Guide to student protest

Guidance for students who wish to protest at the University of York.

Published October 2023

The University of York supports students to respectfully share, debate and challenge views and positions on a wide range of issues. As part of our legal obligations, we uphold freedom of speech within the law, which may at times include allowing individuals or groups to host events or speakers that others don’t agree with or wish to demonstrate against. 

The University also has a responsibility to maintain a safe, effective, and welcoming environment for all our students, staff and visitors. We have clear student conduct guidance that outlines behavioural expectations. Where students engage in misconduct, as outlined in our regulations, they become subject to disciplinary action. 

The guidance below outlines some do's and don’ts around student protests on the University of York campus. Following the guidance will help to ensure that student protests can be best supported to be delivered safely for all members of the University community and the general public, and reduce the likelihood of protesters breaching University regulations and becoming subject to disciplinary action.

When arranging and taking part in a protest at the University of York, do: 

  • Give notice of the protest to the University of York Campus Safety team via
  • Seek in advance and follow any safety, security, and location advice given to you by University and Students’ Union staff and representatives
  • Clearly communicate information about the protest to the participants, including any relevant University guidance
  • Be aware that by taking part in a protest on campus, your image could be shared in the media, or via social media, this could include anything you share to your personal social media accounts that aren’t set to ‘private’ 
  • Make sure that you clear away any litter when the protest has ended and leave the area as you found it

When arranging and taking part in a protest at the University of York, don’t: 

  • Prevent speakers from talking, people from attending, or doing anything that is designed to prevent the event taking place
  • Use intimidating, abusive or threatening language via communications, placards, banners, posters, or other means 
  • Prevent any teaching or University business from taking place
  • Intentionally or carelessly damage any University or other property as part of your protest
  • Attach posters or banners to University property without permission
  • Undertake any other activities that break the UK law