Free Expression and Demonstration Tips

...USF is irrevocably committed to full intellectual discourse, the University reaffirms the right of every member of the University community to free expression, free association, and free exercise of religion. Students are free to express their views individually or in organized groups, on any topic, on all USF campuses, subject only to rules necessary to preserve the equal rights of others and the other functions of the University.

Planning a demonstration at USF?

If you are planning a demonstration at USF, the information you may find helpful can be found in USF's Student Handbook (Fogcutter) regarding demonstrations and fixed exhibits. Please see this link for information they provide below: The University of San Francisco’s Student Free Expression: Demonstration and Fixed Exhibit Policy

Planning a demonstration off campus?

USF Public Safety's priority is ensuring you feel confident in your physical, emotional, and mental safety. We understand this is important whether you are on campus, in the greater Bay Area, or anywhere in the world. If you are planning to hold or attend a demonstration while off campus, here are a few things to consider:


Though the First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest here in the U.S., there may be laws and restrictions in your area you will need to be aware of. The ACLU has information that can potentially help you learn more on the Know Your Rights - Protesters' Rights page. For USF Community Members outside of the U.S., it is equally important to research and understand your local laws when making plans. 

Prioritize your safety:

  • Keep in mind important contact information if you ever need assistance.
  • Try to keep in contact with anyone you attend the demonstration with. 
  • If you have health concerns that may impact your safety, take those into account when planning how you will participate in the demonstration.

International Students

This is a pivotal time in US society and we encourage our international students to learn about and support social change, but we also want you to be safe. If you do attend a demonstration or happen upon one, be aware of your surroundings. Although most protests and protesters are peaceful, a few have the potential to turn violent. We recommend students try to avoid protests where conflict is present, and where police and protesters are clashing. Encounters with US law enforcement can impact your immigration status. USF and International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) support you in voicing your opinion and standing in solidarity with one another, but safety must always remain a priority!

If you feel you need to speak with any of our team members, Public Safety welcomes all calls in hopes that we can support your freedom of expression and right to protest. Your safety and well-being are important and we are available to speak with you by contacting (415) 422-4201.

If you are in need of EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE while on campus (415) 422-2911

What if you witness police brutality?

A well-organized, focused campaign against police abuse can draw broad community support. The key is to transform that support into realistic demands and develop strategies that turn those demands into concrete reforms... - Excerpt from the ACLU's "FIGHTING POLICE ABUSE: A COMMUNITY ACTION MANUAL - A Final Word

If you have witnessed police brutality and would like help with guidance on how to address the issue, we recommend contraction the Department of Public Safety at 415.422.4201 for further information about setting up a conversation with DPS Staff.

Within the City of San Francisco, the Police Department has a website with instructions regarding how to submit complaints about officers within SFPD. You may want to research in your local area regarding the process for speaking with your local police department about any concerns you may have.

What is USF's Progressive Policing Community Advisory Board (PPCAB)?

The PPCAB provides a forum for community collaboration and feedback with the Department of Public Safety regarding fair, equitable, and effective police practices. The Advisory Board works collaboratively with Public Safety to identify problems, develop and recommend solutions to USF Leadership and serve as a resource regarding community safety issues. The PPCAB is a key communications liaison by expressing community concerns to public safety and sharing relevant information with community members from USF Public Safety.

PPCAB Advisory board members:

  • Dory Escobar, Assistant Professor Health Professions Department of Nursing and Professions, 3-year commitment
  • Colette Cann, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Advancement, 2-year commitment
  • James Taylor, Politics Department, 2-year commitment
  • Tyler Epps, Recruitment Coordinator, 3-year commitment
  • Malik Stansberry, BASE Program Specialist, 2-year commitment
  • Dan Lawson, Senior Director of the Department of Public Safety
  • Shannon Gary, Associate Vice Provost of Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Kahanu Salavea, Program Assistant Dean of Students

Maintaining Personal Safety and Awareness

Though it is important to use your voice to raise awareness of issues that need to be brought to light and addressed, ensuring you are maintaining awareness of your physical, mental, and emotional health should always remain a priority in your mind.

If you are looking into planning a demonstration, working on assisting your community, or thinking of ways to personally improve, be sure you are keeping your safety in mind and exploring the various University resources available to you.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):

Contact: 415-422-6352 (during business hours)

  • Appointments
  • Consultations
  • Crisis Services

For Crisis and Consultation Outside of Business Hours (Holidays and Weekends Included), contact CAPS all hours at (855) 531-0761.

Further Resources: