Campaigning on Campus
Is Your Group Planning any “Get Out the Vote” and Campaigning Events?
The University of Minnesota encourages civic engagement and participation in the political process. In order to ensure successful events and to reduce the likelihood of groups experiencing unintended consequences due to unfamiliarity with University policies and procedures, we have compiled some resources as a guide to help your group navigate the University as you plan any campaigning, outreach or other election related activities on campus. (Please note, these policies and guidelines are separate from All-Campus Elections guidelines.)
Please contact Student Activities if you are planning any large outreach events which include the potential for large crowds, media involvement and/or high profile speakers. The University may require enhanced security, emergency personnel, or specific precautions for any events held on campus and SUA can help you with the review and approval process. We want to make sure that your events are successful and that you experience as few surprises or issues as possible. Student groups who host events in which the University deems additional services necessary are responsible for all costs associated for such services.
Plan ahead! Large venue spaces need to be reserved (at a minimum) 4-6 weeks ahead of the event date. Make sure you are checking on space availability before you get too far into the event planning process. More information about reserving spaces can be found on our spaces page.
Use of Campus Sidewalks
Sidewalks on campus are not a reservable space, however individuals are allowed to distribute information as long as they don’t set up any furniture or impede traffic flow. Per University policy, any food/beverage distribution or fundraising require additional approved permits.
Chalking on campus is limited to recognized student groups, University of Minnesota departments, faculty members, staff members and any registered U of M student. Chalking must comply with the procedures found on our website.
Contact Tables and Table Tents
Many student groups find that tabling in public spaces can be a useful way to share their message with other students. There are specific policies in regards to tabling in both Student Unions, as well as the Residence Halls/Apartments.
Contact table reservations can be made online for Coffman Union, St. Paul Student Center and outdoor spaces. Please keep in mind:
- Tables are free for registered student organizations. All other organizations will be charged a fee. All literature distribution must be in compliance with the University Wide Policy on Distributing Publications and Installing Banners at the University.
- Tables, groups, and/or distribution of printed material must not obstruct normal traffic flow. In Coffman Memorial Union, distribution or display to patrons using escalators is prohibited.
- Reserved tables must display the name of the organization and be staffed at all times by members of the organization that have reserved the space.
- Use of the table must be by the organization that holds the reservation. Organizations are not allowed to sponsor other organizations.
- Personnel must remain seated behind or standing to the side of the contact table. Solicitation in the hallways or active distribution to patrons in the hallways is prohibited.
- Personnel from non-University vendors or companies are not allowed at the contact tables for sales-related, fundraising or commercial activity.
Table Tents created by Student Groups are not allowed in the Student Unions and will be removed.
Please review policies and reservation guidelines for contact tabling and use of table tents for Residence Halls.
Posting Policies & Distribution of Publications
Hanging signs or posters on campus is one of the most popular and successful ways to get the message out. The University allows posting for student groups in approved locations. Any posting that is not displayed in an approved location may be removed. Any damages to buildings incurred due to inappropriate posting will be assessed to the student group and its officers. Student Unions & Activities and Residence Halls both have an approval process for poster/flyer distribution that can be found on our promotion page.
Political Solicitation in on-campus Residential Facilities
Political solicitation may take place in on-campus residential facilities under specific guidelines. The full Housing & Residential Life Political Solicitation Policy includes information regarding the approval process and guidelines for campaigning activities prior to Election Day and on Election Day. Make sure you are aware of what is permitted and get appropriate approval from Housing and Residential Life staff.
Collaborating with External Organizations
Student groups are sometimes involved in partnerships with organizations external to the University. Groups may be approached due to the unique access they have to campus, as well as their connection to fellow students. It is important to engage in positive collaborations and to recognize when your group is being approached in a manner that is not consistent with University policy. We would like to help you enter into healthy collaborations. Please contact Student Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss collaborations or partnerships you are considering, if you’d like us to review any partnership agreements and/or if you have any questions regarding student group policies and procedures.
The benefits you are able to access, as an officer of a student group, are for your group’s use alone. For instance, reserving a meeting room, event venue or contact table allows you to use this space only for your group’s purpose. Groups cannot reserve spaces for use by another student group, University department, outside group, or individual use to provide access or reduced costs in using University facilities, services, or staff. The organization or individual who holds the reservation must be primarily responsible for planning, implementing, and financing the event. If intentional misrepresentation occurs, this may result in the organization that holds the reservation being charged the higher of the two rate structures. This could also impact the group’s access to benefits and/or ability to reserve space in a campus facility.
Responsibility and Accountability
When student groups register with Student Unions & Activities, they assume responsibility for the actions of their group. As the responsible officers of your group, make sure that you are aware of the activities and events that members of the group will be participating in or organizing on behalf of the group. Please review the full Responsibility and Accountability policy for student groups.
For additional specific student group policy information, please review the Student Group section of our website.
Questions? Contact Us!
If you have questions, please contact either Student Unions & Activities or Housing & Residential Life (depending upon the nature of your question).
Student Unions & Activities
Student Activities is located on the first floor of Coffman Union, CMU 126. We are open from 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Housing & Residential Life
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