Campus Meetings and Political Information
Handbook of Operating Procedures 8-9999
Campus Meetings and Political Information
The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Vice President for University Operations
December 8, 2003
- Policy Statement
It is the practice of The University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) to police in a proactive and responsible manner, to enforce the laws, and to safeguard life and property, thereby promoting and maintaining a safe and secure environment. These tasks will be performed without regard to the political views of any person.
Two of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the United States and Texas constitutions are freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully and petition for redress of grievances. The University of Texas at Austin Police Department respects these rights. The UTPD will not interfere with peaceful speech and assembly, and it will not condone such interference by any officer.
This statement is to clarify, both for UTPD officers and concerned members of the University community, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department's policy and practice regarding 1) attendance at meetings on the campus, 2) record keeping, and 3) treatment of information about political activities on campus.
- Attendance by UT Police Officers at Meetings on Campus
Plainclothes officers of The University of Texas at Austin Police Department may attend meetings of registered student, faculty, or staff organizations, or of informal groups of students, faculty, or staff, only:
- in response to credible reports suggesting that persons at the meeting may be planning an event at which participants will be deliberately disruptive or will engage in other illegal acts, or
- when the event's planners refuse to tell the Dean of Students or other appropriate University authority the planned size of the event or other information reasonably necessary to plan police protection and allocate officers, or
- in other unusual circumstances, where plainclothes investigation is necessary for legitimate law enforcement purposes, with the approval of the Vice President for Employee and Campus Services, or the designated delegate.
These criteria will be applied without regard to the political views of any person organizing or attending the meeting.
Uniformed UTPD officers may openly attend meetings of students, faculty, and staff.
- Record Keeping
The University of Texas at Austin Police Department maintains arrest files and incident files on alleged crimes and disciplinary violations reported to the UTPD. Reports or documents created by police officers may appear in disciplinary files maintained by the Dean of Students, but only if police officers become involved in controlling or investigating an incident that leads to disciplinary proceedings.
The UTPD will maintain a record of each occasion on which a UTPD officer attends a meeting in plainclothes under part B of this policy, and of the reasons for attending. This record will be maintained within the law enforcement exception to the Texas Public Information Act, but it will be available for review by appropriate University officials to whom the UTPD reports.
Files maintained for law enforcement purposes will be kept in the UTPD; they will not be linked to academic files maintained elsewhere in the University or to disciplinary files maintained by the Dean of Students (except as noted above).
- Information on Political Activities
The University of Texas at Austin Police Department does not and will not maintain files or disseminate information on the lawful political activities of individual students, faculty members, or staff members, or on individual student, faculty, or staff organizations, except as specifically stated in "Exceptions" below.
Exceptions: The UTPD does share information on actual or threatened criminal activities with other law enforcement agencies. In addition, the UTPD cooperates with the Austin Police Department and sometimes other agencies in jointly policing large events on campus. In planning and conducting these joint operations, the UTPD shares information necessary for immediate operational use, including basic information about the groups sponsoring the large event. These exceptions will be applied without regard to the political views of any persons organizing or attending the event.
- Police Protection
As stated in the Institutional Rules on Student Services, Section 13-1101 Police Protection (to later be included in the Handbook of Operating Procedures), the University will provide police protection or other security to speakers, public assemblies, or other events that are, in its judgment, necessary to protect the safety of all persons on the campus. The University will attempt to provide additional security upon request, subject to the availability of officers, and at the expense of the speaker or organization requesting additional security. Speakers and organizations may provide their own security only in cooperation with, and with the consent of, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department.
For additional information regarding The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, please refer to their web site: http://www.utexas.edu/admin/utpd/ .
For Assistance: Questions regarding campus meetings and political information should be directed to the Office of the Vice President for University Operations or to their web site: http://www.utexas.edu/vp/ecs/.
Source: Institutional Rules on Student Services, Section 13-1101.
Previously HOP 2.A.4