So you want to exercise your first amendment right…

As our community navigates the election season and the on-going COVID-19 impacts, the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) has provided safety tips and resources to keep our community safe. 

“Ensuring that our community members not only are safe but feel safe is a top priority for the Division of Public Safety and Security,” said Executive Director Eddie L. Washington, Jr. “We understand that feeling safe stems from trust and we strive to build strong and collaborative relationships with our community.”

To help with understanding the university policies and state and federal statutes that govern demonstration rights and safety, we have updated our Protest and Demonstrations Safety tip page. Here, you will find links to relevant laws and policies as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

Here’s what you should keep in mind if you’re considering attending a protest:

  • Consider your risk level. People who are immunocompromised or have certain diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, have a higher risk of severe cases of COVID-19. But it’s not just about individual risk, you should also consider the health of the other people in your household, especially if they are older or have weakened immune systems
  • Wear a mask and social distance. Political events and protests are dynamic environments with big crowds. Nevertheless, you should still try to distance from the people around you to reduce transmission.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Try not to touch things and other people. 
  • Get tested. Consider getting a COVID-19 test after participating in a crowded event. 
  • Familiarize yourself with de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques. When engaging with others, often the best thing we can do is to listen and to affirm what is being said.
  • Follow the directions of law enforcement. In general, it is likely that you will encounter law enforcement presence at an organized event. The goal of this presence is not to deter individuals from participating, but to protect the constitutional rights and ensure the safety of those present.

If you ever feel unsafe or see suspicious activity, do not hesitate to contact DPSS at (734) 763-1131 or 911 in an emergency. 

Additionally, we want to remind our community that there are resources available to them to cope with the additional stressors that an election season brings. Please visit the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website to learn more about managing election-related stress.