Initially approved: November 21, 2011
Revised: March 28, 2016
Revised: September 17, 2018
Policy Topic: Governance and Administration
Administering Offices: Administration and Finance; Legal Counsel’s Office; and Student Affairs
Recognizing that its support derives in large part from public funds, Western Carolina University (the “University”) is committed to making its facilities and grounds available for use by all groups, consistent with its educational mission, its duties as a custodian of State resources, applicable state and federal law, and its responsibility to consider the safety and welfare of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. While the University wishes to be accessible to the public, reasonable regulation of activities on University property is necessary so that the University may fulfill its primary mission of education and ensure the safety and welfare of the campus community.
A. This policy applies to solicitation, assemblies, and public addresses conducted on the University’s campus.
B. All solicitation, assembly, and public address activities must also comply with
University Policy #82, Facilities Use Policy, where applicable.
C. Use of a University facility for solicitation, assembly, and/or a public address does not mean that the University in any way supports, sanctions, or agrees with the policies and activities of the user. The University reserves the right to limit use of the University’s name, registered marks, and other University indicia in connection with promotion or endorsement of events. Except for the purpose of describing location, promotional and advertising materials may not implicitly or explicitly use the University’s name, logo or other indicia without prior approval of the University, which may be obtained from the Brand Manager located in the Office of Creative Services at (828) 227-2077.
“Assemblies and Public Addresses” are meetings or gatherings organized for an intended purpose. Public Addresses also may involve speeches to a group of individuals in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence or entertain the listeners.
“University Group” is an administrative or academic unit within the University, staffed by state employees acting within the scope of their employment. A University Group also may be considered an “affiliated group.”
“Recognized Student Organization” means the Student Government Association and other student clubs and groups that have been officially recognized by the University. A Recognized Student Organization also may be considered an “affiliated group.”
“Non-University Group” is a group other than a University Group or Recognized Student Organization that is a legally separate entity from the University, even though some of the members or participants may be University personnel, alumni, or students. A Non-University Group also may be a single individual.
“Commercial Solicitation” means:
A. Any proposal to sell, solicitation of an offer to buy, or dissemination of information for the purpose of facilitating the sale of goods or services; or
B. Any activity which attempts to raise funds, whether through sale of goods and services or donations, for any entity that is not a charitable organization, including a Recognized Student Group; or
C. The dissemination or collection of surveys for a commercial purpose.
“Non-Commercial Solicitation” means:
A. Any distribution of leaflets, brochures or other written material to assemblies or passersby, conducted without intent to obtain commercial or private pecuniary gain; or
B. The solicitation of charitable contributions.
This definition does not include the dissemination of information for purposes of the administrative, academic, research, education, or engagement activities of the University.
“Charitable Organization” means any organization that is organized and exclusively operated for one or more of the purposes specified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), as amended, and is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(a) of the Code.
“Charitable Contribution” is a contribution to a qualifying Charitable Organization that is deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
A. Commercial Solicitation is prohibited except as provided in this Section IV.
B. Commercial Solicitation is permitted at designated University events such as Mountain Heritage Day, International Day, Valley Bally-hoo, and such other University events as may be designated by the Chancellor or his/her designee.
C. Commercial Solicitation is permitted when the solicitor has entered into a contract with the University to either (1) provide goods or services that are related to the University’s mission, or (2) to meet students’ needs that are not otherwise available in the local area.
D. Recognized Student Groups must file all appropriate registration forms with and receive a permit from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or his/her designee prior to initiating solicitation activities. The permit will specify the date(s), time(s), and place of the solicitation. The University may establish reasonable time, place, and manner procedures for such solicitations. Registration forms are attached to this policy as Attachment “A”.
E. A Recognized Student Group, including individual members of a Recognized Student Group, may engage in the sale of goods or services as part of legitimate academic assignments that are sanctioned by the appropriate dean and designed to enhance student learning through engagement. Individuals and groups seeking to engage in the sale of goods and services under this section must obtain a solicitation permit in accordance with this section.
F. Recognized Student Groups may not sponsor solicitations that require multi-year financial contractual obligations of a student (e.g., credit card applications).
G. Except as otherwise described in the University Policy #81, “WCU General Campus Policy for Alcoholic Beverages”, solicitation, promotion, or sales of alcoholic beverages and/or alcohol-related items is prohibited.
H. Solicitation must be conducted so that campus pedestrians and automobile traffic are unobstructed and members of the University community may proceed with their normal activities.
