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University of Utah President Taylor Randall’s statement on protestor encampment

Yesterday, April 29 at 4 p.m., protestors began setting up an encampment in front of the John R. Park building on Presidents Circle.

Several attempts were made by members of our administration and the university’s Academic Senate to connect with and listen to student protesters. Along with faculty members who were at the protest to support students, they discussed and explained that, while we fully support their constitutional rights, the establishment of an encampment was in violation of university policy and state law.

On April 30 at 12:45 a.m., University of Utah Police—in collaboration with Salt Lake City Police, Unified Police, Utah Highway Patrol and West Valley City Police—cleared the encampment.

I hold an unwavering belief in the power of freely expressed ideas to improve our state and world. I want the students and faculty who lawfully protested yesterday to know their voices are heard and matter. They are welcome to continue to express their views legally and peacefully.

At the University of Utah, you have an absolute right to express your opinion. You do not have the right to violate law or university policy. It is unlawful to set up structures or camp overnight on university property.

The University of Utah will continue to support free expression and enforce the rule of law.

It’s graduation week. On Thursday we will celebrate 8,652 graduates and confer 9,266 degrees to students from every state and 64 countries. I ask our campus community to support our graduates by expressing views in a dignified, peaceful, and legal manner. By doing so, we exercise our right of free expression, honor our graduates, and exemplify civil society.