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Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been pushing, without success, for more control over their student union. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to RPI this week to complain that the institute had denied students the right to hold any protests this weekend, when alumni and donors will be on campus. The decision runs counter to any commitment to freedom of expression, the FIRE letter said. Further, FIRE has noted the installation of a fence around various buildings to prevent student protests from being close to those visiting the campus, and to President Shirley Ann Jackson.
An RPI spokesman said via email that the university was committed to free expression. As for a protest this weekend, when alumni and other guests will be on campus, the spokesman said that "those with expertise in event management and security determined that a demonstration would pose significant disruption of already-planned events and raises concerns for the safety of attendees; therefore, after careful review, that specific request was denied." RPI remains willing to work with students on a range of issues, including finding suitable times for protests, the spokesman added.