The Department of Safety and Security and Office of Emergency Management recognize that many students, faculty, staff, and members of the community want to exercise their freedom of expression regarding current events at rallies and demonstrations. Although many of these events are safe, crowds can be targets for violence or create opportunity for violence. Danger in crowds can be triggered by the emotions or actions of participants, bystanders, or external individuals who may not share the purpose or intent of the event. The following tips are offered for personal awareness and not to discourage participation. The list is not exclusive, and everyone must make personal safety decisions before and during an event.
- During the pandemic, wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and carry hand sanitizer. Notice persons near you without masks, especially if they are acting in a way that could spread coronavirus (like shouting or singing).
- Be aware of the influence your actions have on others and their actions on you.
- Look at items people are carrying. Could these items be dangerous, used to instigate, or escalate violence? If you sense danger, move away.
- Be aware of the clothing people are wearing. Is it emblematic of groups or causes and are those causes consistent with yours? If you sense danger, move away.
- Be aware of the behaviors of others near you. If these behaviors could provoke violence, move away.
- Look for vehicles in the area and vehicle movement that could be dangerous. If you observe a vehicle moving among the crowd, move quickly away to a safe location and alert others.
- Be alert to any discarded or abandoned items like book bags or backpacks. Move away from the item and alert authorities.
- Don’t stop or stand near objects that could fall from above.
- Don’t stand near or against immovable objects such as walls, doors or barricades that would limit your options to exit from an area.
- Stay on the outside edges of the crowd and maintain your options to exit quickly and safely.