Statement from John F. Burness on New Black Panther Party Demonstration

Duke University is aware from reports in the news media that the New Black Panther Party plans to hold a demonstration at an entrance to the university's West Campus on Monday morning, May 1. While the university has no intention of limiting anyone's right to free speech, we also cannot let the safety of our campus be jeopardized nor can we allow our students to be disrupted, especially during our final exam period. Officials from the university, the City of Durham, and the Duke and Durham police departments have been in communication about this event and are working closely together to ensure that the rights and safety of all on our campus are not threatened, and that any demonstrations near campus abide by all appropriate state and local laws and university regulations regarding pickets and protests.

City officials have informed us that so far this group has not obtained the necessary legal permit to hold such a demonstration. If such a permit is obtained, any access by demonstrators to our campus will be tightly controlled and monitored, and no disruptions of our students will be tolerated.