Message from President Roberts: First Amendment Rights & the Courtyard

Dear Colleague,

The weather is warming up which often means individuals will come on campus to exercise their First Amendment Right of Expression. On Monday, May 13, we had such an individual who was verbalizing his views in the College’s Courtyard. I understand that some students and employees may have encountered this individual and may have an array of emotions and feelings. It is important to know that the College has its own clear Community Standard statement that does not align with the individual’s point of view.

The College can also take action in accordance with our policies and procedures. This means that if a person’s behavior disrupts the teaching, learning, and/or business operations of the College, or threatens someone’s physical safety, a response team from Safety & Security and Executive Team will organize and respond to the situation accordingly.

If anyone on campus takes an action that makes you or your students feel harassed, discriminated against, or threatened, you are encouraged to respond in one of two ways:

  • If you are concerned for anyone’s physical safety, contact Safety & Security at 206-546-4633 (or 911 if it’s an emergency)
  • If you witness or know of any incident that goes against our Community Standard, please report it to the Community Standard email address ( initiate an investigation and response

If you know of anyone, especially students, who were affected by the incident on Monday and may still be in need of support, please refer them to the Counseling Center for support (206-546-4594, FOSS Building 5000, Room 5245). And if you are personally feeling distressed and in need of any support, please make sure to access our Employee Assistance Program (877-313-4455).

Based on prior experience, we know this may not be the last time we see such an incident on campus, so I hope this information provides reassurance that the College has a response plan in place for situations like this, and that there are steps you can take to report and share information. The more we understand what’s happening on campus, the better we can respond with a collective action that helps us live into the values of our Community Standard, while ensuring we uphold First Amendment rights, as required by law.


Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.


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