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Part VI.  Use of University Buildings, Space, Facilities, and Amplification Equipment and Freedom of Expression

A. General Policy

Buildings and facilities on the University campus are intended primarily for the support of the on-going instructional program of the institution. Second priority is given to programs sponsored and conducted by University academic and administrative departments or organizations that are affiliated with such departments. Beyond these two (2) priorities, use of campus buildings and facilities is permitted and encouraged for activities which are intended to serve or benefit the entire University community, and which are sponsored by active chartered student organizations.

Permission to use academic and non-academic campus buildings and facilities is coordinated through the Student Union & Event Services Office. A department, student, or campus organization may not reserve buildings or facilities on campus and then permit it to be used by a non-registered organization or off-campus group or person.

The use of buildings and grounds must at all times conform to these regulations, the Montana University System Board of Regents Policy on Competition with the Private Sector, and any other applicable local, state, or federal law. For additional information concerning building and facilities use polices, contact the Center for Engagement at (406) 657-2387 or Facility Services at (406) 657-2306.

B. Building Reservation Requirements

Reservations must be made for use of buildings or facilities under the control of the University. Reservation requests will be granted in accordance with the priorities and policies of the designated area. Reservation requests may be made to the Student Union and Event Services Office (Part V. D). Specific Requirements for Use of Facilities by Student Organizations

  1. Student organizations must be registered as an active organization with the Center for Engagement in order to use University buildings.
  2. A group of students that has initiated the process of chartering a new student organization may hold up to three (3) meetings in the Student Union, pending action on chartering paperwork. These meetings must be held within thirty (30) calendar days from the date the group has filed its intent to charter as an organization. No other campus facilities may be reserved by student organizations during the chartering process.
  3. The privilege of using campus buildings and facilities is granted each year after a student organization has completed the annual registration process. The process is completed during the first month of the academic year.

C. Campus Grounds Use (Center for Engagement, 657-2387)

  1. Selected grounds areas (other than those described previously) are available for activities (programs or events) that are sponsored and approved by University departments, active chartered student organizations, or individual students and employees. Academic use by departments and colleges has priority, and assignments may be changed or canceled if conflicts with regular academic programs develop. Those wishing to use campus grounds for events should contact Student Union and Events Services for a Ground Use Events Form. Areas include: Student Union Patio, Campus Lawn, Cisel Field, Library Field, Free Speech Area, and designated areas within the Peaks to Plains Park.

D. General Procedures and Priorities for Designated Campus Facilities

  1. Student Union Building (657-2387)
    Meeting space in the Student Union is generally scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. If a space is requested by more than one group at the same time, the following priority system is followed.

a. First priority is given to active chartered student organizations and University departments.

b. Second priority is given to non-college groups that are sponsoring meetings that meet the usage requirements and/or policies of the Student Union, the University, and the MUS Board of Regents.

2. Academic Building Classroom or Auditorium Space

Initial requests can be made to the Center for Engagement, 657-2387. No space assignments will be made during final examination periods unless by special permission from the Provost and Academic Vice Chancellor. Academic use by departments and colleges has priority over other uses. Organization assignments may be changed or canceled if conflicts with regular academic programs develop.

a. Any active chartered student organization affiliated with, and sponsored by, an academic department may request the use of space in academic buildings for specific purposes. These purposes may include, but are not limited to, regular meetings of honorary or professional organizations, lectures, seminars, or workshops, and special programs, e.g., band functions.

b. Active chartered student organizations not affiliated with or sponsored by academic departments may request the use of space in academic facilities. This space will be assigned on a “limited” basis under the following conditions:

      • No suitable space is available in the Student Union.
      • The intended use is in keeping with the educational purposes of the University.
      • The intended use does not conflict with use by academic programs or academic/departmental organizations.

3. Physical Education, Recreation and Athletic Facilities

The P.E. Building, tennis courts, and practice and playing fields are owned and maintained by the University for the primary use and benefit of the instructional, intercollegiate, recreational, and intramural athletic programs of the University, of allied non-college activities consistent with such programs, and of official events of the University. The use of these facilities shall be limited to these purposes unless otherwise authorized. All requests must be made to the P.E. Building Manager (657-2370) to be reviewed for approval.

4. Residence Hall Facilities (657-2333)

Common area spaces (i.e., lobbies, lounges, TV rooms, courtyards, balconies, foyers, etc.) are reserved for use by residents residing in that particular building or area.

5. Use of outdoor University space shall be allowed in accordance with the University Freedom of Expression Policy (Part VI F.)

E. Appeals for Denial of Building Use Requests

(Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success 657-2307)

1. Students, student organizations, or campus departments whose requests for the use of buildings or non-academic facilities are denied may appeal with the Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success in accordance with the following procedures:

The student or organization must file a written appeal describing the objections to the denial in the Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success Office no later than five (5) University business days after receiving notice of the denial from the Center for Engagement.

The Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success shall convey the appeal decision, in writing, to the student or organization and to the Center for Engagement within a reasonable time after receiving the appeal, but no later than ten (10) University business days from the receipt of the written appeal.

2. The decision of the Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success is final.

F. Freedom of Expression Policy

MSU Billings supports and encourages diverse points of view, though they may seem distasteful or offensive to some, as this is the nature of the University’s educational responsibility and is safeguarded by the freedom of expression. The acceptance of diversity is a fundamental tenant of the university system, and is instrumental to the creation of new discourses and the weighing of different views.

MSU Billings recognizes the First Amendment rights to expression. These rights include individual and group activities including but not limited to:

  • Assembling,
  • Demonstrating,
  • Signing,
  • Pamphleting,
  • Structuring, and
  • Political campaigning.

1. The right to freedom of speech includes exercising it responsibly, including abiding by the following:

  • The use of violence, or credible threats of violence, is strictly prohibited.
  • Activities which infringe upon the rights of another person are prohibited in accordance with Part II, B. and C. of this handbook.
  • Activities may not obstruct the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic on campus.
  • Activities may not use sound amplification except with prior written approval in accordance with Part. VI, H. of this handbook.
  • Activities may not block the entrances or exits to any campus building or facility. A distance of 50 feet from any building or facility must be kept to alleviate the interruption of the flow of campus community traffic.
  • To exercise expression at closer than this buffer area, permission must by granted in writing by the Student Union and Activities Office in conjunction with University Police.
  • No expression activities are allowed within any university buildings, facilities, stadiums, or temporary event facilities such as tents etc., unless the facility use is duly approved in accordance with Part VI of this handbook.
  • Printed materials, writing, or other tangible means of expression may not be attached to University property, including sidewalks, trees, walls, or other property (including on vehicles parked on campus), except that such materials may be placed on outdoor bulletin boards designated as public bulletin boards. All postings on public bulletin boards will be removed at regular intervals.
  • Printed materials, writings, or other tangible means of expression may not be placed on any interior surface of any University building without the written permission of the relevant Building Manager and in accordance with the rules established for each building as outlined in Part VII of this handbook.
  • Activities may not disrupt, block, or physically displace performers/programs that have reserved a venue or facility.
  • Individuals or groups may not permanently occupy land areas or permanently place signs and posters. This prohibition includes but is not limited to the erection of permanent structures, shelters, or camps.
  • Activities may not interfere with classes, university work, arts and cultural activities, research, or scheduled events.
  • Individuals and organizations are responsible for cleanup and for any cleanup costs resulting to the University from their activities.
  • Individuals and organizations are responsible for the content of any signage, pamphlets, or structure that they post, distribute, or erect on campus. Furthermore, the University reminds any organization distributing materials to be aware of laws concerning defamation, obscenity, fair labor practices, etc.

G. Use of Amplification Equipment

1. Permission for Use

The use of loudspeakers or any other type of amplification equipment or amplified musical instruments on the University grounds is by permission only.

2. Procedure

  • Applications for permission to use amplification equipment must be made in the Student Union & Events Office on forms provided by the office. Each use must be registered. No recurring application shall be made.
  • Applications must be completed within one (1) week before the intended use in order to receive full consideration.

3. Restrictions

  • The use of amplification equipment for solicitation purposes must conform to all campus grounds-use provisions specified in this part.
  • The use of amplification equipment or loudspeakers is not permitted in the vicinity of classrooms during regularly scheduled class hours.
  • Sound equipment must not disrupt normal functions of the University including the residence halls or disturb the surrounding community. Band functions and/or functions involving the amplification of music are restricted to the following times:
    • Friday 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
    • Saturday 1:00 pm – 12:00 am
    • Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Outdoor dances and concerts may be held in approved locations only with prior approval by the Student Union & Activities Office. Bands must use their own sound equipment for such dances.
  • Other special events such as pep rallies, ceremonies, or recreational activities which include the use of bands and/or amplification equipment may be held in approved locations only with prior approval of the Student Union & Activities Office.
  • During certain times of the year atmospheric conditions may create situations which may cause sounds to be audible for great distances. Therefore, the placement of speakers and the volume of the amplified sound may need to be regulated either prior to or during the course of all outdoor functions which utilize amplification equipment. The Student Union & Activities Office and the Montana State University Billings University Police Department shall make such determinations.
  • Failure of a sponsoring organization to comply with all requirements of the amplification policy shall lead to the immediate termination of the function and will subject the group to appropriate misconduct action.

Next: Part VII.  Posting of Advertisements, Printed Material, and Solicitation