Berea College has a long history of public engagement and nonviolent social justice activism that stems from John G. Fee’s commitment to provide for “all peoples of the earth” an education that gives a new future to those on the margins of society. In supporting freedom of expression and the civic engagement of students, faculty, and staff, the institution must also exercise due diligence both in mitigating potential risks to members of the campus community and in allocating College funds for appropriate educational purposes. Therefore, this policy attends to the administrative oversight of the funding and the safety/security dimensions of College-funded civic engagement and leaves the judgment of curricular and co-curricular elements of such engagement to the faculty.
In order for institutional funds or resources, including but not limited to mandatory student fees, budgeted funds, and College vehicles, to be used for demonstrations, public protests, or similar activities, such activities must be, first and foremost, for the benefit of our students’ education. Such off-campus trips and activities must also receive prior approval by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty (AVP/Dean) to ensure the activity: (1) is consistent with the fundamental principles of the College, (2) incorporates a high-quality learning experience with two or more qualified faculty depending on the size of the group, and (3) reasonably provides for the safety and security of participants. Proposals should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the proposed trip by the faculty sponsor(s) to the AVP/Dean who, after consultation with the Administrative Committee, will decide. If approved by the AVP/Dean, relevant provisions of the College’s travel and purchasing policy will apply. Individuals are, of course, free to engage in non-College-funded activities according to their personal convictions and conscience. The College strongly encourages participants to exercise due regard for personal and group safety in the planning and execution of such activities. Illegal conduct is not condoned by the College and participants are, in all instances, responsible for the consequences of their conduct.