Policies and Procedures

8.05 Posting of Non-Commercial Signs and Displays

Purpose

The University of Northern Iowa (“UNI” or “University”) is committed to providing a campus where students, employees, and the public may exercise their freedom of expression consistent with the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Constitution, and State law.  See Policy 13.10 Freedom of Expression (https://policies.uni.edu/1310) and Iowa Code Chapter 261H.  The University has adopted the following policy to provide clear, content-neutral standards and procedures regarding the posting of non-commercial signs and displays on UNI’s campus and electronic property, while ensuring campus safety, protecting university property and facilities, and maintaining the aesthetic appeal of campus.

Policy Statement

This policy governs the posting of any non-commercial signs or other displays on UNI property. Commercial sales and solicitation, including the posting of signs advertising commercial products, services, and establishments, are generally prohibited on campus except as expressly permitted by Policy 8.07 Commercial Sales and Solicitation On Campus (https://policies.uni.edu/807).

A.    Definitions

“Academic Building” means any UNI building other than a DOR Facility, the Maucker Union or a Restricted UNI Building.

“DOR Facility” means any UNI building within the Department of Residence, including but not limited to residence halls, dining and retail facilities, and the Commons.

“Employee” means any person employed by UNI.

“Employee Organization” means any organization consisting solely of Employees that exists for the primary purpose of representing employees in their employment relations.

“Non-Commercial” means any activity not conducted for private business or personal gain.  Consistent with Policy 8.07, “Non-Commercial” may include certain fundraising activities by Student Organizations, including activities that Student Organizations conduct on behalf of non-profit organizations.

 “Open Bulletin Board” means a bulletin board or kiosk that has been designated as open for any postings pursuant to this policy.

“Restricted Bulletin Board” means a bulletin board that has been designated as restricted for the purposes of communicating information relevant to the mission of the designating entity pursuant to this policy.

“Restricted UNI Building” means any building that restricts the posting of signs or other displays by the public or UNI-affiliated organizations, including Students, Student Organizations, Employees, Employee Organizations.  Buildings designated as a Restricted UNI Building include:  UNI-Dome, McLeod Center, West Gym, UNI Power Plant, Botanical Center, President’s Home, UNI Child Development Center, and the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

“Sponsoring UNI Organization” means an Employee Organization, Student Organization, or UNI program/department.

“Student” means any person enrolled at UNI.

“Student Organization” means a student organization registered with and recognized by UNI.

B.   Postings Within UNI Buildings 

1.     Postings in Maucker Union

Any individual, organization or entity may post Non-Commercial signs or displays inside designated areas of Maucker Union with the support of a Sponsoring UNI Organization, subject to applicable Maucker Union policies (except to the extent that such policies conflict with this policy).  All signs or displays must include the name of the Sponsoring UNI Organization.

2.     Postings in Any DOR Facility

A Sponsoring UNI Organization may post Non-Commercial signs or displays inside designated areas of a DOR Facility, subject to applicable Department of Residence policies (except to the extent that such policies conflict with this policy).  All signs or displays must include the name of the Sponsoring UNI Organization.

3.     Postings in Any Academic Building

Signs or displays may be posted in Academic Buildings only on designated bulletin boards subject to the limitations discussed below.

a.     Open Bulletin Boards

A Sponsoring UNI Organization may post Non-Commercial signs or displays on Open Bulletin Boards in any Academic Building, subject to the requirements of this policy.  Such signs and displays may be no larger than 11 inches x 17 inches.  All signs and displays must include:  (1) Name of the Sponsoring UNI Organization, and (2) the date of posting.  Postings will be removed no later than 30 days after the date of posting.  Postings that do not comply with this policy, other University policy or applicable law may be removed without notice.

b.     Restricted Bulletin Boards

University offices or departments may designate any bulletin board for which they are responsible as a Restricted Bulletin Board for the use of the office/department to communicate information relevant to the office/department’s mission and work.  Any Sponsoring UNI Organization that wishes to post materials to a Restricted Bulletin Board should make a request to the office/department responsible for the bulletin board with an explanation of how the materials are relevant to office/department’s mission and work.  The office/department reserves the right to determine what materials to post to their Restricted Bulletin Board, subject to University policy and applicable law.

4.     Postings in Any Restricted Building

The posting of signs or other displays is not permitted in any Restricted UNI Building except as permitted by the appropriate unit head (e.g., Director of Athletics, Director of Facilities Management, or Executive Director of Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center) and only to the extent that such signs/displays comply with the requirements of this policy.

