Student Demonstrations | Policy and Related Information

Disclaimer: Please note that the content of this webpage is updated as needed and the original policies and handbooks should always be referenced for the most up-to-date information.

All Mount Holyoke students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct (found in the Student Handbook). Student organizations are also responsible for the policies and regulations in the Student Handbook and the Recognized Student Group Handbook, including, but not limited to risk management policies, student event policies, travel and vehicle usage policies, fundraising policy, and regulations for behavior. In addition, they are expected to comply with any other policies or regulations that govern their organization, in particular if they are a chapter organization, etc.

A reminder that all Mount Holyoke community members - students, faculty and staff - must comply with the policy on activities related to political campaigns.

Protest Policy

Campus Facilities Use Manual | page 8

Consistent with the “Conditions of Free Inquiry” from the Student Handbook and Faculty Legislation, Mount Holyoke believes in the right of free inquiry and free expression of every member of the College community. At the same time, the College reserves the right to restrict or prohibit student protest and similar activities where appropriate and the College may take action to stop behavior that does not conform to community standards. Specifically, the College may impose restrictions as to the time, place and manner of such activities, as it deems appropriate and in order to foster a productive and safe living, learning and working environment on campus. More information is available in Faculty Legislation and the Student Handbook. For students, specific information in the Student Handbook can be found in the community standards section (page 7) and the Student Code of Conduct (page 8).

Since the campus is private property, non-community members do not have the same rights to use College lands for expression of their point of view or commercial ventures. All non-College individuals who wish to advocate for a particular point of view, issue, advertise/sell a product, and protest on College property must register at least ten business days in advance with the Department of Public Safety and Service. The Department of Public Safety and Service will determine in consultation with other College offices and officials if the proposed activity will be authorized and the conditions should such authorization be given. The College, in an effort to be consistent with all groups, generally does not authorize off-campus groups to use its property for purposes that do not advance the interests of the College including advocating for a particular issue.

Student Handbook

Student Handbook (Download the PDF)

All Mount Holyoke students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct.

Below are outlined components of the Student Handbook that are important for students to know when considering and planning student demonstrations and protests. For full information about the policies and protocols that are named here please read the Student Handbook.

The Mount Holyoke Community (page 5)

Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the College community. The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned and civil discourse. An individual’s right to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly and orderly protest extends to every member of the College. So does an individual’s responsibility to uphold the law and to respect the rights and feelings of others.

The goal for the 21st century must be to build a community of faculty, staff and students devoted to intellectual and creative freedom, critical inquiry, personal honor, ethical discernment and responsibility. The College encourages openness and candor, dialogue and debate, and the creative engagement of all constituencies in building a genuine community. A college does not become a community by so naming itself. Community is a dynamic condition, difficult and necessary to achieve, reached by active synthesis, by the consensus of free wills and free intelligences agreeing to pursue objectives in common, in an atmosphere of general empathy, forbearance, respect and trust. When such conditions prevail, there should be little occasion for coercion or violence, bias and discrimination or for punitive response, and the very occurrence of such actions suggests that the community has failed, at least for the time, to achieve its common purposes. Ultimately, the quality of life in the College is the property of the conscience of all its members.

Important things to know:

  • Honor Code and Community Responsibilities

    For the full policy: Student Handbook page 7

    The Honor Code – I will honor myself, my fellow students and Mount Holyoke College by acting responsibly, honestly and respectfully in both my words and deeds.

    Upon matriculation, each student brings a wide variety of experiences, hopes and goals to Mount Holyoke College. These backgrounds create and continually shape communal goals and ideals. The honor code is the hallmark of life together at Mount Holyoke College. Simply stated, it means that each student is responsible for maintaining their own integrity and the integrity of the Mount Holyoke community. While broad in its applications, it provides a guideline for decision making that holds each student to principles of good conduct toward themselves and others.

    The values framework embodied in Mount Holyoke College Honor Code is reflected in the Code of Conduct and the Academic Policies and Procedures the College’s Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Bias Policies set forth before. The Mount Holyoke College Honor Code assumes adherence to the rules and regulations of the College, which are designed to promote intellectual and social pursuits and to ensure personal safety. In addition, the College protects and upholds civil rights and is committed to an inclusive and diverse community. A Mount Holyoke student demonstrates their respect for individual freedom by conducting themselves with maturity and honor and by showing due concern for the welfare of other members of the community.

