Media Contact

Ann Mullen,, 313-400-8562  

April 3, 2024


DETROIT, Mich. – Today, the ACLU of Michigan sent a letter to the University of Michigan expressing concern over its proposed ‘Disruptive Activity Policy,’ urging the University to either abandon the proposed policy or substantially re-write it. The letter, which is addressed to university President Santa J. Ono and Vice President and General Counsel Timothy Lynch, describes the proposed policy as vague and overbroad, and risks chilling free speech expression on campus.

The letter also details how the proposed policy’s ambiguous language can result in discriminatory enforcement, which could include targeting those whose speech is unpopular, controversial, or critical of university officials. The vagueness of the policy can also lead to racial disparities in student discipline and campus policing.

While the letter acknowledges that the University has an interest in carrying out its operations without major disruptions, it warns that the proposed policy would unnecessarily limit civil liberties, particularly the right of free speech and protest. The letter also questions why the policy is needed given that the University already has policies that respect freedom of expression while providing relatively clear guidance about what is prohibited at various campus events.

Lastly, the letter criticizes the policy as unnecessarily punitive, threatening violators with expulsion and even referrals for criminal charges.

“In sum, the proposed Disruptive Activity Policy is vague and overbroad, it fails to make important distinctions that would prevent predictable First Amendment violations, and if adopted in its current form the policy risks chilling a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech and expression on campus,” the letter states. “We urge the University to cure these errors through a substantial rewriting of the policy… [or] reconsider whether adopting this policy is even necessary in light of relevant existing policies and procedures."

The ACLU’s letter can be read below.