According to the old demonstration guidelines, students were only permitted to demonstrate in front of Frog Fountain, after giving seven days notice to the university and getting official approval.
“(Now) other locations can be reserved for public assembly and speech, as long as it does not block classroom access,” Robinson said.
The new policy also states a request must be filed 48 hours in advance.
Jeff Brubaker, president of Peace Action and opinion editor of the TCU Daily Skiff, said he discussed changing the guidelines with officials for eight to 12 months, but that it didn’t get anywhere at first.
Brubaker said the group held demonstrations during this time about the war in Iraq on other parts of campus.
The group was not reprimanded for these demonstrations until last semester. Officials issued them a warning for violating university policy on demonstration guidelines as set forth in the student handbook.
They were warned because the group did not give seven days notice and did not demonstrate in front of Frog Fountain.
Brubaker said that particular demonstration was aimed at protesting the Patriot Act, but also to express disgust with the current guidelines. He said while the protest was held in front of the library, it was not interrupting student traffic flow. Brubaker appealed the original rules in October in light of the group’s reprimand for the demonstration in front of the library.
As a result of the appeal, a university committee was formed to listen to students’ concerns and put them into action, Robinson said. The committee decided students should have the right to demonstrate anywhere on campus, provided it is in a reservable space and they fill out the proper notification form, said Jay Zeidman, committee member and Student Government Association president.
The new, more flexible guidelines were put into effect at the end of February.
Robinson said changes may still be made to include an area where students can protest without prior approval, and the new policy should be put into the student handbooks this summer.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time new demonstration guidelines were utilized.
“Books not Bombs” was the name of the anti-war protest held between Sadler and Reed Halls.