I. University Groups, Recognized Student Groups, Non-University Groups and individuals alike may distribute leaflets, brochures or other written materials in any open, exterior campus space; provided, however, that materials may not be placed on parked vehicles consistent with Section XI.E below. Anyone distributing materials must do so in accordance with additional provisions found in Sections VII.C and XI below, and must comply with laws pertaining to defamation, obscenity, littering, and other applicable laws.
J. Door-to-door solicitations are not permitted in any facility on campus.
A. University Groups,Recognized Student Groups, Non-University Groups and individuals alike may distribute leaflets, brochures or other written materials in any open, exterior campus space; provided, however, that materials may not be placed on parked vehicles consistent with Section XI.E below. Anyone distributing materials must do so in accordance with additional provisions found in Sections VII.C and XI below, and must comply with laws pertaining to defamation, obscenity, littering, and other applicable laws.
B. Solicitation must be conducted so that campus pedestrians and automobile traffic are unobstructed and members of the University community may proceed with their normal activities.
C. Recognized Student Groups and University Groups may solicit Charitable Contributions to benefit a Charitable Organization provided that the group files all appropriate registration forms with and receives a permit from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or his/her designee prior to initiating solicitation activities. The permit will specify the date(s), time(s), and place of the solicitation.
D. Door-to-door solicitations are not permitted in any facility on campus.
A. University housing areas are not public forums. No person, organization or agency may engage in commercial or noncommercial solicitation in the residence halls or the on-campus fraternity or sorority houses, except as follows:
1. Residence Hall Councils, Resident Student Association, and the Department of Residential Living may generate funds in the residence halls for programming activities consistent with their purposes. The InterFraternity Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the College Panhellenic Council may do likewise in the Village with the written permission of the Director of Residential Living or his/her designee. Residential Living may establish rules for these internal fundraising activities.
2. University Groups and Recognized Student Groups, but not Non-University Groups, may engage in commercial solicitation to generate funds for their programming activities consistent with the stated purpose of the group if the activity is sanctioned by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the activity is designed to enhance student learning through engagement. This solicitation is subject to the restrictions in subsection VI.A.3.a through VI.A.3.e, below.
3. University Groups, Recognized Student Groups, and Non-University Groups may engage in noncommercial solicitation only when all of the following conditions are met.
a. Groups wishing to conduct solicitation must have the written permission of the Director of Residential Living or his/her designee in advance.
b. Solicitation may occur only within the lobby, parlor or other common area(s) as designated by the Director of Residential Living, but never in individual students' living quarters. No door-to-door solicitation is permitted. Solicitation will not be allowed to disrupt the residence hall environment, and groups engaged in solicitation must conduct their activities so that normal residence hall activities are not disturbed.
c. The group will be responsible for any damages to the University property or facilities as a direct or indirect result of the solicitation, and must remove any and all refuse or waste that result directly or indirectly from the solicitation, regardless of whether a written use agreement is required.
d. Pursuant to University Policy #82, Facilities Use Policy, groups may be required to sign a standard Facilities Use Agreement.
4. Charitable solicitation may be carried out in the residence halls, but must comply with Section VII.C below. Charitable solicitation is also subject to the restrictions in Section VI.A.3 above.
5. Students are not permitted to use their rooms for commercial solicitation or to have product demonstrations or parties, or to advertise their room number for sales purposes, or to regularly conduct a business from their rooms. However, students may sell their used personal possessions, and may advertise their room or phone number for this purpose.
6. The use of exterior and interior surfaces in residence halls are subject to regulations by the Department of Residential Living.
B. Nothing in this section shall prevent a student from inviting anyone into his or her residence hall living quarters for the purposes of that student considering or purchasing the invitee's lawful goods or services.
C. The Division of Student Affairs and/or Department of Residential Living may develop further rules for solicitation in the residence halls. These rules may limit or prohibit solicitation that is inconsistent with University purposes or the purpose of the housing facility, and may place limits on the time, place, and manner of allowed solicitation.
A. Recognized Student Organizations and University Groups
1. Exterior Space. Subject to Additional Guidelines described below, Recognized Student Groups, University Groups and Individuals may conduct Assemblies or Public Addresses without prior approval at any exterior campus location. The use of the Picnic Grounds, however, requires the submission of a reservation form to the Director of the University Center at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly. Groups comprised of twenty (20) or more persons are encouraged to notify the Director of University Police and Parking Services and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly/Public Address so that safety measures may be provided if necessary.
