Outdoor Area and Exterior Space Use Policy

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Policy Code: 
Approval Authority: 
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Student Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Student Affairs - 828.251.6474

I. Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Asheville strives to create an open marketplace of ideas, and places a high value on the Constitutionally-protected freedom of speech, assembly and petition.  Therefore, UNC Asheville strives to make all practicable areas on campus open to use by University groups or non-University groups that are sponsored by University groups, subject to reasonable restrictions such as protection of property, and the proper functioning of the University for its primary mission of education and those activities directly incidental to its mission. The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University’s guidelines and expectations regarding the utilization of Campus outdoor areas and exterior spaces by ‘University' and sponsored ‘non-University’ groups. Use of an outdoor area or exterior space by a University or sponsored non-University group does not mean that the University in any way supports, sanctions, or agrees with the policies and activities of the group.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all University groups and sponsored non-University groups who may teach, conduct business, visit or participate in activities at the University and wish to utilize outdoor area or exterior campus space. For the purposes of this policy, a “University group” is defined as (a) a student organization officially recognized and sanctioned by the University, (b) a group established by the Chancellor, faculty, staff or administration, or (c) groups established by University departments.  An individual with University affiliation (current faculty, staff or student) is combined and identified, for the purpose of this policy, as a “University Group.” A “non-University group” is defined as any group other than those identified as a “University group.” An individual with no University affiliation (not identified as current faculty, staff or student) is combined and identified, for the purpose of this policy, as a “non-University Group.”  For the purpose of determining privileges for a group, a mixed group will be categorized by the predominate category of its attendees. University police are authorized to make this determination, and the university acknowledges this is done in a good faith exercise of professional judgment by its officers.

III. Overriding Principles

A. Any use of University facilities must not violate the University’s statement on non-discrimination or any federal or state law of regulation addressing nondiscrimination.

B. Activities in or on University facilities must not violate the policies, regulations, or laws of the United States, the State or the University.

C. The fulfillment of the educational mission of the University has first priority in all decisions concerning any use of any facility under this policy. Facility use must be compatible with or complementary to the educational mission of the University.

D. Use of any University outdoor area/exterior space shall not be authorized where such use may disturb the conduct of University activities.

E. Use of any University outdoor area/exterior space must be appropriate for the size, design and purpose of the facility and must not pose an undue burden on University resources. 

F. Departments and divisions of the University shall have priority in the use of University outdoor areas and exterior space. Other University affiliated organizations shall have priority over unaffiliated organizations.

G. The University reserves the right to cancel or modify reservations of any unaffiliated group should the reservation conflict with functions central to the educational mission of the university.

IV. Policy

Both the University group and sponsored non-University group must abide by the following time, place and manner requirements:

A. Assembly and petitioning may not interfere with University operations.

B. Non-University groups are required to have a written invitation from a University group to be considered ‘sponsored’ by a University group.

C. The University group sponsor accepts responsibility for supervising the activities of the non-University group, including responsibility for assuring that the area is used for the purposes specified by the group. A minimum of 2 members of the sponsoring group must be present at the non-University group event for the duration of the event.

D. The University group sponsor must be clearly identified on a posted sign/banner no less than 2 feet by 3 feet in size.

E. University groups and sponsored non-University groups must also abide by all applicable aspects of UNC Asheville Policy 4210, ‘Space Scheduling and Use,' which includes information on distribution of material.

F. Activities and assemblies cannot disrupt the flow of vehicle traffic, pedestrians, or bicycles.

G. Activities and assemblies cannot disrupt the access to department, program or individual offices.

H. Persons shall not engage in unlawful speech such as speech that threatens physical violence, or intimidating conduct towards any other person.

I. Persons shall comply with directions of University officials acting in their official capacity.

J. Persons will not deface or destroy campus property, and are responsible for damage and clean-up associated with the event.

K. Public address systems or amplified sound is only permitted on the University Quadrangle and only at times agreed in advance.

L. No assemblies shall take place within 40 feet of academic buildings during class hours, or in areas directly adjacent to residence halls between 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.

M. Assemblies with an expected attendance of more than 25 people must be reported no less than 48 hours in advance to the University police.

