University Event Policy

University departments, offices, groups, and student organizations and non-affiliates requesting to reserve campus facilities are expected to follow University Event Policies. 

Reason(s) for the Policy
  • To establish that event advertising is the responsibility of the event host and to disclose what type of information must be communicated
  • To clarify the definition and role of an event sponsor
  • To establish how a non-affiliate can gain access to University facilities
  • To ensure a safe and responsible event
Advertising Policy

Event advertising, both on and off campus, may not be done before copy is approved by the host venue manager and, where relevant, the student activities adviser or appropriate dean. When an event requires admission by ticket, or if there is an attendance limit, all advertising must describe these requirements. If an event is sold out, the sponsoring organization must make a good faith effort to publicize that information. If admission requires an ID, copy must include which IDs will be accepted, stating “Valid ID card from (insert names of invited schools or organizations) or Columbia University required for admission to event.” The sponsoring organization must be the sole source of event advertising and its name must appear on all advertising. Advertising indicating that a Columbia University school or department is sponsoring the event must receive written consent of the appropriate University dean or designated school officer. University policies and state laws covering the distribution or sale of alcohol at an event will apply to all advertising copy.

Advanced Copy Of Event Promotional Material and Other Collateral

Non-affiliated organizations must include the following language on all promotional material and other collateral for events to be held at Columbia University: "This event is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Columbia University. " Such language must be in a font type and size no smaller than the font type and size used in the rest of the event promotional material or other collateral. All promotional material and other collateral must be submitted prior to being distributed in connection with the event. Further, in any event promotional materials, use of the COLUMBIA name must be secondary to the event name, building name and street address.

By way of example, for an event to be held in Lerner Hall, an acceptable subject line in an email promotion would be the following: "Writing Workshop, Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, Columbia University.

Failure to comply with these provisions will result in cancellation.

Event Sponsorship

The sponsor of an event must be a recognized University group or organization, identified by a University chart string and, in the case of Student Events, an adviser. The sponsor is the primary planner and contact for the event and accepts full responsibility for all stages of planning and execution of the event. In addition, the sponsoring organization must have a strong presence at the event and, when necessary, have a valid University account number or have approved access to a valid University account number and take fiscal responsibility for event costs. The sponsoring organization or group must be the sole source of event advertising and must have its name on all such advertising.

For cosponsored events, both groups and organizations must qualify as described above. Co-sponsorship of an event with those not affiliated with the University will be considered under the non-affiliate policy. Event sponsors may not transfer a reservation to another organization, nor may space reserved for an approved program be used for another purpose.


Columbia-recognized University departments or offices may sponsor non-affiliates seeking to hold events at Columbia. Nonprofit community organizations, public and civic organizations, political organizations, and governmental organizations must use the University’s Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs as their campus contact and sponsor in arranging for space.

A sponsor is the primary planner or contact for the event and accepts full responsibility for all stages of planning and execution of the event. In addition, the sponsoring organization must have a strong presence at the event and, when necessary, have a valid University chartstring and take fiscal responsibility for event costs. The sponsoring department or office is expected to approve all advertising for the event. Event sponsors may not transfer a reservation to another organization, nor may space reserved for an approved program be used for another purpose.

University Interest

In order for a non-affiliate to gain access to University facilities, there should be a significant University interest in hosting the event. There should also be a strong nexus between the event the non-affiliate wishes to hold at the University and the educational and research mission of the University or its standing as a member of the community. As a starting point, the non-affiliate should speak with a department head or representative of the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs. In addition, the non-affiliate must agree to comply with all of the University’s standard terms and conditions.

Safe and Responsible Event

Consistent with the Rules of University Conduct, the University may regulate the time, place and manner of certain forms of public expression.  This includes restricting certain activities when the University believes there is a genuine threat of harassment and/or the potential for an unmanageable safety concern. 

The University has an obligation to ensure that all members of our community can participate in their academic pursuits without fear for their safety. That is our highest priority.

To that end, the University had codified this policy to promote safe and responsible events for students, faculty and other members of the Columbia community.

All events require a reservation and advance approval. Please visit the appropriate campus website for reservations and approval. 

Generally, ten working days advance notice is required for any “Special Event,” as described below.  This is to ensure that the University has adequate time to prepare. The University may on a case by case basis grant exceptions to the ten-day requirement.  Only University affiliates may apply to hold a Special Event.  All Special Events must have a faculty or other academic sponsor.

Special Events include those events that meet any of the following criteria:

  • event in outdoor University space
  • presence of press/media (invited or otherwise)
  • advertised beyond Columbia's campus
  • high attendance/capacity, generally more than 25 attendees
  • presence of alcohol
  • potential for significant disruption
  • security concerns

The University reserves the right to limit any event to University ID holders.

All Special Events sponsored by student groups are required to seek approval in writing through the student event approval process. Promoting an event that has not been approved is a violation of this Policy. All others must seek approval from the Office of Senior Executive Vice President using this form


    The University recognizes the importance of vigils and similar ceremonies (“Vigils”) in response to loss in the community or world events as an important way to bring the community together. Vigils must be coordinated through the Office of Religious Life. The University will consider waiver of the ten days’ notice requirement for Vigils, subject to the University’s ability to prepare, including to address all safety considerations.  Only one vigil may be held per day on any given campus.


    After consultations with the Executive Committee of the University Senate, a new Interim University Policy for Safe Demonstrations is now in place in conjunction with the current special events policy.  The goal of this interim policy is to preserve freedom of speech while ensuring that Columbia can continue to fulfill its mission as a center of research and learning for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. 

    This interim policy preserves the right of members of the Columbia community to be heard and streamlines the process to reduce the timeframe necessary for approval of a demonstration.  By clearly defining place and timing, the interim policy also accommodates members of the community who do not want to participate to work around these events.

    To ensure that academic life on campus is not disrupted by demonstrations, the interim policy does not allow protest activity in academic spaces.  It covers individuals as well as groups, making it inclusive of all types of demonstrations, and provides consequences for violations by groups and individuals.  The interim policy also provides a review mechanism through the Senate Executive Committee.

    Failure to Comply with Events Policy

    • Attendees at events held without approval as described in this Policy will be required to disperse. 
    • University groups or individual members of the community who proceed with Special Events, Vigils or Demonstrations that have not been approved as described in this Policy will be subject to discipline and sanctions consistent with applicable University policy.
    • Student groups proceeding without approval may lose the right to sponsor events and/or become ineligible for University recognition or funding. See Student Event Policy for more details.  

    Note: This policy does not apply to events organized by the University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.