- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A recent review of how the University of Missouri regulates free speech and the use of public grounds says the campus is considering enforcing a 67-year-old rule that prohibits overnight camping.

A committee that formed in January conducted the review after the Concerned Student 1950 group spent a week in tents on the university’s Columbia campus in November, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1WBCxVc ) reported.

The rule against camping overnight says a person can’t create a “bedroom or living room” on campus grounds. The regulation, which dates to 1949, doesn’t specifically address tents or tent cities that are only occupied during the day.

There is a health and safety concern,” said Bob Jerry, a law professor and chairman of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protests, Public Spaces, Free Speech and the Press.

University officials Monday didn’t address why they didn’t enforce the rule last fall. But they did say it’s being looked into as part of its broad-based review.

The committee is also considering distribution of fliers, protests inside buildings and guidelines for reserving outdoor event spaces.

The goal of the committee, made up of students, faculty and administrators, is to make all the campus and system rules that pertain to public spaces and free speech easily accessible for the community.

“After the shake-up in the fall, one thing that kept coming up was, what are the rules about public space and what should they be?” said Ben Trachtenberg, chairman of the Faculty Council. “Are people allowed to put tents on the quad?”

Jerry said no recommendation on the 1949 rule has been made by the committee, which is still working on a final report for the university.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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