N. No permanent or semi-permanent structure, including but not limited to stakes driven in the ground, tents or trailers, etc. may be constructed or placed for any activities in these outdoor facilities without the approval of Facilities Management and Emergency Management/ Environmental Health and Safety.

O. Users are responsible for the cleanliness and order of all outside facilities following their use.  

P. Persons on University property at outdoor assemblies/events may be required to provide picture identification and evidence of qualification to a University official upon request. Evidence of qualification means (a) a currently issued University OneCard or (b) written documentation of an invitation from an affiliated organization and an Outdoor Space Usage Group Information and Request Form. The group may be asked to complete a form to ensure we have contact information, if needed.

Q. The University may disapprove, retract an invitation or cancel/postpone a scheduled event based upon content neutral and reasonable time, place and manner considerations or when an extenuating situation may demand. Should an event be postponed, an invitation to reschedule will be extended as quickly as possible. The University will determine the appropriate venue/location for an outdoor activity/assembly based only upon reasonable time, place and manner.

Zones for University groups

A. University groups may conduct activities and assemblies without prior approval at any exterior campus location provided the assembly/activity aligns with the requirements in section III above and the space is not required to be reserved (UNC Asheville Policy 4210).

Zones for Sponsored non-University groups

A. Sponsored non-University groups may conduct activities and assemblies without prior approval at:

i. Reed Plaza, immediately outside University Hall. Outdoor Space Usage Group Information and Request Form is required; and

ii. The lawn areas on either side of the steps in front of Ramsey Library, bounded by the concrete sidewalks.

B. With prior administrative approval (Outdoor Space Usage Group Information and Request Form), a sponsored non-University group may conduct an activity/assembly at any exterior campus location provided the assembly/activity aligns with this policy and the space is not required to be reserved (UNC Asheville Policy 4210).

Zones for non-sponsored, non-University groups

A. Non-University groups who have not sought or obtained sponsorship by a University group may not conduct activities on University property.

Petitioning and Distribution

A. Students, University groups, or sponsored non-University groups may petition or hand out written, non-commercial materials in any space also suitable for assemblies.

B. All restrictions regarding assemblies apply to petitioning.

C. More specific information regarding petitioning and distribution are found in UNC Asheville Policy 4210.

Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form Process

A. Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Forms can be obtained from the Office of the Division of Student Affairs and the Information Desk at Highsmith Union.

B. For sponsored, non-University groups, an Outdoor Space Usage information/request form is to be completed for usage of an outdoor space. If the sponsored, non-university group is requesting to reserve an outdoor space, an Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form must be completed.  Requests should be made no less than seven (7) business days in advance for review. For space that does not require prior approval, the form can be completed on site.

C. The request review process is begun when an Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form is turned into the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or delegate. Completed applications must be submitted a minimum of 7 business days in advance of the assembly or activity. [The Vice Chancellor and General Counsel may waive the 7 business days requirement for good cause, which shall include: (1) consideration of the number of people expected to attend the assembly/activity; (2) the availability of the space and whether other events are concurrently scheduled; and 3) whether the activity will disrupt normal University operations].

D. Upon satisfactory completion of an Information/Request Form, an approval or denial decision will be made. An approved request will yield an Outdoor Area and Space Use Permit, which the group will receive and be expected to maintain with the group for the duration of the event. 

Requests to use space may be denied if:

A. The request has not been fully completed, or contains material misrepresentations.

B. The group is not sponsored in writing by a University group. 

C. Prior approval has been granted to another group for the same time and place.

D. The assembly or event would interfere with previously planned University programs.

E. The assembly or event would pose an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of the applicant, members of the University community or the public.

F. Applicants are groups who have established a history of property damage, unlawful activities, personal injury, material misrepresentation or disruption of University operations.

V. Penalties

University groups which violate the policy may be asked to leave, and can be removed and disbanded from their location and face disciplinary and/or other action.  Sponsors of non-University groups who violate the policy may also be asked to leave, can be removed and disbanded from their location, and their sponsoring group can face disciplinary and/or other action.  Cleanup, property damage and similar issues which require repair or response to renew area to original status can be charged to the University group, sponsored group or other avenues of collection.  Law enforcement reserves the right to respond accordingly depending upon the nature of the violation of the policy in light of campus safety.