As a community of scholars, Emory University is committed to an environment where open expression of ideas is valued, promoted, and encouraged. Recognizing that the educational process of our institution requires diverse forms of open expression – including freedom of thought, inquiry, speech, activism, and assembly – the university affirms the rights of members of the community to assemble and demonstrate peaceably within the limits of this policy. The university must simultaneously maintain the right of community members to pursue their day-to-day activities and to be protected from physical injury or property damage. The Respect for Open Expression Policy was therefore implemented in 2013 to affirm Emory’s unwavering commitment to open expression while acknowledging the challenges and tensions these actions could create in an ever-changing community.

Open Expression Observers are charged by the vice president and dean for Campus Life to:

  • Protect the rights of the community members to express their opinions in non-disruptive ways
  • Serve as resources to community members regarding the policy and policy violations
  • Act as liaisons between community members and Emory Police and/or university administrators
  • Protect the right of community members to pursue their day-to-day activities
  • Provide information on how to avoid violating the Policy.

To request an observer at your event, please fill out this form. For urgent requests, contact the Assistant Vice President of Campus Life, Suzanne Onorato, at suzanne.onorato@emory.edu or 404-727-7190. On the Oxford Campus, contact Michele Hempfling at michele.hempfling@emory.edu or 770-784-8383.

Open Expression Observers are members of the university community who:

  • Hold a faculty or staff appointment
  • Represent all university units and schools
  • Promote the ideals of open expression in the Emory community

Members of the community who are selected as Open Expression Observers must:

  • Commit to serving as an Open Expression Observer for two years
  • Be able to observe meetings, events, and/or protests whenever they may occur (e.g. evenings, weekends, workweek)
  • Be trained by Emory Campus Life

To apply to be an Open Expression Observer, please fill out this application. For questions about serving in this role, contact the Assistant Vice President of Campus Life, Suzanne Onorato, at suzanne.onorato@emory.edu or 404-727-7190. On the Oxford Campus, contact Michele Hempfling at michele.hempfling@emory.edu or 770-784-8383.