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The University of Hawaiʻi is proud to be a vibrant hub of disparate opinions, including those that oppose decisions made by the University. Committed to the free and open exchange of ideas, the University affirms the rights of members of its community to engage in speech and other expressive activity guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaiʻi.

In anticipation of further peaceful demonstrations and protests, this communication provides UH faculty and staff with information in the event they encounter forms of expression that may alarm them or prevent them from accessing or leaving their place of employment. The University’s top priority is the safety of all involved at all times. This document does not replace applicable laws and rules, or policies and guidance adopted by the University and its units.

Stay Informed

  • Sign up for UH Alert Notifications at, and follow alerts from the University, law enforcement and media.
  • If applicable, familiarize yourself with your facility’s emergency response plan and procedures.
  • Know where information is posted about office closings or other announcements.

Exercise Understanding

  • Be respectful of everyone’s opinions and rights (including demonstrators), and try not to take others’ positions personally.
  • Exercise patience and understanding while respecting the roles of law enforcement authorities by not personally interrupting ceremonies that are part of demonstrations or protests.
  • If ceremonial structures have been erected by demonstrators, do not intervene and leave them to proper authorities.
  • Ask any necessary questions in a polite manner and do not engage in verbal confrontations.
  • If you are personally confronted, remain calm and do not raise your voice or escalate the situation; show restraint and request assistance if you feel threatened.
  • Do not physically engage demonstrators.
  • If you choose to record video or photographs of protestors, do not put yourself in potential danger.

What to Do

  • Follow all directions from law enforcement officials.
  • If someone is hurt, threatened, harmed, or you witness illegal activity, call 911 for assistance.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to the appropriate authorities. If on campus, call 911 and also alert your respective campus security office rather than trying to resolve the situation on your own.

More Information for Specific Scenarios:

Demonstrations and Protests on Public Roads

Although allowed in some instances by permit, it is generally unlawful to conduct a demonstration or protest that blocks traffic on a public roadway or that hinders traffic flow, e.g., processions in the street. In any case, avoid confrontation with demonstrators. If your way is obstructed by demonstrators, consider the following:

  • Locate an alternate route of travel around the demonstration. If none is available, retreat and alert appropriate authorities that assistance with access is necessary.
  • If the road is not fully blocked, use extreme caution and only proceed if you are able to safely maneuver past the demonstration and if you are comfortable doing so.
  • Drive very slowly with as little interaction with the demonstrators as possible.
  • If you are prevented from continuing on your trip because of a roadblock or demonstration, politely explain your situation. Ask for permission to continue. If denied permission, retreat to a safe location if possible and call emergency services at 911.

Occupation of Work Facility

  • If there is a prior warning of occupation or protest, lock the doors, and do not allow entrance into the building. Do not put yourself in danger.
  • If the building has already been entered by protesters, contact police by calling 911.
    • Politely ask the protesters to leave, but under no circumstances attempt to remove them forcibly.
    • Keep interaction at a minimum. If you feel threatened in any way, leave the area.

Please remember to keep your supervisor and your unit informed of the situations discussed above. If you are on campus, call 911 and also alert your campus’ security office.

We understand that this might be a stressful time. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may be able to help. EAP provides confidential, short-term, professional counseling services to employees. You can read more about EAP at or call them Toll-Free at (800) 994-3571.

If you have questions, please contact your supervisor and/or email

Last modified: July 18, 2019
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