The following are Brown University policies that are relevant to student organizations and their activities in alphabetical order.

Banners (Sharpe Refectory & Andrews)

Brown First Policy

Code of Student Conduct

Commencement Weekend Performance Policy

Computing Policies

Departmental Group Guidelines

Event Registration & Party Management

Films and Film Rights, Public Showing of

Fire Safety for Events

GPH Housing Policy

Inactive Group Accounts, Redistribution of Funds

Minors, Working With

Political Activities Guidelines

Postering and Publicity Regulations

Protest and Demonstration Guidelines

Reading & Finals Period Policy


Spring Weekend Policy

Student Enterprise (Student-Run Businesses) &
Addendum - University Supported Ventures

Table Reservations (Page-Robinson & Main Green)

Travel, University Supported Domestic Travel

Visual Identity (use of Brown logo/crest)

Waivers, Student Group Member

GPH Housing Overview

The Assistant Director for Greek & Program House Engagement (AD GPHE), the Office of Residential Life, and the Residential Council will work cooperatively with each Greek Organization and Program House to ensure that its purpose and obligations are fulfilled. All Greek Organizations and Program Houses should keep in mind that their housing is a privilege contingent on maintaining good standing with Brown Campus Life. The space allocated to each Greek organization and Program House depends on overall enrollment, the number of groups in the applicant pool, and the availability of space within the residential inventory. Final decisions are the at the discretion of the AD GPHE & ORL.

Resident membership in Residential Organizations is available only to students having a semester standing greater than or equal to two (2). Students who resign their membership or who are asked to leave a Residential Organization shall be moved to new housing by the ORL at the organization’s discretion.

GPH Housing Policies

1. In-House Membership Requirements
Residential Greek Organizations are required to maintain a minimum of 22 active in-house members.

  • If the organization falls below, it will be required to create a plan to increase membership over 6 months.
  • If the minimum 22 in-house members is not met after 6 months, the organization will have 1 additional semester to reach the minimum. During this semester the organization will work directly with the AD GPH weekly (or as otherwise established by the AD GPH) on its plan.
  • If at the end of the semester the organization has not met the 22 in-house member minimum, it will be subject to review by Residential Council and possible disbandment of the organization. .

2. Allotment
The allotment process for program and Greek houses is the means by which Residential Life assigns specific residence hall rooms to each organization. At the start of each spring semester, every Greek Organization and Program House house will work with the AD GPH to determine the house allotment for the following academic year. The allotment is based on the number of new members intending to live in house and the number of returning members intending to return in house. During this process, it is extremely important that no deadlines are missed. ORL will work with each house, but we cannot be helpful if a deadline passes.

The proposed housing allotment and retraction plan is finalized within a week after super deadline day, and these are the spaces that your organization will have to offer its in-house membership for the following fall. This allotment may decrease depending upon final numbers, but there is no way to increase the number of spaces after it has been finalized.

Allotments for Greek Organizations and Program Houses are designed to keep membership in close proximity. If your organization shares a residence hall with independent students, maintaining a strong independent community is also considered during the allotment process. ORL will not assign independent students to vacancies within a Greek or Program House allotment. Please refer to the vacancies section for guidelines on filling vacancies or to the retraction section if the house is not able to fill the vacancy.

The Office of Residential Life reserves the right to change the allocation of rooms if membership changes after the initial determination. In such instances, the ORL will notify the Residential Organization leadership as soon as possible after the change is made and will consult the Residential Organization leadership in terms of which resident will be required to change rooms.

3. Room Assignments
Residential Organizations shall have the right to make their own room assignments and changes within their houses based on the number of members.

  • This allocation must be processed through the appropriate protocols established by the ORL.
  • The allocation of rooms (amount and location) shall be determined by the ORL, subject to the placement recommendation of the Residential Council and in consultation with the Organization leadership. This consultation shall take place only after the online Greek and Program House housing process closes.

4. Retraction
Retraction is the process by which a Greek or Program House will draw back from its allotment if in-house membership decreases. All Greek and Program Houses are required to maintain themselves at the full capacity of their allotment. If this is not possible, the house must retract the appropriate amount of space in accordance with the retraction plan.

  • Retraction will be used if in-house membership decreases and the house does not have anyone that they can pull into the space. Any decrease in in-house membership that cannot be filled will be followed by retracting the appropriate space(s). All double rooms in each house must remain at capacity. If a house loses membership from a double room, they must either pull someone into the vacancy or shift around assignment to retract a single.
  • The appointed housing coordinator for the organization will be responsible for relaying information regarding retraction and assignment changes to your membership. ORL will contact the housing coordinator who will then need to make sure that they email or call any effected students. If a student contacts ORL directly, they will be asked to work directly with the housing coordinator for their organization.