C.    Exterior Postings on UNI Campus

1.     Open Bulletin Boards

The University has a number of Open Bulletin Boards in exterior places across campus upon which Non-Commercial signs and displays may be posted by any individual, organization or entity with the support of a Sponsoring UNI Organization, subject to the requirements of this policy.  Signs and displays affixed to exterior bulletin boards may be no larger than 11 inches x 17 inches.  All signs and displays must include:  (1) Name of person or entity responsible for the posting, (2) name of the Sponsoring UNI Organization, and (3) the date of posting.  Postings will be removed no later than 30 days after the date of posting.  Postings that do not comply with this policy, other University policy or applicable law may be removed without notice.

2.     Restricted Bulletin Boards

The University has designated certain exterior bulletin boards or kiosks as Restricted Bulletin Boards for the purpose of communicating information relevant to the University’s mission, including advertising of University-sponsored programs and departments.  Any Sponsoring UNI Organization that wishes to post materials to a Restricted Bulletin Board should make a request to the Office of University Relations with an explanation of how the materials are relevant to the University’s mission.  The Office of University Relations reserves the right to determine what materials to post to a Restricted Bulletin Board, subject to University policy and applicable law.

3.     Other Exterior Areas

Signs, banners, and other displays may not be affixed to any UNI building, except with the written approval of the Director of Facilities Management or his/her designee.  Signs, banners, and other displays may not be affixed to any sidewalks, trees, shrubs, light poles, fences, or other fixtures on UNI’s campus.  Lawn signs and A-frame signs are prohibited on campus, except with the written approval of the Director of Facilities Management or his/her designee.  Leafletting of vehicles on UNI property is prohibited.

4. Chalking

Chalking is allowed on University sidewalks for non-commercial purposes as provided in this policy.  Water-soluble chalk (i.e., sidewalk chalk) may be used on University sidewalks.  The use of other materials or products is prohibited, e.g., markers, paints, oil-based products, non-soluble products, spray chalks, and other aerosol-based products may not be used.  Chalking is permitted only in an open sidewalk area that can be directly washed by rain, such as a horizontal sidewalk surface not covered by an overhang.  Chalking is prohibited on all UNI buildings, structures, vertical surfaces, and non-sidewalk surfaces, whether inside or outside, including but not limited to walls, benches, signs, poles, columns, bridges, tunnels, parking lots, outdoor basketball courts, the Maucker Union roof, fountains, sculptures, monuments, planters, light poles, trees, rocks, and fences.

Chalking is not allowed in any of the following areas of campus: 

    • Within the area around the Campanile. 
    • Around the President’s Home. 
    • On any memorial bricks, and in the immediate vicinity of any public sculpture, artwork, monument, or memorial on campus, including but not limited to the area surrounding the Hibbs Memorial, MPLS Commemorative Plaza, and South Commons Plaza. 
    • Around the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, Child Development Center, and Admissions Welcome Center, and on the west side of Gilchrist Hall. 
    • Within areas outside the UNI Student Health Center, Richard O. Jacobson Human Performance Center, UNI-Dome, McLeod Center, West Gym, Mark Messersmith outdoor track and field complex, UNI tennis courts, and any “other outdoor areas where access is restricted to a majority of the campus community.”  Iowa Code section 261H.1(4). 

See campus map for further information relating to these locations where chalking is not allowed.

Overwriting, erasing, defacing, or altering the chalking of another person is prohibited.  The content of the chalking must not violate any applicable law or University policy.  Alleged violations of this section of the policy (“Chalking”) should be reported as soon as possible to the Dean of Students office.  UNI Facilities Management personnel or other authorized University personnel may clean and wash sidewalks and other outdoor areas at any time in the course of their customary duties.  The University may remove, without notice, any chalked message that does not comply with this or any other University policy.

D.   Electronic Postings 

Any messages posted to or distributed via UNI-hosted websites, electronic bulletin boards, social media, e-mail, or other IT systems for purposes of promoting any Student Organization or Employee Organization or any event sponsored by such organizations must comply with all applicable University policies, including but not limited to UNI Policy 14.08 World Wide Web (https://policies.uni.edu/1408), UNI Policy 14.04 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources (https://policies.uni.edu/1404), and UNI Policy 13.02 Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (https://policies.uni.edu/1302).

E.    Violations of Policy 

All signs and displays posted on campus must comply with this and other University policies, including but not limited to UNI Policy 10.09 Federal and State Lobbying and Political Activity (https://policies.uni.edu/1009), UNI Policy 13.02 Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (https://policies.uni.edu/1302), and UNI Policy 13.18 Alcohol and Drugs (https://policies.uni.edu/1318).  Materials that are found to violate University policy or applicable law may be removed without notice.  Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action.  In addition, the University may seek reimbursement for any costs incurred in cleaning up or repairing damage to UNI property or the removal of any signs or postings that violate this policy.

President’s Office, approved February 14, 2020
University Council, approved March 23, 2020
President and President’s Cabinet, approved April 6, 2020

[Last reviewed and/or updated 4/2020, 12/2017]