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Freedom of speech is guaranteed under both the U.S. and California Constitutions. Speech generally is fully protected unless it is accompanied by, or incites, illegal activity. This includes the expression of unpopular or controversial viewpoints and speech that is viewed as hateful or offensive. While the University cannot regulate the content of protected speech, it can regulate the time, place and manner of activities on campus.

Please remember that constitutionally protected speech alone is not subject to discipline under the Code of Student Conduct. Nevertheless, conduct that violates University rules is not protected, such as threats of violence, bullying, and/or certain severe or pervasive harassment. Our office can help if you need to report such conduct.


Visit UC Merced's Freedom of Speech Website or for additional resources please contact our office by email or phone at (209) 228-0069.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities provides services for students planning to protest:

  • Educate on policies to avoid violating campus regulations and Code of Student Conduct that could result in Student Conduct action
  • Clarify 'time, place and manner' policies and grounds open to the public
  • Referral to appropriate resources
  • Recommendation for a successful protest or free speech action
  • Discuss legal implications that could come into play depending on the type of action being planned
  • Advise on how to avoid clashes with counter protestors

UC Merced Peaceful Protest Guidelines
Policy on Expressive Activities and Protest