5. Vacancies
Any vacancies in house will be communicated to the housing coordinator by ORL. The housing coordinator will then be responsible for finding a student to fill the vacancy or organizing the next step on the retraction plan.

The timeline for finding a student to fill the vacancy is dependent upon the time of year.

  • For a vacancy in the fall semester that occurs after assignments have been made in April through the end of June, the house will have five business days to find a student to pull into the vacancy. After that time if the house does not have anyone to fill the vacancy, Residential Life will send out notification as to what space will be retracted. At this point, the housing coordinator will organize the retraction and contact any student effect by the changes.
  • For a vacancy in the fall semester that occurs from the start of July through three business days before early arrival begins, the house will have 24 hours to find a student to pull into the space. After that time if the house does not have anyone to fill the vacancy, Residential Life will follow the next step of the retraction plan automatically moving the student from the next space to be retracted into the vacancy. The housing coordinator will be notified of this change and will be asked to respond within twenty four hours if they would like to arrange their membership assignments differently.
  • For a vacancy in the fall semester that occurs during the semester (from the first day of early arrival through December) or during the spring semester, the house will have two business days to find a student to fill the space. After that time, if the house does not have anyone to fill the vacancy, the housing coordinator will need to follow the next step on the retraction plan and communicate any moves that need to take place to complete retraction. Students will have three days to complete their relocation.
  • For a vacancy that occurs at mid-year, the house will follow the midyear change process. Keeping in mind that any student who is being pulled in from elsewhere on campus or who will be changing rooms within house will need to pack and store their belongings over winter break.

6. Room Change
If a member of your organization would like to request a room change but would like to remain within your house’s allotment, they will need to work with the housing coordinator for your organization. The housing coordinator will then work with the AD GPHE so that the changes are appropriately recorded. You may start by completing a Room Change Form. Please have all parties involved fill out the form. Once the room switch information has been received by all parties, the AD GPH will email the confirmation that the room change has been initiated in our system. Please do not move rooms until you have received approval.

If a member of your organization would like to request a room change to a space outside of your house, they should follow the standard room change process. To start this process they should go to the main desk in Residential Life to set up a meeting with their Community Director. If this student is offered a space and accepts the offer, Residential Life will then contact the housing coordinator as the vacancy created within the house’s allotment will need to be filled, or the house can follow the retraction plan.

If a member of your organization is being asked to change rooms to a location outside of the house’s allotment by house leadership, leadership needs to contact the AD GPH before making any requests of the student.

7. Mid-Year Changes
During the month of October, the current housing coordinator of each house will be contacted to review the mid-year change process. This process tracks who will be leaving at the end of the fall semester and who will return at the start of the spring semester. Each house can fill spaces within its own allotment with students who are returning to Brown in the spring semester or with students who currently live elsewhere on campus.

If a house cannot fill the vacancies that outgoing membership has created, they will need to work with AD GPH to identify the room(s) to be retracted. Students who are changing rooms within house due to retraction or who are being pulled in from elsewhere on campus will be required to pack and store their belongings before leaving for winter break.

8. Requesting Non-Resident Access
At the start of each semester, the housing coordinator for your organization can request card access for out of house members. Requests will be reviewed against your membership lists, which are provided to AD GPH each semester. Card access will be granted once a semester, and that deadline will be communicated to the housing coordinator. It should be noted that card access will not be granted to graduate students or students who are currently inactive with the University. A form will be provided to the house to request access.

9. Common Area Spaces
Each organization is allotted certain common area spaces for use only by that organization. These spaces are on a “house key”. House leadership is responsible for distributing house keys to members each year. Additional house keys may be ordered through AD GPH. The cost is $10/key.

Every organization is responsible for the upkeep of their spaces. Spaces are inspected on a routine basis. If a space is not being maintained properly, a house will be informed and given a certain amount of time to rectify the problem. If the problem is not rectified ORL will correct the issues at cost to the house.

During the summer months all buildings are used for summer programs. Each organization is required to pack up house belongings and store them in appropriate rooms (as determined by ORL). Personal belongs MAY NOT be stored in any house space at any point.

10. Physical Residence
In the same manner as with all residence halls, the University shall be responsible for maintaining the physical structure of the building in which a Greek or Program House resides.