    Alleged violations of the honor code — including the Code of Conduct, academic policies and procedures, the College’s Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and bias incidents — will be adjudicated as outlined in the Student Handbook.

  • Code of Conduct

    For the full policy: Student Handbook page 8

    Mount Holyoke College students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Code of Conduct.

    The Code of Conduct and the community standards process apply to the conduct of individual students, both undergraduate and graduate, and all College-affiliated student organizations including athletic teams or other recognized groups. For the purposes of student conduct, the College considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended through the awarding of a degree. The Code of Conduct also applies when an individual is enrolled in a College course or program.

    An Overview of the Code of Conduct Provisions -- For full information, including definitions and examples, about the Code of Conduct read the Student Handbook.

    • The following activities, occurring on or off College premises, constitute breaches of the Code of Conduct:
      • Conduct that is unbecoming of a Mount Holyoke student, whether physical, verbal or sexual in nature.
      • Taking of property.
      • Stolen property.
      • Vandalism, damage and/or destruction.
      • Purposely providing false, inaccurate or misleading information to a College official(s) or employee(s).
      • Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments.
      • Threats or behavior that endanger the health and safety of oneself or others.
      • Disruption of the orderly processes of the College, involving obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings or other College activities, including its public-service activities. Actions disruptive to the orderly processes of the College include, but are not limited to:
        • Unauthorized entry into, or occupation of a private office, college residence, work area or a teaching, library or social facility.
        • Failure to abide by the stated operating policies of academic and nonacademic offices, centers, unions, classrooms, libraries, laboratories or other College buildings.
        • Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys or access cards to College premises, or tampering with locks to College buildings; failing to report a lost College OneCard or College-issued key in a timely fashion.
        • Conduct that restricts or prevents College employees from performing their duties.
        • Excessive or extreme noise, the unauthorized display of banners/objects, or the throwing of objects that prevents or disrupts the effective execution of a College function or approved activity, including, but not limited to: classes, lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, athletic events or public functions.
        • Abuse or misuse of official College documents or systems.
      • Failure to comply with the reasonable request of a College employee, including a request to identify oneself or honor the terms of a College directive, including a no-contact agreement/order.
      • Violation of federal, state or local laws, including ordinances, regulations and statutes.
      • Recording without consent is prohibited.
      • Retaliation.
      • Expectation of truthfulness.
      • Failure to comply with any Mount Holyoke College policy.
  • Weapons and Firearm Policy

    For the full policy: Student Handbook page 74

    In accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269 Section 10j, weapons are prohibited on the grounds of the College with the exception of law enforcement officers duly authorized to carry such weapons. No person shall be permitted to carry firearms or other weapons, concealed or not concealed, with or without a concealed weapon permit, while on properties owned or controlled by the College or in the participation of a College-related course, activity or other business off campus.

    For the purposes of this policy, the term “weapons” includes, but is not limited to: firearms of any nature or description, including shotguns, rifles, pistols and revolvers, paintball guns or BB/pellet guns; firearm replicas; ammunition; martial arts-type weapons; explosives including fireworks, smoke grenades and paint bombs; bows, crossbows, arrows; slingshots; switchblade knives, double-edged knives, or hunting (pocket-style) knives with a blade length of 3 inches or greater; swords; pointed metal darts; (unauthorized) pepper spray; or any other destructive device or instrument that may be used to do bodily injury or damage to property. In addition, items that may be used as weapons, whether or not they fit the definition above, will be subject to seizure.

    Because these weapons may pose a clear risk to persons and property on the campus, violation of the regulations may result in administrative action from the College and/or prosecution under the appropriate state or federal laws.

    No firearm or ammunition is permitted on the Mount Holyoke College campus. This prohibition includes the possession of all firearms, whether or not a lawful permit might have been issued under the law for ownership, possession, or use. This policy is consistent with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269, and Section 10(j).

Posting Policy

For the full policy: Student Handbook page 74

Flyers and posters are a means of communicating to our community and bulletin boards are located around campus, including in the Kendade Atrium and the Community Center. You might wonder, though, what is okay to post? You’ll find an overview of the policy – how and how not to post – in the Student Handbook and be mindful that some buildings (Library, residence halls, etc.) have additional expectations. Remember that College employees – such as Public Safety, Residential Life staff, and Facilities staff – will remove materials that do not follow the posting policy.

Chalking Policy

For the full policy: Student Handbook page 75

Mount Holyoke College allows chalking on campus under the following guidelines. Individuals will be held responsible for any damage and/or cleanup if these guidelines are not followed.

