College and university campuses hold a variety of events for the benefits of their students. With people from various backgrounds attending the schools, some of the topics or speakers might bring up issues that others don’t agree with. Although students have the right to peacefully protest, doing so in a manner that interferes with or disrupts the event could result in criminal charges.
Two students at the University of Arizona were arrested for disrupting a career day event when they walked into a classroom in which border patrol agents were giving a presentation. The students recorded with their camera phones as they stood outside the room where the event was taking place. One of the students could be heard expressing her opinions about the agency.
The two students were asked to participate in the event or leave. They did not go into the classroom but stayed in the doorway to protest the career day. One of the students said the agents’ presence on campus made her feel unsafe.
After the event, the two students followed the Border Patrol agents outside, where a group of protestors were waiting.
The president of the university said that the protest was acceptable, but interrupting the presentation was not. The two students were charged with interference with or disruption of an educational institution.
This offense occurs when a person:
- Knowingly interrupts the operations of an educational institution by either:
- Threatening to harm an employee, student, or visitor of the institution; or
- Threatening to damage school property or the belongings of an employee or student
- Knowingly remains on school grounds to interfere with the lawful use of the facilities
- Knowingly stays on campus after they have been told to leave
If the individual threatens to harm another or damage property, they face a class 6 felony charge. Remaining on school grounds to interfere with operations or when asked to leave is a class 1 misdemeanor offense.
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