Student Development Office

Governing Board Statement on Disruption

The Board of Trustees of Western Illinois University is the governing board for the University. The Board was created to operate, manage, control, and maintain the University, and it is specifically charged by statute with making rules and regulations for the good government and management of the University. In keeping with this responsibility, the Board has established a policy statement governing campus disturbances.

This policy enunciated herein is in no sense intended to deprive any person of his/her rights of free speech and assembly; and the exercise of those rights in a lawful manner is to be encouraged at every institution under the jurisdiction of this Board. Actions, however, which deprive others of their rights without due process of law cannot be justified. All too often campus disturbances disrupt educational functions, deprive the majority of the right to pursue their education, and result in injury to persons and extensive damage to property. The state, no less than a private property owner, has the right and responsibility to preserve property under its control for the use to which it is lawfully dedicated. Neither the United States Constitution, nor the Constitution of the State of Illinois, precludes the state from controlling the use of its own property for lawful, nondiscriminatory purposes.

Accordingly, in order that normal educational purposes can continue without interruption and in order that individual safety, personal freedoms, and property rights can be enjoyed without impairment, this Board declares that unlawful activities will not be tolerated on the campus of any institution under its jurisdiction. In particular, the Board believes that Chapter 720 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) provides appropriate penalties for dealing with persons who willfully damage state property or commit trespass on this campus.

Criminal acts including bomb threats, constituting Disorderly Conduct, Chapter 720 Section 5/26-1 Illinois Compiled Statues and those specifically covered by Section 720 5/29D-20 and Section 720 5/29D-25 of the Illinois Compiled Statues, are classified as Terrorist Acts. Acts of this kind will be prosecuted and the perpetrators are subject to felony convictions and extended periods of incarceration. Additionally, federal criminal prosecution may also be initiated without notice to the University.

Criminal damage to state property is committed by one who does any of the acts specified in Chapter 720 Section 5/21-4, Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) and, without regard to time or place, any person who knowingly damages campus property violates the law and should be arrested and prosecuted.

Criminal trespass to state land is committed by one who enters upon the campus or a building with legal notice that entry therein is forbidden or who remains in an area after notice to depart. It is lawful and proper to prescribe reasonable regulations as to conditions and times for access to campus buildings. Entrances, halls, and exits must be kept open for normal operations and the safety of others; offices are to be used for purposes intended; and buildings are to be cleared and closed at established hours. Persons who violate such reasonable regulations should be notified to depart. This advice and notification should be given publicly and orally by an authorized representative. Thereafter, if such persons remain, a police officer should advise them that they are in violation of the law (Chapter 720 Section 5/21-5 Illinois Compiled Statutes [ILCS]) and that they will be arrested if they do not depart. In appropriate circumstances, court action of the injunctive or criminal nature should be sought.

Interference with a public institution of higher education is committed by one who, without authority from the institution, through force or violence, actual or threatened, willfully acts as prohibited by Chapter 720 Section 5/21.2-2, Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS). In appropriate circumstances, court action of the injunctive or criminal nature should be sought.

Members of a campus community who participate in unlawful activities that disrupt educational functions will be dealt with in accordance with established disciplinary and administrative processes. Such processes may be invoked regardless of either civil or criminal actions arising out of the same event.

When the president of the institution, in her/his judgment, believes that unlawful activities that disrupt educational functions warrant, she/he is directed to make prompt application to those agencies provided by the state for the purpose of dealing with those who break the law. Police should be summoned without delay, public prosecutors should be advised of the situation, and the courts should be asked to make timely disposition of all cases resulting from the incident.

Education is the living and growing source of our progressive civilization, of our open repository of increasing knowledge, culture, and salutary democratic traditions. It deserves our highest respect and fullest support in the performance of its lawful mission. No person, without liability to lawful processes, may intentionally act to impair or prevent the accomplishment of the lawful mission, process, or function of an educational institution.