2. Interior Space. The use of any interior space on campus must comply with University Policy #82, Facilities Use Policy, University Policy #65, Space Management, University Policy #110, Conferences and Events, and any other facility-specific facilities use policy (e.g., Ramsey Regional Activity Center policy). Assemblies and Public Addresses will generally be scheduled and/or coordinated by the Office of Conference Services in the Division of Student Affairs. Activities of attendees must not conflict with, disrupt or otherwise interfere with the facility’s normal use or primary function; or disrupt any event, program or activity; or display objects blocking sight lines; or restrict pedestrian flow or create hazardous conditions; or otherwise violate University policy or applicable state or federal law.
B. Non-University Groups
1. Exterior Space. Subject to the Additional Guidelines described in Section VII.C below, Non-University Groups (whether the groups are sponsored by a Recognized Student Group or University Group or are unsponsored) may conduct Assemblies or Public Addresses at exterior campus locations as follows: (1) without prior approval/scheduling, on the sidewalks adjacent to Centennial Drive, Forest Hills Road, and Central Drive; or (2) with prior approval/scheduling, on the southeast section of the Hinds University Center lawn, or the Central Plaza as may be determined by the Director of the University Center. These areas are highlighted on the campus map attached as Attachment “B”.
2. Scheduling the use of the Hinds University Center lawn or the Central Plaza shall be handled by the Director of the University Center. Non-University Groups must submit a reservation form to the Director of the University Center at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly or Public Address. The Director of the University Center should notify the Director of University Police and Parking Services and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly/Public Address so that safety measures may be provided if necessary. Administrative review will be limited to reasonable time, place, and manner considerations.
3. The Director of the University Center, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and General Counsel, may waive the 48-hour requirement for good cause, which shall include: (1) consideration of the number of people expected to attend the assembly or public address; (2) the availability of space and whether other events are concurrently scheduled; (3) the safety and welfare of the campus community; and (4) whether the activities will disrupt normal University operations. Waivers must be based on neutral criteria and not on the content of the event or the viewpoint of the sponsors.
4. The University may disapprove or retract an invitation, and cancel or postpone a scheduled event based only upon reasonable time, place, and manner considerations or when the situation demands. Any postponed invitation shall be rescheduled as quickly as possible. The University will determine the appropriate venue for the outdoor Assembly or Public Address based only upon reasonable time, place, and manner considerations.
5. Scheduled users will receive a permit indicating the date, time, and location of the event approved by the appropriate University official. The permit must be brought to the event location and available for inspection upon request throughout the duration of the event.
6. A scheduled use shall have priority over any unscheduled use, even when scheduling is not required by this policy.
7. An unscheduled use by a University academic unit for University instructional, research or engagement activities shall have priority over any other unscheduled use.
8. Interior Space. Non-University Groups must schedule the use of interior space on campus in accordance with section VII.A.2 above.
C. Additional Guidelines
1. Because the use of exterior campus facilities presents the possibility of disturbance to normal University activities and damage to University property, the guidelines governing the use of exterior space shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
a. No permanent or semi-permanent structure, including but not limited to stakes driven in the ground, tents, or trailers, may be constructed or placed for any activity in these outdoor facilities without approval of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities or his/her designee.
b.No semi-permanent structure may be constructed or placed for any activity conducted on emergency access roads, accessible paths or rights of way.
c. No activities may be held if they conflict with a facility's normal use or primary function or with any previously scheduled activity.
d. All outdoor Assemblies and Public Addresses must be conducted without sound amplification equipment unless permission for amplification is obtained from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Indoor Assemblies and Public Addresses may use amplification with the permission of the administrator responsible for the facility.
e. Assemblies and Public Addresses must be conducted so that campus pedestrians and automobile traffic are unimpeded and members of the University community not participating in the event may proceed with their normal activities.
f. Users are responsible for the cleanliness and order of all open spaces following their use. Users will be billed for cleanup that they do not adequately complete themselves.
g. Fires are not permitted except upon prior written approval from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities.
h. Fireworks are not permitted except upon prior written approval from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities.
i. All proposed activities requiring prior approval must be reviewed to assure compliance with insurance and safety requirements prior to final approval.
j. Persons may not obstruct, disrupt, interrupt or attempt to physically force the cancellation of any event or activity sponsored by the University or by any users authorized to use University property.
k. Persons shall not engage in unlawfully harassing, physically abusive, threatening, or intimidating conduct toward any person.
l. Persons shall comply with the directions of a university official acting in the performance of his or her duty.
m. No outdoor assembly may be conducted within 200 feet of a childcare playground or facility during operating hours, within 50 feet of any building, or within 50 feet of any other individual’s or group’s outdoor assembly. The University may take additional measures as necessary to provide for adequate safety and security.
n. Outdoor assemblies may not take place within the confines of any campus recreation facility or athletic facility. No outdoor assembly may take place in residential areas (those areas within 50 feet of any residence hall) between the hours of 12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m.
