Procedures for Non-Departmental Users to Request Access to Campus Facilities FAQ

What parts of the interim policy were changed in response to the feedback received during the public comment period?

In response to public comments and stakeholder feedback, the campus changed four key aspects of the policy: (1) the deadline for notifying the campus of a potential Major Event was shortened from eight weeks to six weeks; (2) the number of participants triggering the definition of a Major Event was increased from 200 to 300; (3) the definition of a dance was changed to clarify that dance performances are not considered Major Events; and (4) the distribution of alcohol at Lawrence Hall of Science, the Botanical Garden, the Blake House, and Anthony Hall was exempted from the Major Event policy.

Can you summarize which elements of the interim policy were not changed and why?

Many of the public comments called for the policy to be shorter and in simpler language. The policy was shortened to 20 pages (including appendices), but due to the complexity of the topic, we could not make it any shorter or simpler.

Which security and insurance costs are student organizations responsible for?

As has been the case since 2009, Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and other non-departmental users are required to assume responsibility for their event’s basic security costs. These costs can range from non-existent to substantial. An example of the latter was an event featuring the Dalai Lama that generated basic security costs in excess of $25,000.

As per the policy, basic security costs are determined in a viewpoint-neutral manner and without regard to the content of any performance, the perspectives of any speaker, or any anticipated opposition to the event. The primary driver of basic security costs is the number of people expected to attend. For more information about the criteria used to determine basic security costs, as well as what they cover, see Page 4 of the policy, under “Security Procedures for All Major Events.”

For Major Events, basic security costs rarely cover the total cost of security expenses. Security measures deemed necessary by the UCPD to confront or deter anticipated unlawful activity, disruption, and/or violence is the responsibility of the campus. For example, in the Fall of 2017 an RSO hosted a speaker at a Major Event that the UCPD assessed as needing significant, additional security measures and personnel. In that instance total campus security costs exceeded $800,000. The hosting RSO was responsible for approximately $9,000 in basic security costs----or about 1.1% of what the campus paid.

The Major Events policy keeps in place a long-standing provision requiring RSOs and other non-departmental users to obtain insurance coverage for their use of campus facilities. This requirement has been in place since 2003 for outside users and since 2009 for RSOs. Again, the Major Event policy does not change this obligation. See https://riskservices.berkeley.edu/events-activities/department for more about insuring campus events.

Why does UC Berkeley charge students for basic security?

RSOs are legally autonomous and independent from the campus. With autonomy comes the responsibility to meet basic expenses associated with an event. Just as it was before the Major Events policy was adopted, RSOs are expected to pay for security necessary to carry out an event in the absence of any expected disturbance (i.e. making sure people do not gain unauthorized access, making sure only individuals over 21 consume alcohol, etc.). Some facilities, like Zellerbach Hall, require police security for every event. RSOs are also charged when they want the UCPD to provide security the UCPD doesn’t deem necessary for protection of the event. RSOs are not charged for extraordinary security necessary to respond to protests or protect the community.

Is there still an “advance notice” provision in the policy? If so, why?

Yes. Non-departmental users planning a campus event that may qualify as a Major Event must do the following at least six weeks before the event: (1) contact the administrator responsible for managing the intended venue(s), (2) submit an Event Notification and Security Assessment Form to the UCPD, and (3) submit an Event Registration Form to ASUC Event Services. The great majority of the time, the UCPD determines the event does not require additional security and planning can proceed without further security preparations.

The requirement for six weeks’ advance notice is based on how long it actually takes to complete the logistical, planning, and security arrangements for Major Events. This is standard practice, for example, at private sector event venues, which often require even more than six weeks’ notice. For instance, from a security standpoint, the UCPD needs two weeks to evaluate whether it will need to request additional personnel from other law enforcement agencies to keep a Major Event safe. If more security is needed, other law enforcement agencies typically require four weeks’ notice to provide additional personnel for a planned event (as opposed to an unplanned or spontaneous disturbance). The total required lead time is therefore six weeks.

Is this the end of spontaneous assembly and spur of the moment events on campus?

No. Non-departmental users may schedule events on short notice at Upper Sproul Plaza, Lower Sproul Plaza, and the Savio Steps because the policy does not apply to those locations. The policy only applies when an RSO or other non-departmental user is formally reserving (renting) a campus facility other than Upper Sproul Plaza, Lower Sproul Plaza, or the Savio Steps.

