The City of Champaign is reminding the community to proceed safely and respectfully while exercising your rights to peacefully assemble and protest. The City supports civic engagement, and as we continue to have more important and necessary discussions around social injustice, the City is providing the following guidance in response to citizen inquiries pertaining to matters of protesting and permissible graffiti use.
Champaign is a city of compassion with deep respect for social diversity, and we must remember to treat one another as neighbors with a common goal to become stronger, more educated, and more just. To help do so, the City’s Legal Department has assembled a set of guiding statements relative to gatherings where City Ordinances, State law or other legal principles may be relevant for organizers to be aware of. That document can be accessed on the City’s website here, which will continue to be updated as a working document.
The City is proud of its longstanding partnership with residents, businesses, and visitors to protect the right of self-expression. Graffiti use, however, can present a condition of blight within the City. Among the concerns of graffiti use is the deterioration of property values, business opportunities, negative environmental impacts and effecting the enjoyment of life for persons using adjacent and surrounding properties. Furthermore, by allowing any and all graffiti use, the City may open itself up to allow expression that does not align with our community values of equal opportunity for all.
Generally speaking, it is unlawful for an individual to deface public or private property with graffiti. Exceptions to the ordinance include the use of water-soluble chalk on public sidewalks by a child under the age of thirteen (13) or by the child’s parents or guardians. More information on graffiti use can be accessed by visiting Article IV, Division 2 of the Champaign Municipal Code here.
Starting today, the City will begin to clean graffiti that has been placed on public property and will continue this practice moving forward to maintain consistency and fairness throughout the city.
Residents interested in learning more about this process are encouraged to contact the Police Department (email@example.com) to help ensure it is done so safely and appropriately. We are committed to helping provide you the proper arena for your voice to be heard.
Media Contact: Kris Koester, Interim Communications Manager | Kris.firstname.lastname@example.org