  • Only erasable chalk may be used — grease-based chalk is not permitted.
  • Chalking may be done only on asphalt roads and walkways.
  • Chalkings should be signed with the full name of the person or group responsible.
  • Groups or individuals may be asked to remove chalking when necessary.
  • Absolutely no chalking is permitted on any brick or building surface.
  • No chalking is permitted in any area that is protected from rain.
  • All chalking must be appropriate for the general public, including children and any campus guests.

Individuals and/or student groups will be held responsible for any damage and/or cleanup if these guidelines are not followed.

Tabling, Vending, and Solicitation Policy

For the full policy

The purpose of this policy is to set out the position of Mount Holyoke College on vending and solicitation by persons or groups, who are actively selling goods in-person on campus. The policies in this document are specifically for vendors overseen by the Office of Student Involvement, which acts on behalf of the College.

A reminder that tables are located in the vestibule outside of the Dining Commons, adjacent to Blanchard Hall. MHC Departments and Recognized Student Groups should book their reservation through EMS - for more information review the Community Center resource page.

Use of Campus Facilities

Campus Facilities Use Manual

The facilities of Mount Holyoke College are intended for the exclusive use of its students, faculty, staff, and their invited guests. The facilities are also available for the Alumnae Association in support of its activities and for official Five Colleges, Inc., activities. During the academic year (i.e., late August through late May), priority is given to academic activities and the cocurricular activities of students for the use of all facilities.

Reservable spaces: All classrooms, auditoria and many other rooms at Mount Holyoke College are reservable spaces. College departments and recognized student organizations are granted access to reserve these spaces and must do so ahead of time by following the established procedures. Individuals and groups found using these spaces without prior approval will be held accountable to the College’s facilities and conduct policies as outlined in the Student Handbook and the Campus Facilities Usage Manual.

Individuals shall not engage in activities that will or could reasonably be expected to result in personal or bodily injury to themselves or to others, or which could cause damage or harm to College or other property, or interfere with College operations or others’ pursuit of their usual activities.

To understand how students and recognized student organizations can use Mount Holyoke campus space review the Student Handbook as well as the Student Group Handbook (including the Student Event Policy) available from Student Involvement.

Limited use of some nonresidential facilities by established and recognized nonprofit community groups is occasionally possible, but only if the use of facilities does not conflict with academic and student co-curricular programs and is compatible with, and of benefit to, the academic and/or the co-curricular program – for full information review the Campus Facilities Use Manual.

Student and Student Group Events, Travel, and Fundraising

All students and student groups are held accountable for knowing and following the policies and procedures within the Student Handbook as well as the Recognized Student Group Handbook (including the Student Event Policy). Reach out to Student Involvement with questions about events, travel, and fundraising for student groups.

Student Event Policy

Below are outlined components of the Student Event Policy that are important for students and student groups to know.

  • Student Event Policy Overview

    This policy applies to all Mount Holyoke student sponsored events and programs, including those held by recognized student groups, that occur on-campus. All events that meet the previous criteria are subject to the enactment of these policies. This policy is administered by the Office of Student Involvement on behalf of Mount Holyoke College, and outlines the responsibilities and tools necessary for sponsors to comply with room capacity limits, fire-code regulations, and state laws.

    It is important to note that the Office of Student Involvement, on behalf of the College:

    • Reserves the right to modify or cancel an event if the policy and procedure have not been followed;
    • May invoke the ability to change venues, require the event to be ticketed, etc. contingent on the circumstances of the event;
    • Will, as needed, connect to any paid vendors, speakers, performers, etc. and or their agent prior to the event;
    • Share information with campus partners such as Event Services, Media Services, Public Safety & Service, Five Colleges, etc.;
    • And reserves the right to do so without permission from the student organizer.

    Students should also note that they, or their organizing group, may be held accountable for additional costs associated with the event, including but not limited to audio-visual equipment, facility set-up, catering, rentals, security, etc.

  • Events with invited speakers

    For the full policy: Student Event Policy page 2

    Those student event teams planning to host a speaker on-campus, whether paid or not, must contact Student Involvement at minimum 15 to 20 business days prior to the proposed event date to set-up an event management meeting. It is not expected that the speaker will be finalized or that the contracting process has already started, rather that Student Involvement is being notified of the intention to seek and or invite a speaker to campus. For those seeking Ways & Means funding this also ensures that the funding guidelines, in regards to speakers, are met.