Greek and Program Houses have the right to propose, and in some cases to implement, changes to the physical structure of their residential units in order to further their individual mission or purpose. Such changes may only be implemented after obtaining permission from the ORL.

Greek and Program Houses may determine the function of assigned spaces in consultation with the ORL and furnish them appropriately, subject to applicable government and University laws and regulations.

Greek and Program Houses shall be held accountable for their actions through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and sanctions will be determined by the OSCCS.

To top of page

Event Registration Policy

Below you will find the full Event Registration Policy for Student Organizations. Important details include:

  • All events that anticipate more than 100 people in attendance and/or that serve alcohol must be registered, and/or required by campus departments or under special circumstance.
  • The event registration process is described in detail.
  • The roles and responsibilities of student event hosts are detailed.
  • Resources provided by the university to support you in successfully hosting an event are described.
  • Specific regulations on alcohol service are detailed.

Event Registration Policy
(for Student Group Sponsored events only)

I. Introduction
II. Scheduling Parameters Per Academic Year
III. Policy Scope
IV. Planning Timeline
V. Event Management Plans
VI. Party Staffing Protocols
VII. Party Management Protocols
VIII. Alcohol Service
IX. Protocols for Violations
X. History of Policy


The University has adopted this Event Registration Policy to assist students in the planning of safe and successful events and activities, facilitate adherence to University policies and procedures and Rhode Island and Providence laws and regulations, and to ensure adequate time for the organization of event support services and security.

The following on campus and off campus student events and activities must be registered with the Student Activities Office:

  • All events or activities where alcohol will be served;
  • All events or activities where anticipated attendance is 100 or more;
  • All events or activities where the venue capacity is 100 or more;
  • Other events or activities when required by appropriate campus departments or under special circumstances. See special notes below regarding Orientation, Reading Period, and Finals.

Events or activities that meet any of the above criteria must be sponsored by a recognized student group and are required to have two (2) Brown student Event Coordinators who are responsible for the overall planning and management of the event. If alcohol will be served, one of the coordinators must be at least 21 years of age.

Registration is done by completing an Event Registration Form* (online in BearSync) and submitting it for review by the SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor prior to the following deadlines:

3 Weeks in Advance if any of the following apply:

  • Alcohol
  • 300+ anticipated attendance
  • Off campus venue
  • Required by an SAO advisor

2 Weeks in Advance if any of the following apply:

  • 100-299 anticipated attendance 
  • Venue that holds 100+
  • Required by an SAO advisor

Before securing an off-campus venue, contact your SAO advisor for approval.

Event Days and Times

  • Sunday through Wednesday - All events and activities must end by 12 midnight and may not include alcohol
  • Thursdays - All events and activities must end by 1 AM. Alcohol service must end at 12:45 AM (so drinking ends by 1 AM). 
  • Fridays and Saturdays - All events and activities must end by 2 AM. Alcohol service must end at 1:45 AM (so drinking ends by 2 AM).
  • Class F Liquor License - Only applies to events on campus without a caterer.  A temporary liquor license is required for events where alcohol will be served and money will be collected at the event for any reason. 

If your event or activity meets the criteria for event registration and either alcohol will be served or the event or activity can be defined as a party, please refer to the Party Planning and Management Procedures for additional information.

Students organizing events or activities with an anticipated attendance of less than 100 may still find it beneficial to register the event or activity or consult with SAO, particularly if there are any safety or security concerns; such as a famous, political, or potentially controversial speaker.


A. Orientation

  1. Fall Orientation. To allow first-year undergraduate students to focus on mandatory Orientation activities and to allow enough space for Orientation programs to take place, student groups may not sponsor events or activities, including meetings, until after the Fall Activities Fair. This includes tabling in Page-Robinson Hall or on the Main Green. Parties, as defined by this policy, are not permitted during Orientation, including the first weekend after classes begin, except those planned by the Orientation Welcoming Committee.
  2. Graduate Orientation. To allow first-year graduate students to focus on mandatory Graduate School Orientation activities, student groups involving graduate students may not sponsor events or activities until after Convocation day, with the exception of the Graduate Student Council's Orientation Day Social or social events organized as part of the Graduate School-sponsored International Orientation and/or Orientation.
  3. Midyear Orientation. To allow TVRUE students to focus on mandatory Midyear Orientation activities and to allow enough space for Midyear Orientation programs to take place, student groups may not sponsor events or activities, including meetings, until after the Midyear Activities Fair. This includes tabling in Page-Robinson Hall or on the Main Green. Parties, as defined by this policy, are not permitted during Midyear Orientation, including the first weekend after classes begin, except those planned by the Dean of the College and TVRUE counselors.

