaneous protests, only to demonstrations and events capable of being planned the two weeks to a month in advance that the rules required.
“It is clear that the document does not accurately reflect UC Riverside’s demonstrated commitment to free expression and peaceful, non-violent protest. We were in error to post guidelines that neither comport with our values nor reflect the realities of how the campus exercises the right to free speech,” White wrote. “I regret any confusion and discontent caused by the document. The document and its posting were not worthy of this great university.”
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