October 26, 2011
Open Letter to Occupy Seattle
Seattle Central Community College is committed to its mission of providing for jobs training and educational advancement for its students. Primary consideration is given at all times to activities related to this mission. Furthermore, no arrangements will be made that interferes with, or operate to the detriment of the college's mission and providing for a safe learning environment.
Seattle Central Community College learned yesterday that Occupy Seattle protesters voted to move its base of operations to Seattle Central with the intent to camp on college property. Camping on college property is prohibited for all individuals and groups. If this rule is violated, the college may choose to impose its own sanctions, including criminal or civil prosecution.
As an educational institution supported and maintained by the people of Washington state, Seattle Central supports the free speech rights of individuals and groups. However, as a State institution, Seattle Central neither sponsors nor endorses activities or opinions expressed by Occupy Seattle protesters. The college will not be liable for any injuries or damages whatsoever.
In addition, Occupy Seattle will not be allowed to interfere with any pre-existing lease agreements for legal and authorized use of its property.. For example, the Broadway Sunday Farmers Market has a legal contract with Seattle Central Community College to stage the market on designated outdoor campus areas, including areas targeted by Occupy Seattle.
The Neighborhood Farmers Market Association (NFMA) has expressed concern about possible disruptions to its activities. NFMA holds contracts with 45 small local farms and businesses and any interruption of this event would create serious consequences to their revenues and to NFMA operations. Occupy Seattle will be required to provide recompense to the NFMA for any disruption of market activities, including access for set- up, take-down and sales.
In addition, Seattle Central's authorized community engagement activities are also at risk of disruption. For example, this weekend the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is producing a variety of events for Halloween in the Capitol Hill community, including on the college campus.
Seattle Central Community College fully expects Occupy Seattle protesters to respect and not interfere with any current or future authorized college or community activities, and to respond to the directive of college officials.
Seattle Central Community College
One of Your Seattle Community Colleges – North, South, Central