Last Revised: Thursday, August 16, 2018
Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance
Responsible University Office: Business & Finance
Policy Contact: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance
This policy applies to all University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) buildings, facilities, grounds, and spaces owned or controlled by the University (hereafter referred to collectively as “property”) and extends to members of the academic community, including guests of the University, and members of the general public lawfully present on University premises. This policy is intended to accompany the University of Nebraska Board of Regents Policy regarding the commitment to free expression, guide of facilities use, and education (RP-6.4.10 and provide guidance for the scheduling and conduct of events and activities at UNL which are not academic activities, such as regularly scheduled courses and seminars under the aegis of the Registrar’s Office.
While UNL property is not open to unrestricted public access, many spaces are available for use by faculty and staff, students, student groups, and members of the public, with appropriate approval and when scheduled in advance.
All users of University property assume responsibility to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies and assume responsibility for fees and charges applicable to associated events and activities. All persons on UNL property are required to comply with the instructions of a properly identified University official or member of UNLPD. Persons engaging in actions that do not comply with applicable laws, regulations, or policies shall be subject to disciplinary measures, including separation from the University, and also to charges of violation of the law.
An individual may not materially disrupt activities conducted within the context of the University’s mission. The University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression, in accordance with the law, in order to ensure that the ordinary activities of the University are not disrupted. Such regulations must be narrowly tailored to serve significant, viewpoint-neutral interests, and cannot substantially burden more speech than necessary to protect the University’s interest.
Spaces such as classrooms, where teaching takes place; or labs where research is conducted; or offices where administrative business is carried out, are not freely open to the public. There are, however, spaces within UNL’s campus that may be opened to both members of the University community and the public for a variety of purposes, including speech and expression.
Campus spaces have been designated as:
Designated Public Forums
These are places the campus designates as open for expressive applications to all or part of the campus community, or the community at large. Reasonable time, place and manner restrictions may be implemented in a viewpoint or content-neutral application. UNL has identified Memorial Plaza to the north of the Nebraska Union and Legacy Plaza to the south of the Nebraska East Union as the only designated public forums on campus.
Limited Public Forums
These are places (such as a concert hall), events (such as a student panel discussion on Literature of the Plains), or other avenues for expression (such as an electronic bulletin board), which can be designated for use by a particular group and limited to particular topics or types of speech, as long as the limitations are reasonable and viewpoint-neutral.
All places and resources not otherwise categorized as Designated Public Forums and Limited Public Forums. In none of these instances may UNL implement rules or processes which differentiate use of properties or resources, or disciplinary outcomes, based upon the viewpoint of the user.
While outdoor spaces are broadly available only to members of the campus community for events and activities, including spontaneous peaceful and nondisruptive expressions, scheduling in advance is recommended. Certain outdoor spaces have been identified as either a designated public forum or limited public forum where events may be hosted (See corresponding map). Use of all limited public forum outdoor spaces by groups require the completion and approval of the reservation request and all necessary paperwork.
Within designated public forum space only, completion of the information and request form is not required for groups wishing to use the space. However, groups wishing to host events in these spaces are encouraged to make a formal reservation, complete the required paperwork, and have a formal, approved reservations as groups with approved reservations will be given preference in these spaces.
Football Game Day Stadium Halo
The university has a policy regarding the sale of merchandise and distribution of informational or promotional materials on football game days. This policy can be referenced on the Business and Finance website and only applies to these specific game days.
Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and non-University individuals/groups, collaborating together to host an event may be given permission to use specific property through a facilities usage agreement under terms and conditions that protect the University’s interests. Consistent with Board of Regents Policy (RP-136): It should be made clear to the academic and larger communities that sponsorship of events and speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views or actions by either the sponsoring group or the University.
UNL reserves the right to:
- Give preference to academic, student life, and intercollegiate athletics programs of the University, and RSOs and other events sponsored by the University.
- Make substitutions and/or cancel arrangements.
- Review, specify, and restrict any advertising, sales transactions, or product distribution.
The University may deny a request to reserve space for an event or activity if:
- The applicant has not completed a reservation request and all necessary paperwork.
- The request to reserve space contains a material misrepresentation or materially false statement.
- The request is not received sufficiently in advance of the proposed event or activity to permit necessary evaluation and to determine the appropriate location.
- The use or activity intended by the request is prohibited by law or proposes behaviors or conduct proscribed in the first section of this Policy or present an unreasonable health or safety danger.
- The applicant has damaged University property in the past, and/or has not paid for repairs, or has otherwise been in violation of this Policy and its procedures.
- The request to use University property conflicts with a preexisting reservation.
Student Union Administration is the clearinghouse for requests for Designated Public Forums and has decision-making authority for requests. If an application is denied, appeals may be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance within 5 business days of the denial where a review will be conducted, and decision rendered. All decisions by the Vice Chancellor are final.
Reason for Policy
University resources and its land and buildings are to be applied first and foremost to its mission of teaching, research and public service, and therefore, such University properties are primarily dedicated to this mission, which encompasses all academic activities, student life, intercollegiate athletics, and the administrative functions that support this mission. These properties are not generally open and available to the public—they are provided to and by the University, in order that it might carry out its educational charge.
Prior scheduling is required for events and activities that occur within limited or nonpublic forum spaces and are encouraged for designated public forum spaces. Scheduling includes making a reservation by completing the reservation request and all necessary paperwork. To begin the scheduling process, contact the units set forth in the Contacts section for the appropriate locations.
Designated Public Forums: These are places the campus designates as open for expressive applications to all or part of the campus community, or the community at large.
Limited Public Forums: These are places (such as a concert hall), events (such as a student panel discussion on Literature of the Plains), or other avenues for expression (such as an electronic bulletin board), which can be designated for use by a particular group and limited to particular topics or types of speech, as long as the limitations are reasonable and viewpoint-neutral.
Non-Public Forums: All places and resources not otherwise categorized as Designated Public Forums and Limited Public Forums.
Athletic Department - Indoor/Outdoor Intercollegiate Facilities
Campus Recreation - Indoor/Outdoor Recreation Facilities
Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts - Kimball Recital Hall
Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts - Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center
Lied Center for Performing Arts - Lied Center
Nebraska Alumni Association - Innovation Campus Facilities
Nebraska Alumni Association - Wick Alumni Center
Nebraska Alumni Association - Champions Center
Nebraska Unions - Nebraska Union
Nebraska Unions - Nebraska East Union
Nebraska Unions - Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center
Sheldon Museum of Art - Sheldon Museum of Art
University Housing - University Housing Complexes
University Housing - Willa Cather Dining Complex
University Registrar - Indoor Academic Spaces
Van Brunt Visitors Center - Van Brunt Visitors Center
- This policy was reformatted in February 2020. No content edits were made.