The Division of Student Affairs at CU Boulder holds that student activism plays an important role in students’ personal, academic, and leadership development. Through activism, students learn to advocate for their values and beliefs, values that are sometimes newly discovered through their studies and co-curricular endeavors at the university. Activism offers students an opportunity to contextualize and apply the academic study of pressing social issues and exercise their freedom of expression. Holding an organized, thoughtful demonstration also challenges students to hone a variety of leadership skills, such as diplomacy, responsibility, accountability, motivation, communication, and coalition-building, to name a few. Student activism, in short, can play a vital component in CU’s Flagship 2030 mission to provide a university environment that fosters global awareness and civic engagement.
Student Affairs personnel are committed to providing support and guidance to students who wish to organize demonstrations, even if students are expressing opposition to the University’s administrative decisions. Student Affairs staff can provide the following to student activists:
- Guidance regarding University policies that were developed to keep the campus safe and accessible
- Information about university organizational structure and institutional history so that students can best reach their intended audience
- Access to meetings with a Student Affairs professional to address the students’ concerns if applicable
- Receptiveness and openness to students’ ideas about how to improve the campus
- Leadership resources about effective actions, connections and forms of communication to achieve their goals
- Resources for support and advocacy services for self-care and community care
- Inclusion in committees and task forces to address issues affecting students
Student Engagement Response Team
Student Affairs staff established the Student Engagement Response Team (SERT) to support students’ awareness of campus policies, impacts to CU’s academic mission and the Student Code of Conduct when they have an event (planned or impromptu) that may fall under descriptors such as demonstrations, protests or rallies. SERT is not responsible for the event, its activities, messages or logistics—its goal is to help students hold educational and successful events that follow campus policies, while also allowing their voices to be heard.