Update about On-Campus Protests

Categories: Chancellor's Messages

Dear Niner Nation,

As you may be aware, for more than a week, there have been protestors on campus. They were originally on the quad outside of the College of Health and Human Services and the Cato College of Education, and they recently relocated to the lawn outside of Fretwell and Cato Hall. 

What began as peaceful protesting has transitioned over the past several days to intentionally and repeatedly violating University policy, despite repeated warnings by our Demonstration Activity Resource Team (DART) and other University personnel. Violations were highlighted verbally and in writing, and exhaustive efforts were made to encourage protestors to exercise their right to free speech in a manner that respects the rights of those not protesting to do their work and pursue their education. 

UNC Charlotte promises a robust intellectual environment that values social and cultural diversity and free expression. However, expression must be conducted with the reasonable time, place and manner restrictions established in law and policy. 

Protestors – many of whom are not members of the University community – instead chose to erect tents, fencing, displays and other structures in violation of University Policy 601.6, Scheduling University Facilities, and University Policy 601.9, Sales, Solicitations, Distribution of Materials and Campus Displays, and they continue impeding access to buildings and otherwise violating University access control policies, disrupting and threatening to disrupt final exams, and vandalizing University property. 

These actions are not free speech, they disrupt campus operations and pose a threat to campus safety. 

That is why this morning, despite multiple efforts to avoid this outcome, UNC Charlotte Police, with support from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, dispersed the group of protestors in the encampment on the lawn outside of Fretwell and Cato Hall. The situation was resolved peacefully, and only one person was detained. 

As a public institution, UNC Charlotte is committed to upholding the right of individuals to exercise free speech on campus in a manner that prioritizes physical safety and ensures that faculty, students and staff can proceed with their normal activities without unreasonable disruption. Enforcing law and policy is critical to providing space for our community to express competing ideas safely. We will uphold any expressive activity that respects the time, place and manner restrictions established to permit the University to operate and serve its mission, and will address any activity that does not. 

Our top priority is the safety of our campus, and we are focused on ensuring that is maintained for our students as they finish exams and as we prepare to celebrate the Class of 2024. 


Sharon L. Gaber