    All potential speaker’s name, bio, and additional information will be shared with campus partners and service providers.

    Unanticipated circumstances may allow for an exception to this deadline to be made. Such a decision must be approved by the Director of Student Involvement, and an exception is never guaranteed.

  • Event Staffing and Security

    For the full policy: Student Event Policy page 5, 8, 12, 13

    All levels of events will be assessed for event staffing and security needs. While all Level 4 events require a minimum amount of staffing and security, other events may also require minimum levels.

    Determinations in regards to staffing and security will be based off such factors as attendance (open to the public, open to Five Colleges, size of anticipated attendance, etc.), alcohol present, money present, venue set-up, anticipated protest, anticipated risk to participants, anticipated destruction of property, adherence to local, state and national laws etc. - this list is not exhaustive. Decisions will be made in consultation with student events planners and campus partners, with the final decision to be made by Student Involvement.

    Students events that are not Level 4 but with anticipated attendance from the public and/or Five Colleges and/or events that require event security or crowd management may be required to meet certain standards in regard to event staffing. This determination will be made in consultation with Student Involvement, with the final decision being made by the office.

    If the event sponsor cannot guarantee the required staffing throughout the event, the event will be canceled and/or the date changed.

  • Entrance Doors (seated events)

    • No standing in the back of the venue, in aisles, or on the sides unless necessary for ADA compliance and purposes and or event staff working the event.
    • Bottom levels and front of house should be seated before moving further back and into balconies.
    • No admittance of picket signs or signage that will block the view of others in attendance at the event.

Fleet Vehicle Policy

Recognized student organizations can reserve fleet vehicles once the approval process has been completed. All drivers must become credentialed with the Fleet Office and must follow all authorization policies with Student Involvement. For full details about being approved to reserve fleet vehicles, page 26 of the recognized student group handbook.

Travel Policy

Recognized Student Group Handbook | Page 25

For the full travel policy

The Office of Student Involvement must approve all travel prior to any recognized student group confirming travel, making reservations, or paying any costs. Funding from the SGA Ways & Means Committee can not be applied for until the trip is approved by Student Involvement. Any travel that is not approved by Student Involvement could lead to consequences for the student group, including loss of funding, inability to travel for the following year, and or de-recognition of the group. For expectations and policy regarding voluntary and college sponsored travel, please review the Five College Risk Management Guidelines.

Recognized Student Organizations, SGA/SGA Committees & Class Boards:

All students who are leading college-sponsored travel on behalf of a recognized student organization, SGA, or a Class Board are required to follow the guidelines for trip leaders. These include submitting:

  • Recognized Student Organization Travel Request form
  • Domestic (anything happening 50 miles or more outside of the 5 College area) and/or an overnight trip: Submitted at least 4 weeks prior to anticipated travel
  • International: Submitted at least 90 days prior to anticipated travel - not allowed at this time
  • Planning Checklist and Travel Documentation form
  • Submitted at least 5 business days prior to departure, if approved
  • Travel Waivers
  • Submitted online per each participant at least 5 business days prior to departure
  • Copies of all traveling student passports, visas, etc. (specific to international travel)
  • Meeting with the Associate Director or Director to review the travel policies.


Club Sports teams:

All students who are leading college-sponsored travel on behalf of a club sports team are required to follow the guidelines for trip leaders. These include submitting:

  • Club Sports Travel Documentation form
  • Must be submitted at the beginning of each playing season (for most teams, each semester). The Club Sports Competition Schedule & Travel Checklist will be uploaded in this form.
  • Club Sports Competition Schedule & Travel Checklist consists of:
  • Competition Schedule
  • Participant roster, including emergency contact informationEmergency Planning & Management
  • Travel Waivers
  • Submitted online by each participant per each travel event (whether social or a competition)
  • Copies of all traveling student passports, visas, etc. (specific to international travel)
  • Meeting with the Associate Director or Director to review the travel policies.


Fundraising Policy

Organizations may fundraise but are cautioned to fundraise for their group with care. MHC policy does not allow organizations to solicit funding from outside organizations, including local or corporate sponsors, without direct consultation with a Department or Office at the College. While donations may be accepted and deposited into an Org Campus Account, Recognized Student Organizations represent the Mount Holyoke community and College and are therefore restricted from competing for outside funding. Review page 16 of the Recognized Student Group Handbook for step-by-step instructions to seek approval for fundraising.