Concerns from Activists Prompt Rutgers to Review Its “Disruption” Policy

By Jack Murtha

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers University President Robert Barchi said recent revisions to a longstanding policy governing the line between a protest and a disruption haven’t clamped down on political speech and activities on campus.

But the school’s faculty union and other activists—including Carimer Andujar, the rising senior and undocumented immigrant whose status here was recently questioned by federal immigration authorities—disagree. They attended yesterday’s June 15 Board of Governors meeting in New Brunswick to voice various concerns with the updated policy, specifically a provision against demonstrations that interfere with vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

In response, the board’s incoming chair, Sandy Stewart, said he and the administration will further review the policy change.

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“I would like to sit down with [Barchi] and see what we can resolve with that,” Stewart said. “We’ll discuss it. We’ll go back to the committee.”

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“As a university—which is supposed to be a beacon for the free exchange of ideas, a place where we can safely and civilly exchange those and express ourselves—it’s a very, very poor move to create a new policy that is more specific and represses things,” said Rob Scott, a professor who studies human evolution.

Andujar, meanwhile, said she benefitted from protests that could be barred under the policy. When her status in this country came into question, activists staged a rally at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus and one outside the federal building in Newark.

“We’re more or less concerned with how this is going to be carried out, and if there are going to be certain biases toward certain students,” Andujar said.

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