Student Group Event Policy and Procedure

This policy defines the process that needs to be followed by recognized student groups to host events.

Text: COVID-19 Update

For the safety and health of our community and to ensure all undergraduate students have access to student organizations, in-person undergraduate student group programming for the Fall 2020 semester will not be permitted. Rather, student organizations should host robust programs, meetings, initiatives, and events virtually to continue to engage with the Columbia University community in an online format. To read more about COVID-19 policy updates, please see the Columbia University Event Policy.

Reason(s) for the Policy

This policy is intended to promote safe and responsible social events for Columbia University’s recognized student organizations.

Student groups or organizations should begin the process of event planning and space reservation through their respective student affairs offices. The organization's adviser must approve the space request for all Special Events, as outlined in the Event Classification section below. Advisers must also approve requests for any Standard Events that may incur expenses such as Technical Services, University Proctors, Public Safety, etc. A University account number must be provided and approved by the adviser in anticipation of possible costs associated with the event. Finally, student events must be held primarily for the Columbia University community.

Event Classification

For purposes of determining necessary levels of planning and support, events are classified as Standard or Special Events. The classification of an event is dependent upon variables such as type of event (meeting, performance, exhibit, etc.), attendance projections, speakers or performers, level of advertising, and safety considerations. A space use request is completed to help identify the participants and sponsors of an event and to assist in determining the level of support necessary to hold the event. The request should be filed as early as possible.

For Special Events, 10 business days' notice is required. The deadlines listed below are the latest times at which requests may be submitted. The adviser will send a notification to University Event Management at the time that the group or organization applies for space to hold a Special Event. The event level will be determined following the Event Review.

Standard Events include events that do not meet the criteria for a Special Event. These events can include meetings and similar programs, performances, lectures, etc. Space Requests and all service requests must be completed and submitted no later than 10 business days before the requested date of the event. If the deadline specified by the facility/location that is being requested is more than 10 business days in advance of the proposed event, then that deadline will apply. At the time of the reservation deadline, all requests for technical, setup, and other services must also be submitted.

Special Events include those events that meet the following criteria:

  • presence of press/media (invited or otherwise)
  • advertised beyond Columbia's campus
  • high attendance/capacity
  • presence of alcohol
  • potential for significant disruption
  • security concerns on the part of the recognized student group, advisers, or guest

The presence of one of these criteria may not necessarily elevate the event to a Special Event status, however, these factors should be considered cumulatively.

For a Special Event, space and service application must be completed and submitted no later than 10 business days before the requested date of the event, and the Event Review must be completed at least 10 business days before the date of the event. Special consideration will be made for events that fall within the 10-business-day requirement. Such consideration is made on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the appropriate advising office. If the deadline specified by the facility/location that is being requested is more than 10 business days in advance of the proposed event, then that deadline will apply. At the time of the reservation deadline, all requests for technical, setup, and other services must also be submitted.

CUID-Only Special Events

All Special Events are subject to a CUID-only rule. Waivers of this rule are available and will be granted where possible, taking into account: (a) whether the event features student participation, and (b) the safety and security of all participants and audience.  

Guidance:  Many events hosted by registered student organizations at Columbia offer wonderful opportunities for students to engage, present and perform with and for others outside of our University community. For this reason, University staff will grant requests for waivers of the CUID-only rule particularly where an event features student participation, such as interschool collaborations, competitions, workshops, forums and conferences; student parties; student performances or similar student activities. As always, University staff will also consider the safety and security of all involved.

Space Application

Applicants will be requested to fill in various sections of the application form depending upon the classification of their events. The sponsoring organization must provide all the requested information in a timely and accurate manner to the venue manager, and for student groups, to the appropriate school activities officer. Any changes in the details of the event that occur after the safety review is completed must be conveyed to the person who originally received the application. The venue manager or the sponsoring organization's school may cancel or withdraw approval for an event if agreements are not followed or safety and security conditions change after the Event Review is conducted.

 

Event Review

An Event Review may be requested by the sponsoring group's advising office or officers from the sponsoring group's school. Events that have any of the following criteria may necessitate an Event Review:

  • presence of press/media (invited or otherwise)
  • advertised beyond Columbia's campus
  • high attendance/capacity
  • serving of alcohol
  • potential for significant disruption
  • security concerns on the part of the recognized student group, advisers, or guest

An Event Review is required for all Special Events. This review is arranged by the appropriate advising office or officers from the sponsoring group's school and includes members of the University administration (University Event Management, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Office of Public Safety, Office of the Provost, Facilities, etc.) that may be required to provide support for the event.

This process normally takes 5 business days and it must be completed 10 business days prior to the event. Special consideration will be made for events that fall within the 10-business-day requirement. Such consideration is made on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the appropriate advising office. During the Event Review, officers from the sponsoring group's school and other University officers will evaluate and determine the needs of the event. These requirements will be discussed with the sponsoring organization. All issues and arrangements must be resolved 5 business days in advance of the event.

Space Requests for Special Events must be competed and all information provided to the appropriate school officer and the venue manager 10 business days before the proposed date of the event in order for the review to be conducted. If agreement about safety and security arrangements for a Special Event cannot be reached by 5 business days before the proposed date of the event, approval for the event on that date may not be granted and all holds on the space may be released. Special consideration will be made for events that fall within the 10-business-day requirement. Such consideration is made on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the appropriate advising office.

Guest Lists

Recognized student groups sponsoring a campus event may invite guests who are unaffiliated with the University to the event. The student group must compile a guest list of those individuals who have been invited to the event exclusively by the student group; the list will include a reasonable number of guests in accordance with the size of the event. The guest list must be submitted to the sponsoring group's advising office for review and approval no later than 2 business days before the event. Once the guest list is submitted, it is considered final and no additional names may be added. All persons named on the guest list must be known to the student group and specifically invited by the student group.

Speakers and performers may submit a limited guest list of individuals personally known to the speaker or performer. This list must be submitted to the sponsoring group's advising office for review and approval no later than 2 business days prior to the event.

The conduct of all guests is bound by University Rules and the student group may be held responsible for the behavior of their invited guests. The University reserves the right to manage the event in accordance with University Event Management policies.

Cancellation Policy for Student Events

Student events that do not have furniture or Technical Services should be cancelled through the online reservation system (EMS) up to 1 business day in advance of the event. Events planned for a Saturday or Sunday must be cancelled through EMS the Thursday prior to the event.

Events with furniture or Technical Services must be cancelled through EMS 5 business days in advance of the event.

For large scale events like performances and productions, please provide 10 business days notice.

Cancellations for reasons other than those outside of an organization’s control may impact future booking status. Student groups are allowed 3 cancellations without notification before reservation privileges will be affected. Both the first and second time a group does not show up for a scheduled event without advance notice, they will receive a warning. After a third incident, the group will lose the privilege of reserving space in Lerner Hall, classrooms and Residence Hall Lounges for 14 academic weeks.

The University reserves the right, without penalty, to cancel or relocate an event with at least 3 business days notice.

Fronting Policy

Any student or student organization reserving indoor or outdoor space is required to formally submit a request. Submissions include event contact, event type, description, University sponsor, speaker or presenter, attendees, and any food/drinks expected. Booking space on behalf of another student group, including unrecognized student groups, or an outside entity is prohibited. Changes to reservation requests must be made 10 business days prior to the event date, including after an event is approved. Significant changes are not allowed after the event review is complete.