The New School is committed by tradition and by its defining values to the freedom of speech, thought, inquiry, and artistic expression for all members of its community. It is equally committed to protecting the right of free speech of all individuals authorized to use its facilities or invited to participate in the educational activities of any of the university's academic divisions. The University vigorously reaffirms both its Policy on the Free Exchange of Ideas, adopted by the Board of Trustees on January 21, 1987, and the Statement on Freedom of Artistic Expression, adopted by the Board on October 4, 1989. The Policy on the Free Exchange of Ideas points out that:
"A university in any meaningful sense of the term is compromised without unhindered exchange of ideas, however unpopular, and without the assurance that both the presentation and the confrontation of ideas take place freely and without coercion. In this context and because of its distinctive, educational role as a forum for public debate, the university has deep concern for preserving and securing the conditions which permit the free exchange of ideas to flourish."
The exercise of free speech, including demonstrations, marches, rallies, leafleting and picketing and equivalent activities ("demonstrations"), has long been recognized as a legitimate form of self-expression in the university community. The University encourages exercise of free speech recognizing that at times the exercise of free speech and expression in a university community will result in exchanges that are heated, controversial, deeply passionate and even uncomfortable for members of the university community. The establishment of parameters for such activities does not arise from any desire by the University to control such activities or impose a civility code but, rather, is derived from the consonant principle that such activities must not materially disrupt other university functions or interfere with the freedom of others, or otherwise violate the rights of others.
Demonstrations that take place inside university facilities, including all university buildings and the enclosed courtyard areas they bound, always have great potential to disrupt normal functions. Hence, it is necessary to give particular attention to the rights of all members of the university community when demonstrations take place in these facilities.
As such, these Guidelines on Demonstrations in University Facilities establish rules for carrying out demonstrations – understood as speech activities and expression enjoying the basic protection of the right to free expression – in university facilities. They also establish procedures for supervising such demonstrations, protecting the rights of demonstrators, and protecting the rights of others and the University. These Guidelines are structured to balance the University's desire to strongly encourage the exercise of free speech as well as political and community activism by its students, faculty and staff with the desire to prevent or minimize incidents that result in suspensions, expulsions, arrests and/or significant disruption of university operations.