Policies and Institutional Rules
UT Austin's Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities
Student Activities has identified chapters within The University of Texas at Austin's Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities and Information on Students' Rights and Responsibilities that are specifically relevant to registered student organization and sponsored student organization officers, members and advisors.
The relevant chapters are:
Chapter 6 - Student Organizations
Chapter 10 - Use of University Property, Rooms and Spaces
Chapter 11 - Student Discipline and Conduct
Chapter 13 - Speech, Expression and Assembly
Chapter 14 - Prohibition of Hazing
The Institutional Rules of Student Services and Activities and Information on Students' Rights and Responsibilities guide and govern the interactions of the members of the University community.
Common Student Organization Event Policies
Student Activities staff members may address the following policies with officers:
- Invited Audience
- Amplified Sound
- Distribution of Literature
- Showing Films on Campus
- Filming on Campus
- Food Distribution
- Fundraising on Campus
- Guest Speakers on Campus
- Public Assemblies
- Travel and Travel Insurance
According to existing policy and the Regents' Rules and Regulations, student organizations may not invite the public at large or groups unaffiliated with the university to their on-campus events. This does not apply to academic or administrative units. With approval of the sponsoring academic or administrative unit, specific events of sponsored student organizations may be exempt. A registered student organization event co-sponsored by an academic or administrative unit may also be exempt.
Sound is considered amplified when the noise is produced or made louder by any electric, electronic, mechanical or motor-powered means. Amplified sound is permitted on weekdays in nine areas on campus, with approval from Student Activities staff. The areas in which amplified sound may be used on weekdays include:
- The West Mall Amplified Sound Area (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)
- The Union Patio Amplified Sound Area (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)
- The Winship Circle Amplified Sound Area (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- The Battle Oaks Amplified Sound Area (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- The Mustangs Amplified Sound Area (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- The San Jacinto Amplified Sound Area (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- The LBJ Fountain Amplified Sound Area (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- The 2609 University Avenue courtyard (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
- The Creekside Residence Hall Lawn (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
The University of Texas at Austin seeks to preserve the limited space on campus for the use of students, faculty and staff. Therefore, student organizations may not cosponsor on-campus programs or events with off-campus persons or organizations.
Student Activities encourages student organizations to work collaboratively with other organizations and university entities for events and programs.
Examples of prohibited cosponsorship activities include, but are not limited to:
- An event that substantially depends on an off-campus person or organization for planning, staffing or management of an event;
- An event that reserves a room or space for the use of an off-campus person or organization; and/or
- An event that operates for the benefit of an off-campus person or organization.
Distribution of Literature
Student organizations have the ability to distribute literature on campus.
Literature is defined as any printed material that is produced in multiple copies for distribution to potential readers.
Literature can be used to advertise student organization information, promote an idea or for a variety of other purposes. Student organizations may sell, distribute or display literature on campus in accordance with the following guidelines:
- The literature is not distributed by hawking, shouting or accosting individuals.
- The literature is not a promotion for an off-campus for-profit business, organization, agency or national association.
- Literature that is dropped on the ground in the area where it was distributed must be picked up by the student organization.
Literature distributed by student organizations on campus must contain a disclaimer that indicates that student organization literature is not official University literature and does not represent the views of the University or its officers. The disclaimer should read:
[Name of publication] is published by [name of student organization], a registered student organization. [Name of publication] is not an official publication of The University of Texas at Austin and does not represent the views of the University or its officers.
Student organizations may display exhibits on campus by reserving space through Student Activities. An exhibit is an object or a collection of objects designed for temporary display and is not permanently attached to the ground. Examples of exhibits commonly displayed on campus include: a reflection wall, a sailboat, vehicle, a poster display, etc.
Student organizations may display exhibits in outdoor locations on campus designated by Student Activities, as long as they do not impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic or pose a safety risk. No exhibits may be displayed on the Main Mall between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. Exhibit space may be approved for 14 consecutive days.
An officer must schedule a consultation with a Student Activities staff member before the request is approved.
Showing Films on Campus
Student organizations may sponsor slide shows or films on campus provided they comply with all copyright regulations. This policy means that student organizations must obtain permission from the individuals who own the rights to the film prior to showing the film. This also applies to virtual movie night events on campus. Student organizations should not utilize streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu etc.) or video conferencing platforms (Zoom etc.) to show films on campus. For more information about obtaining rights to films, refer to www.mplc.com and www.swank.com.