Why is the number that makes an event “major” set at 300?

The number of attendees that makes an event "major" under the policy is based on the ability of the UCPD to respond to a crowd disturbance with its current level of staffing. For a planned event of more than 300 people, the UCPD may need to arrange for additional officers to be brought in from other UC campuses, or from other police departments, to reasonably assure the safety of the event and the safety of the campus.

Can you provide a quick checklist of what a non-departmental user must do to schedule a Major Event, with references to the exact pages in the policy where details about each step can be found?

An RSO must do the following at least six weeks in advance of the event:

(1) Submit a reservation request to the desired campus venue;
(2) Submit an Event Notification and Security Assessment Form to UCPD by email or by dropping the form off at the UCPD in the basement of Sproul Hall; and
(3) Submit an Event Registration Form following the on-line instructions.

All of these requirements are on Page 7 of the policy. The policy’s Appendix B on Page 16 provides a fuller event planning timeline that RSOs should find helpful.

The quick checklist for other non-departmental users is largely the same. Those requirements start on Page 8 of the policy.

It seems like the security assessment is the main variable that would determine if my event is a “major” one. What’s the best, fastest way to get security needs assessed?

Submit the Event Notification and Security Assessment Form to the UCPD more than six weeks in advance of the event.

Do I need a security assessment for an event on Upper or Lower Sproul Plaza? If not, why not?

No. Upper and Lower Sproul Plazas are not subject to the policy. In accordance with Section 331 of the Berkeley Campus Regulations Implementing University Policies, anyone can use Upper and Lower Sproul Plazas without a reservation from 6 am to 12 midnight seven days per week for discussion or public expression that does not involve sound amplification. Non-departmental users who wish to use sound amplification in Upper or Lower Sproul Plaza may plan events on short notice through the ASUC Student Union Event Services Office. Amplified sound is allowed at Upper and Lower Sproul Plazas from 12 noon to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm seven days per week.

Why does amplified sound automatically make an event “major”?

Outdoor amplified sound almost always affects campus operations at locations other than where the event is scheduled. The purpose of the policy is to provide time for consideration and coordination of such impacts. Even at Upper and Lower Sproul Plazas, the use of amplified sound is restricted to 12 noon to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm under Section 342 of the Berkeley Campus Regulations Implementing University Policies.

If an academic or administrative department agrees to co-sponsor my event do I still need to go through all these steps?

The policy doesn't apply to departmental events, because the campus can control events the campus itself stages. For example, if the UCPD thinks it needs more time to plan security for a departmental event, the Chancellor can direct the department to postpone the event. The campus provides space to non-departmental users on a contractual basis, and once the contract is signed, the campus is bound to fulfill its obligations, meaning the campus does not have the same flexibility in terms of event planning with non-departmental users.

Under the Major Events policy, departmental “sponsorship” means the department takes over responsibility for scheduling, organizing, and supervising the event.

Who is the first person I should contact if I’m planning a Major Event?

Contact the event coordinator for the venue where you want to hold your event. You do not have to obtain a confirmed reservation for the venue on the date and time you want; in fact, most venues will not provide a confirmed reservation on initial contact. Instead they will put a hold on the date and time you request pending a UCPD security assessment and other considerations. Contact information for various campus venues can be found in the policy’s Appendix C, pages 17-20.

Which are the venues that UCPD says are protectable?

The UCPD can protect any location with enough resources and time to plan. Of course, no amount of protection can completely guarantee safety or prevent property damage. Depending on the type of event, some campus venues will be more protectable than others. Based on a UCPD security assessment, the campus may request that non-departmental users hold their event at more easily-protected locations.

Do I still have to pay for security if my event is disrupted or shut down? If so, why?

Planning any event involves risk that the event will not occur as anticipated. The contract for use of the venue describes who is responsible for costs if an event is cancelled. Campus venues have the right to set their own terms for allocation of costs in the event of a cancellation. Throughout the event industry, it is common for the event organizer/promoter to bear the financial risk of an event cancellation, and that is usually the case with campus venues as well. It is extremely unusual for a planned event to be shut down by the University or the UCPD, and that cannot happen except in the event of an imminent threat to safety or property that cannot be managed any other way. It is more likely an event will be cancelled because a speaker or other performer becomes ill or misses a flight.