Civil Disorder/Demonstrations


The purpose of the Missouri State University Safety and Transportation Department Civil Disturbance Plan is to establish plans and procedures to control demonstrations, sit-ins, and civil disorders. The objectives of the plan are to:

  • Protect and ensure the mission of Missouri State University;
  • Protect and ensure the safety of the students, faculty, staff and visitors;
  • Ensure the orderly conduct of Missouri State University business on University property and affected surrounding areas;
  • Indicate areas of responsibility, a requirement for advanced planning including regular training of response personnel in the most up-to-date techniques of controlling both violent and non-violent demonstrations; and
  • Describe the duties and responsibilities associated with the execution of this plan.

It is the Safety and Transportation Department's mission to:

  • Provide optimum protection for people and property on the Missouri State University campus
  • Ensure the demonstrators are controlled with proper regard for their legal and constitutional rights
  • Allow all decisions required during the conduct of a demonstration (e.g., the decision to arrest or evict non-violent demonstrators) to be the responsibility of the Director of Safety and Transportation, or his/her designated representative.
  • Make sure the Director shall discuss all alternatives before action is taken or arrest(s) are made in the case of demonstrations that do not interrupt University business or are otherwise non-violent.


  1. The Director of Safety and Transportation or his/her designate is responsible for the necessary advance planning and execution of the plan. The Director of Safety and Transportation will decide on the course of action to be taken in all non-violent civil disturbances and insure that the University Public Safety Officers are fully trained and able to respond competently to any demonstration or disturbance.
  2. The Director of Safety and Transportation or his/her designate, formulates policy and advises the Safety and Transportation staff and Supervisors of situations during the demonstration; ensures that current plans are in place for joint actions with the Springfield Police Department, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and concerned Federal Agencies; if the University needs augmentation; and takes appropriate action in the event of a disturbance on the University Campus.

General guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all demonstrations, large or small, violent or non-violent.

  1. When the University receives information that a demonstration is planned or in progress, the Radio Communications Center will notify:
    • Shift Supervisor
    • Director of Safety and Transportation
    • Assistant Director of Safety
  2. Unless advised not to proceed any further by one of the above, the communications operator will inform everyone mentioned above of the information received, initial action taken, and that further information will be forthcoming.
  3. Control of demonstrations/demonstrators will be handled in close cooperation with law enforcement agencies, the Springfield Prosecutor’s Office and the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, if necessary.
  4. Where there is prior notice that a demonstration will take place, the Director or his/her designated representative will decide whether a building will be placed under total security or just some of the entrances will be closed. Entrances that remain open will be manned by PSO’s and/or police officers. Only persons having proper authority or are identified by occupants will be permitted to enter. Demonstrators will be denied entry to such areas.
  5. When no prior notification of a planned demonstration has been received, but one is in progress or is evident by the presence of persons who give evidence of being demonstrators. The command Officer-in-charge will evaluate the situation, consider corrective measures, decide on the actions necessary, and make recommendations to the Director.
  6. Peaceful (non-violent) non-campus affiliated demonstrators and those who do not interrupt university business will not be arrested unless authorized by the Director or his designated representative. They will be asked to move to the Bear Paw.
  7. A control point will be established in the office of the Director or another designated location. Coordination and communication with University Administrators and other law enforcement agencies will be from this point.
  8. The PSO’s will be dispersed according to location, crowd size and number of demonstrators to seal off the areas affected by the activists. The Director or his designated representative will try to negotiate with the demonstrators to move to or remain in the designated area.
  9. If civil disturbance occurs in or adjacent to an area or environment that might constitute a health or safety hazard, the University Environmental Safety personnel will be requested. In addition the Springfield Fire Department will be advised.
  10. Determine the identity of the leader(s) in the group.
  11. Determine why they are here and what they want.
  12. Quickly assess what they are doing and what their plan of action appears to be.
  13. Set up a Field Command Post for monitoring and directing operations. The Director or his/her designate will be in charge. Policy decisions and any other high-level decisions must be relayed to this point. It will be located as near to the site of the incident as is safe and practical.
  14. If a building is occupied by demonstrators or is the target of the demonstrators, seal off the building. Consider emptying the occupied areas of the building of all employees and visitors either at this stage or later, and lock up adjacent offices so demonstrators cannot get into them, invade their files, and use telephones. Pay attention to the security of classified information in certain building(s) occupied. Depending on the situation, arrange for shutdown of elevators, phones and utilities.
  15. The Director or his designated spokesperson will ask the demonstrators to vacate the premises and explain the Universities Expressive Activity Policy. If the demonstrators do not respond, they will be asked a second time to vacate the premises and told the Springfield Police Department will be summoned to the area. After telling the demonstrators a third time to vacate the University property, the Director or his spokesperson will sign a Trespassing Complaint against the demonstrators.
  16. Recall all needed off-duty personnel as soon as possible.
  17. Shifts may be changed from eight to twelve hour shifts if the demonstration may continue beyond twenty-four hours. This should be included in advance planning and all ranks should be assigned to work.
  18. After all demonstrators have been evicted, secure building and areas. PSOs will be assigned to the buildings to ensure that it remains secure.

Specific guidelines

  1. SITUATION A – NON-VIOLENT SIT-IN: Small number of demonstrators, up to 10 people. Apply general guidelines.
  2. SITUATION B – NON-VIOLENT SIT IN: A large number of demonstrators. Apply general guidelines.
  3. SITUATION C – VIOLENT DEMONSTRATIONS: Large or small crowds.
    • Apply general guidelines.
    • Immediate action must be taken to arrest and bring the situation under control.
    • The Springfield Municipal Prosecuting Attorney will be notified.
    • The Greene County Sheriffs Department will be notified.
  4. SITUATION D – ILLEGAL ACTION BY FEW PEOPLE: Break-in destroying property, assaulting people, and so forth. Immediate arrest may be warranted. Do not await instructions or policy decisions.
    • If any demonstrators who have been evicted return to University property and attempt to resume their demonstrations, the arrest/eviction process should be repeated and the Prosecutor’s office advised of the fact that they are repeat offenders.
    • It may be necessary to implement those general guidelines that were discontinued when the demonstrators were initially removed.

Advanced planning

Although civil disturbances on the University property are likely to be infrequent; advance plans are necessary to ensure that the Safety and Transportation Department and the Springfield Police Department are fully prepared to respond with extreme competence and speed to any incident or threat of an incident. Therefore, the University will have plans dealing with:

  • Training and retraining of officers.
  • Assistance from local law enforcement departments.
  • Liaison with the Springfield City Prosecutor’s and the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.
  • Recall of off-duty personnel and reassignment of personnel.


No rigid rules can be laid down for dealing with every type of situation that may arise. Certain broad guidelines have been established for most situations that may be encountered on University property. These are described below. Unless otherwise designated, the supervisor in charge is responsible for selecting and applying the guidelines as the situation dictates.