A. An individual or group wishing to protest at an Assembly/Public Address may do so as long as any speaker’s right to free speech and the audience’s right to see and to hear the speaker are not violated.
B. The material and substantial disruption of an individual or group’s lawful exercise of speech or expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment is prohibited. Behaviors giving rise to a material and substantial disruption include the following:
a. Any action that qualifies as disorderly conduct under N.C.G.S. § 14-288.4;
b. Any action that qualifies as a disruption under N.C.G.S. § 143-318.17;
c. Any action in violation of a chancellor’s designation of a curfew period pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 116-212;
d. Any action that results in the individual receiving a trespass notice from law enforcement.
Actions that may give rise to a material and substantial disruption include protests and demonstrations that materially infringe upon the rights of others to engage in and listen to expressive activity when the expressive activity (1) has been scheduled pursuant to this policy or other relevant institutional policy, and (2) is located in a nonpublic forum. In determining whether an action is a material and substantial disruption, WCU will consider the degree to which the disruptive activity impedes access to or from any scheduled institution events or the degree to which the activity impedes an audience’s ability to see and hear the expressive activity. Other activities that may materially and substantially interfere with the institution’s missions include disrupting the classroom environment, laboratory or research environments, patient care environments, or blocking the flow of pedestrian traffic.
A. University affiliated groups and persons may not reserve publicly available facilities on behalf of or for the use of a Non-University Group so that the Non-University Group can use a University facility at no charge or at a reduced rate. This conduct constitutes “fronting” and is prohibited. The University shall not be liable or responsible for financial or other damages incurred by a person or group whose permission to use a facility is denied, revoked or modified (including a rate change) pursuant to this policy.
A. The University, while being non-partisan, recognizes that political discussion is an important part of the educational process. Political candidates may be invited to appear on campus by affiliated groups that have reserved space in accordance with University Policy #65, Space Management, University Policy #82, Facilities Use Policy, and University Policy #110, Conferences and Events. The University Chief of Staff should be notified of such an appearance. The Chief of Staff may assist the facility coordinator and the affiliated group in conducting the event; however, the event remains that of the affiliated group. The event may include the service of refreshments as long as refreshments are provided through the University's food service contractor. Political candidates may also use outdoor facilities without invitation from an affiliated group as long as the use is in accordance with this policy.
A. No material may be fastened to any part of a facility except on surfaces provided for that purpose.
B. Subject to Section XI.A above, each administrative and/or academic unit manager may determine how surfaces and bulletin boards within their unit may be used. Any use and/or permission must be made pursuant to this policy.
C. Any outdoor kiosk(s), general purpose surface and/or general purpose bulletin board on campus may be used for informational and commercial purposes by any group, including University Group(s), Recognized Student Group(s) and/or Non-University Group(s). All materials are subject to removal at any time.
D. Except for student election material, no exhibits, works of art, displays, temporary structures or other fixtures may be posted or displayed on University grounds or adjacent to University facilities without prior written approval of the respective facility coordinator.
E. No material may be placed on any vehicle parked or stopped on the University campus.
F. Persons responsible for damage to walls or other surfaces resulting from violation of this policy shall pay the costs associated with repair, and may be subject to additional criminal penalties pursuant to N.C.G.S. 14-132.
G. To aid in the preservation and maintenance of University facilities, chalking on the vertical surfaces (for example, walls are vertical structures and sidewalks are horizontal structures) or covered horizontal surfaces (for example, porches or the walkway beneath the Alumni Tower) of any University facility or structure is prohibited. Chalking on prohibited surfaces may be removed by University personnel consistent with routine practices or procedures. In the event that chalking on any University facilities, whether permitted or prohibited, communicates a threat to the safety of any individual or the campus community or potentially creates a hostile environment, Legal Counsel’s Office must be consulted before removal.
H. No permanent modification such as painting or the use of other permanent media may be used on any University facility, surface or roadway.
A. In making its facilities available for use under this policy to individuals or groups other than University administrative units, the University assumes no obligation or responsibility for the activities of the person or group. The University reminds all users to be aware of and comply with applicable laws, including those related to safety, libel, slander, defamation, and obscenity.
A. This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary every two (2) years.
University Policy #65, “Space Management”
University Policy #81, “WCU General Campus Policy for Alcoholic Beverages”
University Policy #82, “Facilities Use Policy”
The UNC Policy Manual 1300.8, “Free Speech and Free Expression Within the University of North Carolina”
Reservation Request Form - Attachment “A”