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Use of Campus Facilities for University Purposes Policy

Title: Use of Campus Facilities for University Purposes Policy
Revision Date: October 15, 2013
Responsible Office: Student Leadership Development

I.  Scope

This policy applies to the scheduling and conduct of events and activities, other than conferences, facilities rentals for private events, and academic activities such as regularly scheduled courses and seminars. This policy applies to all buildings, grounds and other spaces owned or controlled by the College of William & Mary (the university). Examples of events and activities covered by this policy include:

  • Meetings and other group activities of student organizations,
  • Speeches, performances and other events by outside groups invited by student organizations,
  • Demonstrations, rallies, vigils and other group free speech exercises, and
  • Distributions of literature such as leafleting and pamphleting.

II.  Policy Statement

University property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions. Certain indoor and outdoor spaces are available for use by students, student groups or others for events and other organized or expressive activities. For the most part, use of these spaces must be scheduled in advance, but some of these spaces are set aside for spontaneous (unscheduled) activities, and this policy allows for spontaneous use of other spaces in specified situations.

The university will not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views as set forth in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.  William & Mary does not regulate or discourage speech based on its content or viewpoint.
Door-to-door activities such as solicitation and distribution of literature in university buildings is prohibited with the exception of official university communications.

III.  Standards and Procedures Governing Scheduling and Use of Facilities

The Director of Student Leadership Development is the Administrator of the scheduling system. The Administrator will maintain a schedule of all events and activities to which space and facilities are allocated. Scheduling requests should be submitted to the Administrator through the Scheduling Office. The Administrator will make all inquiries necessary to evaluation and disposition of such requests.

A. Prior Scheduling Is Generally Required. Except for spontaneous activities permitted under paragraph B, below, groups and individuals desiring to use university space and facilities must submit requests through the Scheduling Office as far in advance as practical. Any requests not received sufficiently in advance to permit necessary evaluation and determine the appropriate location, applying the standards outlined in this section III, may be denied for that reason.

B. Spontaneous Expressive Activities Permitted in Certain Circumstances and Locations. William & Mary employees, students, and recognized student organizations may engage in spontaneous or unscheduled expressive events and activities in two situations:

  • A number of areas are available, on a first-come-first-serve basis, for rallies, assemblies, demonstrations, vigils and other outdoor expressive activities without prior approval or scheduling. A current list of areas designated for spontaneous activities is available from the Scheduling Office (pdf).
  • Spontaneous expressive activities may occur in other locations (a location other than those designated by the Scheduling Office) when advance scheduling is not practical, such as an activity responding to a university action, if (a) the designated locations are already in use or reserved for another activity, (b) the spontaneous activity is too large for the designated locations, or (c) the expressive value of the activity is significantly enhanced by it taking place in a different location, such as a protest against a specific office, which would be more powerful if held outside of or near to the office.[1]

If a spontaneous expressive activity does not satisfy these conditions, disrupts university operations or creates a safety hazard, university officials will require the activity to be relocated or rescheduled.

C. Scheduling Priorities. Activities of the university itself have precedence over all extracurricular events. Activities of recognized student organizations and groups have priority over those of other users.

D. Only Certain Areas Available for Use. Only designated facilities are available for events; for example, the following facilities are not available for scheduling: offices; department libraries, museums, lounges and special collection facilities; and laboratories and classrooms when not in academic use. The Scheduling Office can provide information about which facilities are available for a planned activity or event and can assist students and others with information about rules on use of certain facilities, such as the Sunken Garden, the Sadler Center and the Campus Center, the Crim Dell Meadow, and the Wren Building.

E. Considering Scheduling Requests; Time, Place, Security Concerns, Etc. For each event or activity, university officials will consider the anticipated size, required accommodations, traffic, noise, time, relationship to nearby areas and activities, security needs, and other relevant facts and circumstances to determine (a) whether a suitable location exists and (b) whether health and safety concerns require special precautions or arrangements.

Events will not be scheduled during the reading or examination periods.[2]

F. Inviting Outside Speakers/Groups. Recognized student organizations may invite or sponsor non-university speakers, performers or groups to conduct activities or events on campus. The outside speaker, performer or group may be given permission to use specific facilities through a written contract under terms and conditions that protect the university's institutional interests. Such groups may not state or imply university sponsorship of the organization or its program without written authorization.

Each sponsoring organization, in requesting to use university space or facilities, assumes a duty to self-regulate at events and activities to ensure that applicable laws, regulations and policies are observed. Failure to do so justifies revocation of permission to use facilities and space, both as to activities in progress and future activities, and may result in a referral to Student Conduct.

G. Non-Invited Outside Groups.  William & Mary reserves the right to deny the use of its facilities to any non-university organization or individual seeking to rent or use university space. Only designated facilities are available for such use. Rental or usage fees will be charged, and additional contractual obligations will apply.

H. Fees/Charges.

  • All users are responsible for costs of damage, repair and clean up arising from their use of university facilities.
  • Routine costs associated with activities of recognized campus groups, such as maintenance and utility costs, normally will be absorbed by the university where insignificant in amount. Individuals or groups whose use of space and facilities entail added costs to the institution will be accountable for such expenses, and may be required to pay them as a condition of use. Examples of such expenses include the cost of providing tents, platforms, special fixtures and equipment, or the assignment of maintenance or security personnel.
  • Organizations and individuals conducting activities for profit (charging admission or the like) will be charged commercially comparable usage fees. An activity will not be regarded as conducted for profit where all net proceeds are for the use of a charitable organization, or where designed only to cover or defray expenses, or where the group sponsoring the event derives substantially all proceeds from members. All activities of recognized student organizations will be regarded as non-profit if net proceeds are for the exclusive use of such an organization.

I. Noise.  Amplified music at outdoor events must conclude by midnight. Activities may not disrupt classes or other university events.

J. Compliance with Other Policies. All events and activities must occur in compliance with applicable university policies and rules, such as those relating to alcohol, tents, filming and photography, smoking, weapons and parking.

IV.  Approval and Amendment

This Policy is approved by the President. It was amended effective October 15, 2013, to (a) specify the conditions under which unscheduled expressive activities are permitted, (b) clarify and reduce discretion in application of the standards under which requests are considered, (c) clarify the scope of the policy, (d) improve organization and formatting, (e) indicate other policies applicable to facilities use and (f) update office/officials’ titles.

V.  Related Policies

Policy on Posters, Banners, Signs, and Decorations
Events Where Alcoholic Beverages Served Policy
Parking Regulations (pdf)
Smoking Policy (pdf)
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities 
Tent Policy (pdf)
Weapons on Campus Policy (pdf)

[1] This does not allow students or others to occupy or conduct other expressive activities inside any campus office. These offices are reserved for administrative use.

[2] The University Registrar maintains the academic calendars and exam schedules, available at