Helping Students Demonstrate Safely

Center for Student Involvement provides training for advisors to help student groups follow the rules and stay safe on campus

Kent State University has a strong history of student activism. The university wants to ensure students can exercise their right to protest, demonstrate and march about issues that matter to them. And to do it safely.

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) is responsible for all student organizations on campus and provides numerous training courses for student organizations and their advisors. The dedication of the center and student organization advisors help create a culture of respect and support for Kent State’s global community.

The center recently provided the "Advisor 101: Marches & Demonstrations” training for faculty and staff advisors of student organizations in the Pepsi Leadership Center, Room 220 of the Kent Student Center. The presentation, led by Ben Davis, Ed.D., director of the Center of Student Involvement, shared protocols, hypotheticals and ideas on how marches and demonstrations can take place. 

Ben Davis, director of the Center of Student Involvement, presents to student org advisors

Students can conduct marches and demonstrations on campus by working with the Center for Student Involvement to ensure safety protocols and policies are adhered to. Student organizations can reserve areas such as Risman Plaza and the Lefton Esplanade to voice concerns and speak to the rest of the student body.

“Groups on-campus or off-campus who reserve a space on campus are granted exclusive use for that space during the time of their reservation,” Davis said. “That essentially means is that they have the ability to regulate who can and who cannot engage with their activities in that space."

The vast majority of student and community activism on campus happens without a reservation or prior notice, Davis said. But it’s not without some risk since the university is a public space. 

"There are advantages to planning ahead and reserving spaces, but knowing that we as CSI and Kent State don’t always know something or someone is coming until they are out on the plaza is an important distinction. When they do come unannounced, because it is a public space, we cannot remove them unless someone else has the space reserved."

That’s why the training is such an important part of student organization leadership.

“I believe that we can have ‘safe places’ within Kent State,” Davis said. “I think that safe spaces are going to be different for different people. A space that may feel safe to you may not feel safe to another person.”  

The Center for Student Involvement provides these optional training sessions for advisors to stay up to date with university procedures. Student organizations can work with the Center for Student Involvement to ensure a safe environment for protests.  

Ben Davis, director of the Center of Student Involvement, presents to student org advisors

The last monthly session for the academic year will be held from 9-10 a.m. on March 6 in the Pepsi Leadership Center and will focus on "Registration and Effective Officer Transitions." It will cover the 2024-'25 registration process for student organizations that will open on April 1.

“This past academic year, we have had monthly in-person or virtual training sessions since September that covered a variety of topics,” said Joe Robinson, assistant director of campus connections and traditions at the center. “These topics included registration, scheduling campus spaces, catering, marketing/promotion, Undergraduate Student Government funding, marches and demonstrations, and accessible marketing.”

Advisors can sign up for these training sessions by contacting the Center for Student Involvement at and/or 330-672-5288.

Explore the Center for Student Involvement.

Learn more about or find a student organization.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 20, 2024 11:37 AM
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2024 11:36 AM
Luke Trupo, Luke Armour, Flash Communications
Luke Trupo