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Division of Student Affairs

Safety Protocols for Protests

June 10, 2020

The University of Southern Mississippi is anticipating additional group protests for upcoming weekends on the Hattiesburg campus. The University welcomes all individuals who are peacefully exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

The following safety protocols will be in place, beginning on Friday, June 12.

  • Vehicular traffic and parking will be restricted on the southern most portions of East and West Memorial drives, from the Centennial Gateway to the information booth.
  • Motorists may enter campus through other vehicular access points. Other campus parking areas will be open.
  • Pedestrian access to sidewalks and green spaces will not be restricted.
  • Short concrete barriers will be placed in the roadways of East and West Memorial drives on either side of the Centennial Gateway and on either side of the information booth to ensure vehicles do not turn into pedestrian protesters who may be gathered in this area. The roadway barriers will be put in place on Friday evenings and removed early on Monday mornings.
    • This is a change from the metal barricades that were placed at the front of campus last Sunday. Although those barricades were intended to help ensure the safety of participating protesters, they were incorrectly placed and restricted pedestrian movement. The University does not plan to replicate the placement of those barricades and regrets that last week’s placement contributed to a perception that USM intended to restrict freedom of expression.
  • All participants are asked to take any materials they may bring with them when they depart.

The University of Southern Mississippi takes seriously the Constitutional right of each individual to express beliefs freely and in a peaceful manner. As public higher education remains at the forefront of national dialogue, the University community is committed to ensuring that these conversations continue in a thoughtful, progressive and inclusive manner.

The University will continue to support freedom of expression, robust discourse and the free exchange of ideas. USM will provide additional updates if safety protocols for protests are modified moving forward.

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