Community Use of University Resources
The following guidelines describe the circumstances under
which the general public may use the University's
nonacademic facilities. Use of the academic facilities by
the public is not permitted except in the transaction of the
University's business or by permission of the Dean of the
Faculty. These academic facilities include: faculty offices,
research facilities, conference rooms, and classrooms
(except where classrooms are used for public lectures or
conferences as described in the guidelines).
Princeton University seeks to respond to community needs
and the needs of the general public by sharing its resources
and facilities when appropriate and possible. It encourages
the participation of the community in activities of mutual
benefit. However, it must protect the central educational
purposes for which the University was established and must
conserve its resources, both physical and financial.
Accordingly, University functions have priority over
community events in scheduling the use of facilities.
The following policies for the implementation of these
guiding principles are administered by the Center for
Visitor and Conference Services. It is the responsibility of
that office to see that the policies are properly applied
and, when necessary, to seek interpretations from
appropriate University officials. It is recognized that
these guidelines cannot cover every contingency. Questions
about the use of facilities or about these guidelines should
be directed to the Center for Visitor and Conference
Types of Facility Use
Public participation in activities involving the use of
University facilities takes place through five general kinds
of invitation, each of which is discussed below.
By Explicit Invitation
Many activities in the University are unambiguously open
to members of the general public. These are often announced
in the Princeton Weekly Bulletin, and most are an
integral part of the University's function as an educational
institution. Examples are: public lectures, open houses (at
Peyton Hall, FitzRandolph Observatory, Firestone Library,
etc.); conducted tours of the art museum, the chapel, and
other buildings; athletic events; concerts and plays at
McCarter Theatre and Alexander Hall; public skating at Baker
Rink; and chapel services.
By Implicit Invitation
The University makes its grounds, waters, walkways, and
roads generally available to the public, while reserving the
right to regulate or prohibit their use. Such regulations
may be called for when unrestricted use of these facilities
could impede the University's educational mission, could be
dangerous to the public, could become a nuisance to the
community, or could place the University in a position of
substantial liability. The University may therefore be
compelled to place what it considers to be reasonable limits
on the use of selected areas, such as Lake Carnegie, the
Woodrow Wilson School's reflecting pool, and the front
By Participation in University-Sponsored or
Many University facilities are available to members of
the general public on a limited basis, sometimes involving a
charge, for activities with official University sponsorship
where it is specifically determined that access by the
general public is in the best interest of the University.
Examples include: the programs of the Student Volunteers
Council; authorized participation in certain academic
programs; specified programs of the Athletic Department
(outdoor tennis, squash privileges); Firestone Library
privileges; the Program in Continuing Education; and the
Teacher Preparation Program.
By Renting University Facilities in Periods of Low
Usage, Especially in the Summer
Organizations wishing to rent University facilities
should apply to the Center for Visitor and Conference
Requests for use of University facilities will be
considered for the following types of activities, subject to
the limitations stated elsewhere in these guidelines.
1. Activities of a broad educational or informational
nature sponsored by professional societies and other
nonprofit organizations, and educational and training
programs of the tax-exempt educational components of
profit-making organizations whose principal business is not
2. Programs with artistic, cultural, or entertainment
content, which may appeal to the University community.
3. Charitable events on a limited basis.
4. Nonprofit summer camps and institutes in such areas as
sports, music, and the arts under the aegis of the Center
for Visitor and Conference Services and directed by a
salaried University official.
5. Student-initiated events approved by the Office of the
Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Office of the Dean of
the Graduate School.
The following types of activities ordinarily will not
have access to University facilities.
1. Activities sponsored by off-campus organizations for
political purposes or for fund raising for political goals
or for influencing public policy. (For campus-based
organizations, see pages 42-43.)
2. Other fund-raising activities (except for a limited
number for charitable purposes).
3. Activities conducted primarily for the purpose of
making a profit for the sponsoring organization which are
not of general interest to the University community.
4. Activities which could be construed by the public to
be educational courses or other activities sponsored by the
University when, in fact, they are not so sponsored.
5. Activities that fall outside the guidelines.
The following additional considerations will be taken
into account in considering requests for the use of
1. The activity should not interfere with the schedule of
normal activities of the University.
2. The sponsoring organization must show that it is
fiscally sound and has the resources necessary to underwrite
all risks associated with the event, and that it has
demonstrated administrative capacity to organize and manage
the event in a manner consistent with University traditions,
standards, and requirements.
3. The content of the activity should be reasonably
compatible with the primary activities and the mission of
the University as an educational institution and should be
carried out with the decorum appropriate to the academic
4. Activities that might present problems for the local
community, such as traffic congestion or noise, will be
approved only after prior consultation and coordination with
the local community.
5. Proposed activities will be reviewed to determine the
extent to which they may disadvantage local business or
University organizations through competition for
6. During the course of the academic year, when access to
facilities must be limited due to extensive use for
University purposes, preference will be given to outside
groups hosted by campus organizations or departments and
activities that are of interest to the University
The renting of University facilities will ordinarily be
on a first-come-first-served basis for eligible
organizations, except that campus-based groups or
University-sponsored programs shall have priority insofar as
administratively feasible in booking available space.
Charges for use of University facilities will be
established in advance by the Center for Visitor and
Conference Services for each activity.
By Private Invitation
Unless a member of the public uses University facilities
through one of the avenues mentioned above, he or she must
be the guest of a specific University person, who assumes
responsibility for the guest's activities and safety while
the guest is on the University campus. This guest privilege
shall not be construed to authorize members of the
University community to make nonacademic facilities
available to guests except for short visits, nor shall it be
used to relieve non-University persons or groups of the
responsibility for paying for the use of University
facilities for which charges are made.
Any individual or group, including campus-based
organizations, contemplating the use of University
facilities should also consult the guidelines relating to
political activities and those relating to University
security for persons who are not members of the University.
On the last point, see pages 82-83.