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A protestor hides their face behind a sign during the Oct. 20 protest against Ohio University's interim 'Freedom of Expression' policy.

Interactive: A timeline of the 'Freedom of Expression' policy

On Feb. 1, a crowd of about 300 people gathered at the Athens County Courthouse and marched through the streets to the fourth floor of Baker Center. 

The group criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and demanded that then-Ohio University President Roderick McDavis make OU a sanctuary campus. 

OU Police Department officers stood at the edges of the crowd, and OUPD Chief Andrew Powers told protesters that if they did not leave before 7:30 p.m., they would be arrested. 

The night ended with 70 people arrested for criminal trespassing. The charges were dropped after an Athens Municipal Court judge found one of the protesters not guilty.

The university announced an interim policy in September regarding expression on campus. 

The “Freedom of Expression” policy bans “demonstrations, rallies, public speech-making, picketing, sit-ins, marches, protests, and similar assemblies” inside university buildings. The policy states that students may reserve space indoors to participate in “constitutionally protected speech.”

Since the policy was announced, it has drawn criticism from students, faculty members and others who are concerned about its effects on free speech. 


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