Filming on Campus
Student organizations may film their on-campus events strictly for archival purposes. Film recordings may be used for: recruitment videos, videos used for the promotion of the student organization or videos used for the promotion of the student organization events. Film footage may be posted on the student organization's site and social media pages.
The filming of student organization events for archival purposes does not require a permit from the Office of Public Affairs. Information regarding filming procedures for other types of filming can be found at University Communications' Student Filming web page.
If you have questions regarding student organization film policy on campus, please contact Student Activities at 512-471-3065.
The University follows all local and state health and sanitation regulations and guidelines with regard to food handling. Students must have a current food distribution permit to distribute or sell food and beverages on or in university properties, including off-campus preparation for distribution or sale on campus.
The site and facilities for on-campus preparation of food or beverages must have a permit issued by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Student organizations must obtain food permits from EHS seven days in advance of their event. For more information about the sale or distribution of food on campus or to download the necessary permits, please visit Environmental Health and Safety's Food Safety web page. You may also contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety by telephoning 512-471-3511.
Fundraising on Campus
Fundraisers and the solicitation of funds may be conducted outside university buildings by student organizations. Prior to collecting money or fundraising in any on-campus building, student organizations must receive approval from that facility's building manager.
Student organizations may receive donations from non-university entities; however, non-university organizations may not cosponsor activities on campus. Organizations may thank their donors through public announcement or on a program for a performance (i.e., "Special Thanks to...") but may not advertise for companies or use corporate logos.
Fundraisers may not be conducted for private gain of individuals or for-profit businesses. Consult with Student Activities staff early in the fundraising planning process to ensure compliance with applicable rules and policies.
Student organizations may present guest speakers who may make speeches, give performances or lead discussions in fixed indoor or outdoor locations on campus with advance approval from Student Activities. A guest speaker is not a student, faculty member or staff member.
Guest speakers may distribute literature to persons who attend the event, but not to others who have not chosen to attend the event. The guest speaker may not address potential listeners who have not chosen to attend the event. The guest speaker may not help staff a student organization's table or exhibit. Finally, a guest speaker may not solicit for her or his off-campus business, organization or service.
When presenting a guest speaker, the student organization must make clear that the organization, not the University, invited the speaker and that the views expressed by the speaker are her or his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the University. The student organization should make the following introductory comments:
"Tonight's event is being hosted by [name of student organization], a registered student organization. This is not an event sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin. The views expressed tonight are of the student organization/invited guest speaker and do not represent the views of the University or its officers."
Student organizations requesting parking spaces will be asked to pay for the use of those spaces. If other services are required, such as the use of a guard to reserve parking spaces, additional fees will apply.
To arrange for the use of parking spaces, complete the Event Parking Request Form online at Parking and Transportation Services' Event Parking Request web page. Student organization requests must be submitted at least 14 days prior to the event start date. A copy of an outdoor space / room reservation confirmation must be provided to Parking and Transportation Services when picking up permits from PTS.
The freedoms of speech, expression and assembly are fundamental rights of all persons and are central to the mission of the University. Students, faculty and staff have the right to assemble, to speak and to attempt to attract the attention of others and the corresponding rights to hear the speech of others when they choose to listen and to ignore the speech of others when they choose not to listen.
However, these activities are subject to the well-established right of colleges and universities to regulate time, place and manner so that the activities do not intrude upon or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of the University. The University shall not discriminate on the basis of the political, religious, philosophical, ideological or academic viewpoint expressed by any person.
University persons and organizations may publicly assemble on campus in any place where, at the time of the assembly, the persons assembling are permitted to be, without advance permission, as long as there is no disruption to other University activities.
To ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, student organizations may be required to hire The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) for on-campus events. There will be a cost per hour per officer. Student organizations may not hire private security for an on-campus event.
To arrange for UTPD security at a student organization event, contact UTPD's Special Events Requests at 512-471-4441 extension 3 to arrange a meeting.
Travel and Travel Insurance
The UT Austin Travel Policies are designed to ensure that student organizations adequately consider and plan for the safety issues associated with an event or activity involving travel. There are specific steps students must take before they travel depending on their travel destination. Additionally, students who do not have health insurance can purchase temporary health insurance through Student Activities when the student is participating in student organization travel. Student organizations planning to travel should meet with a Student Activities staff member at least 21 business days prior to the trip.