Use of Outdoor Spaces

Policy on Use of University Facilities and Grounds


All members of the University of Missouri community, students, faculty and staff share a mutual interest in maintaining conditions where the work of the university can go forward freely, in accordance with the highest standards of quality, institutional integrity and freedom of expression. The Missouri Student Unions is committed to retaining an academic environment for free expression and civil debate where each member of the public has the freedom to speak, to assemble peaceably and to petition for redress of grievances.

The Missouri Student Unions follows the recommended Policy on use of University Facilities and Grounds, as presented by the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protests, Public Spaces, Free Speech & the Press.  These recommendations are located at For the purposes of reserving indoor and outdoor space in the Missouri Students Unions, we have included highlights of the recommendations below:

  • The property of the University is primarily dedicated to academic, student life, and administrative functions, including the sovereign function of providing higher education. Except as provided by Missouri statutory law, University property is not a place of unrestricted public access.
  • All outdoor spaces are traditional public forums subject to reasonable time, place, and manner regulations. Many indoor spaces are available for use by students, student groups, or others for events and other organized or expressive activities. Although some outdoor spaces must be scheduled in advance, some outdoor spaces are available for spontaneous, unscheduled activities at any time.

STANDARDS FOR USE OF UNIVERSITY PROPERTY AND FOR CONDUCTING ORDERLY ASSEMBLIES Freedom of expression and the right to peaceably assemble, protest, and dissent are fundamental values of the University. The University will not interfere with orderly events, meetings, rallies, demonstrations, vigils, protests, or assemblies in public areas of grounds and buildings unless participants engage in one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Prevent or disrupt the orderly conduct of a University function or activity, including, but not limited to, lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, or other public events.
  • Disturb or interfere with locations where educational, health, or financial records are stored or located.
  • Hold demonstrations, protests, rallies, vigils, or assemblies in any room or other space in circumstances where a private meeting is being held, or has been scheduled to be held; private offices; museums, libraries, or facilities that normally contain valuable or sensitive materials, collections, or records protected by law or by an existing University policy (such as educational records, personnel records, or health records.
  • Injure persons, damage or destroy property, or threaten to cause such injury or damage.
  • Use sound amplification devices in a manner that violates University of Missouri Business Policy and Procedure Manual (“BPPM”) § 6.052 or that otherwise prevents or disrupts normal University academic activities or operations, or is injurious to health and safety. The BPPM can be accessed through the index found at
  • Create safety hazards, or jeopardize the safety and security of participants or others.
  • Occupy without authorization a building after it is normally closed.

Spontaneous Expressive Events and Activities Permitted in Certain Outdoor Locations.

  • The Missouri Student Unions oversees the use of Kuhlman Court and outdoor tabling areas adjacent to the MU Student Center and Memorial Student Union as reservable spaces by officially recognized MU student organizations.
  • As noted in the University guidelines, Kulhman Court is an outdoor area which may be reserved and in which spontaneous events or activities may occur in the absence of a prior reservation. 
  • If a spontaneous or unscheduled expressive activity involves one of the behaviors listed in Section III of the University guidelines, University officials shall require the activity to be relocated or rescheduled.
  • As such, the Unions ask that free expression activities not:
    • Significantly disrupt previously scheduled campus events in Kuhlman Court or in outdoor tabling areas adjacent to the MU Student Center and Memorial Student Union.
    • Utilize any amplification device, in keeping with Section: 6:052 of the Business Policy and Procedure Manual: The use of sound amplification devices in University buildings, or on any University site is prohibited unless approved by Auxiliary Service Operations(882-7255), 304 Jesse Hall.
    • Obstruct entrances or exits to buildings. In keeping with the International Fire Code (IFC), if activities are deemed to impede the ability for people to exit a building and reach a “public way” via a “continuous and unobstructed path”, members of the Missouri Student Unions staff may ask for expressive activities to move an appropriate distance from an entrance/exit.
    • Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
    • Affix items to any permanent structure or grounds (railings, buildings, greenways, trees, etc.).
    • Light any material on fire with the exception of hand-held candles which may be used with special permission. Other open flame devices and bonfires are strictly prohibited.
    • Involve solicitations or promotion of commercial enterprises.
    • Insert tent stakes into the ground without permission from MU Campus Facilities: Campus Facilities provides utility locates and irrigation locates for outdoor events. If you plan to have any tents staked in the ground for any outdoor event in Kuhlman Court, you must contact Campus Facilities-Energy Management (573-882-3094) for a utility locate and (573) 882-3094 for an irrigation system locate at least 3 working days before your event. Note: because the Mizzou campus is designated as a Botanic Garden, Kuhlman Court in its entirety or in sections may not be available due to work performed by MU Landscape.
    • Represent a threat to public safety or violate the Collected Rules and Regulations that may be prescribed by the Board of Curators or other under the authority of the Board of Curators, according to the discretion of MU Police.
  • Additional Provisions:  The following provisions apply to both reservation requests and spontaneous expressive activities.
    • Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in open areas outside of buildings. Policies related to use of facilities, including for solicitation or sales are outlined in the Collected Rules and Regulations (CRR 110.010).
    • Expressive activity and expression covered under this policy must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and University of Missouri policies, rules and regulations.
    • Activity that results in damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the University or property belonging to students, faculty, staff or guests of the university is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially responsible.
    • Persons or organizations responsible for an activity covered under this policy must remove all signs and litter from the area at the end of the event. Otherwise, persons or organizations responsible for the event may be held financially responsible for any cleaning costs. Any items left behind or unattended (including memorials) may be removed after the event.

Scheduling Priorities. Activities of the University itself have precedence over all extracurricular events and all activities of other users. Activities of recognized student organizations and groups have priority over those of other users except the University. Occasions may arise when, in order to accommodate official University activities and functions, an official University activity takes precedence for use of an already scheduled space. In regard to the Missouri Student Unions, a group who has reserved a space in advance will take priority over a group who has not reserved the space.

Considering Scheduling Requests: Time, Place, Manner, Security, and Other Standards.

  • When reserving space for events or activities, the Unions will consider (a) whether the requested location is suitable for the event or activity, and (b) whether health and safety concerns require special precautions or arrangements.
  • Considerations include: anticipated size of the proposed event or activity; noise likely to be generated by the proposed event or activity and impact, if any, on academic activities or other University activities in the vicinity; impact of the proposed event or activity on traffic; d. whether the accommodations provided in the requested location are suitable and adequate for the proposed event or activity; whether the proposed event or activity complies with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies; and whether the proposed event or activity poses any risk to the health or safety of participants, observers, or others in the vicinity of the event or activity.