Outdoor Area and Exterior Space Use Policy

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Policy Code: 
5205
Approval Authority: 
Chancellor
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, non-University groups in designated areas, or sponsered non-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', 'Sponsored non-University’ and 'non-University' groups. Use of an outdoor area or exterior space does not mean that the University in any way supports, sanctions, or agrees with the policies and activities of the group using the space.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all University, and sponsored non-University and 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 "sponsered non-University group" is any group, other than those identified as a "University group", that recieves express invitation of sponsorship from a "University group" to conduct events or activites using the University's outdoor areas and exterior space. A “non-University group” is defined as any group other than those identified as a “University group" or a "sponsered non-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 the good faith exercise of professional judgment by its officers.

III. Overriding Principles

1. 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.

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

3. 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.

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

5. 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. 

6. Departments and divisions of the University shall have priority in the use of University outdoor areas and exterior space. Other University affiliated organizations, such as student groups, shall have priority over sponsered non-University groups or non-University groups.

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

IV. Policy

All authorized users of the University's outdoor areas and exterior space 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, sponsored non-University and non-University groups must also abide by all applicable aspects of University 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 or conduct, such as threatening, abusive or harassing speech, or conduct toward physical violence, or intimidating conduct directed at other persons.

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 shall comply with the directions of a university official acting in the performace of their duty.

Q. Persons using the University's outdoor areas or exterior space, or attending events or activites held on University property, 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 holding the event or activity may be asked to complete a form to ensure we have appropriate emergency management/contact information, if needed.

R. 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 considerations.

Zones for University groups

A. University groups may conduct activities and assemblies without prior approval at any University outdoor area or exterior space location provided the assembly/activity aligns with the requirements in section III above and the space is not required to be reserved (see University Policy 4210, 'Space Scheduling and Use').

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 Brown Hall and Highsmith Student Center.

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

B. With prior administrative approval (i.e. after submitting the Outdoor Space Usage Group Information and Request Form and receiving a response. discussed below), a sponsored non-University group may conduct an activity/assembly at any exterior campus location provided the assembly/activity aligns with the requirements in section III above (see University Policy 4210, 'Space Scheduling and Use').

Zones for non-University groups

A. Non-University groups who have not sought or obtained sponsorship by a University group may conduct activities/assemblies in the two outdoor spaces shown below:

i. Reed Plaza, immediately outside Brown Hall and Highsmith Student Center

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

B. The use of these spaces is open to non-University groups provided the assembly/activity aligns with the requirements in section III and is not currently reserved, in use by or there is another adjacent area reserved which would require the space to remain open for programmatic or preparation reasons, or other reasons as determined by University officials. 

C. Non-University groups are required to complete an 'Outdoor Space Usage Information Request Form' preferably in advance, which assists with collecting emergency management/contact information and appropriate space scheduling.

Public Speaking, Petitioning and Distribution of Written Materials

A. Notwithstanding any contrary part of this policy, University groups or sponsored non-University groups may engage in public speaking, petitioning or distribution of written, non-commercial materials in any outdoor areas or exterior space also suitable for assemblies without the need to specifically reserve space, so ling as such assemblies/activites align with applicable requirements in section III. Non-University groups may conduct these activities at the spaces referenced in the 'Zones for Non-University Groups' section above, so long as such assmeblies/activites align with the applicable requirements of section III. 

B. All restrictions regarding assemblies apply to petitioning.

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 Student Center. 

B. For sponsored, non-University groups, an Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request form is to be completed when requesting to reserve outdoor areas and external space. Requests must be made no less than five (5) business days in advance of the planned activity or event for review. Failure to do so may result in the requested outdoor area or external space being unavailable. Although this requirement does not apply to the use of areas that do not require reservation (see 'Zones for Sponsered non-University Groups ' above), the group will be asked to fill out the Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form upon arrival for the collection of emergency management/contact information and for appropriate space scheduling.

C. For non-sponsered, non-university groups, the Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form is to be completed, preferably in advance, when use is planned for outdoor areas or external spaces that do not require reservation (see 'Zones for non-University Groups' above'). The form completion is to assist with the collection of emergency management/contact information and for appropriate space scheduling.

D. For requests that require advance approval, 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 designated delegate at least five (5) business days in advance of the planned activity or event. The Vice Chancellor or designated delegate, in consultation with the University General Counsel may waive the five (5) business days requirement for good cause, which shall include factors such as: (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.

E. An approval or denial decision will be made after the Outdoor Space Usage Information and Request Form is submitted for consideration. 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 reserve outdoor areas and external space space may be denied if:

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

B. A non-University group is not sponsored in writing by a University group. However, a non-University group may still use one of the 'open' outdoor areas listed in 'Zones for Non-University Groups'.

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

D. The activity would interfere with previously planned University programs or which do not align with requirements with section III.

E. The activity 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, sponsered non-University groups and non-University groups which violate this policy may face a variety of penalties, including but not limited to, cancellation of the activity/assembly, removal from campus, disciplinary action, assessment of charges for damagesor repair of costs incurred, or referral to other avenues of collection. Law enforcement reserves the right to respond accordingly depending upon the nature of the policy violation.