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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Committee on a Civil, Safe and Open Environment, created by UF President Machen after the September Tasering of UF student Andrew Meyer, has released a draft of recommendations to improve UF's public forum policies.

Meyer was Tasered by UF police officers Sept. 17 at a forum with Sen. John Kerry after officers said Meyer disrupted the event and resisted arrest.

Among the suggestions was adopting a Right to Dissent Policy, which would give listeners the right to peacefully disagree with a speaker.

The University of Maryland has a similar policy, which states that a dissenter must not interfere with "the speaker's ability to communicate" or "the audience's ability to hear, see or question the speaker."

The committee also stated it would try to improve UF's student conduct code and other rules that govern campus behavior.

UF should assemble a clear code of behavior for non-students and provide a definition of "disturbing the peace," the committee stated.

Kim Tanzer, chairwoman of the committee, said members plan to meet with Taser experts in the next few weeks.

She said the committee's final report, which will also address free speech and what constitutes a violation, should be available in February.

Once the report is released, Tanzer said she hopes UF will heed the recommendations made, and the committee will no longer be needed.

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