B. Fall Semester

Student group events and activities are permitted from the day after the Fall Activities Fair through Reading Period. During Reading Period social events with alcohol are not permitted.

C. Spring Semester

Student group events and activities are permitted from the first day of classes through Spring Weekend and Reading Period with the exception of Commencement Weekend performances. Again, during Reading Period social events with alcohol are not permitted

  1. Spring Weekend. Events are permitted with SAO approval during Spring Weekend in accordance with this policy.
  2. Commencement Weekend. Performances are permitted with SAO approval during Commencement Weekend in accordance with this policy.

B. Reading Period/Finals:

Student sponsored events are not permitted during final exam periods and are only permitted during reading periods under certain circumstances. Parties, as defined by this policy, are not permitted during reading and exam periods. See the Reading Period Policy for full details.

C. University Breaks:

Student groups are not permitted to meet, practice, rehearse, or hold events over University break periods e.g. Spring Break, Summer, and Winter Break due to limited space, resources and SAO capacity. 


This policy only relates to student group sponsored events.

These procedures complement Brown’s Event Registration Policy by outlining additional procedures for events that can be defined as a party.

For the purposes of these policies and procedures, a party shall be defined as:

  • ANY event where alcohol will be served, AND/OR
  • Any event where no formal program or agenda is planned and socialization is the primary purpose and activity (e.g. dancing, DJ, band, etc.).

Any events meeting the above criteria should primarily serve the Brown student community.

Small gatherings in a residence hall room are not considered parties; gatherings are limited in size by the fire capacity for each room. However, if these gatherings create a disturbance or hazardous situation, they will be dealt with as prescribed by the University’s non-academic conduct procedures. The residents of each room will be held responsible for any such gatherings.


Appropriate planning timelines will vary depending on various factors. Below is the timeline that is required in order to meet the appropriate deadlines (additional information available on the Event Planning Timeline):

A. As early as possible: Complete Party Manager training. Reserve your event space. Request quotes for Event Support and Catering, as needed. Stop into the SAO for a preliminary discussion regarding your event with SAO or the Greek & Program House Advisor. Complete Event Registration Form* and Fire Safety Checklist. For more information refer to the Step by Step Planning Guide for Student Events.

B. 3 weeks prior: For events with alcohol or anticipated attendance of 300 more, the Event Registration Form* must be submitted to the SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor for review.

C. 2 weeks prior: For events with an anticipated attendance of under 300 that do not involve alcohol, Event Registration Form*s must be submitted to SAO or Greek & Program House advisor for review. Submit your Event Management Plan and requests for any Facilities Event Support, Media Services and Catering needs. If city licenses are required, take an application to City Hall. Note: in order for security details and fire marshals to be obtained, an order must be placed through SAO ten (10) business days before the event.

D. 1 week prior: Go back to City Hall for your hearing to receive your licenses; bring to SAO or to the Greek & Program House Advisor to be copied. Pick up tally counters to account for capacity limits, cashboxes, etc. from the SAO as needed.

E. Immediately before your event: Hold a pre-event meeting with all managers and Brown Student Agencies (BSA) bartenders, along with security personnel and fire marshal and SAO Evening Event Manager (if applicable) to finalize and review management plans. Complete the “Prior to start of event” portion of Fire Safety Checklist. A thorough inspection of the event venue should be conducted prior to doors opening to ensure that no alcohol is hidden within the venue and that no guests have entered before admission.

F. Immediately after your event: Event Coordinators, Party Managers, and BSA bartenders should meet to briefly review the event and discuss any issues or ideas for improvement for future parties, with the SAO Evening Event Manager if possible.

G. 1st Working Day After: Send in Fire Safety Checklist to the Fire Safety Office via campus mail. Return check-out items to SAO. You are also encouraged to briefly discuss/review your event with your SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor.


Event Management Plans are required for any event involving alcohol and/or 100+ anticipated attendance, unless otherwise specified by the group's SAO or Greek life advisor.

Event Management Plans must be submitted to be attached to the Event Registration Form* two weeks before the event. Editable templates are available on our Event Planning page. Group advisors may require changes to Event Management Plans at their discretion based on safety factors and risk management of the overall event. Capacity, prices, attendance policy, staffing plan, venue and many other factors impact one another and contribute to the development of a safe Event Management Plan.

Plans are required to include the following:

A. Diagram: Diagram of event space including manager stations as well as bar and non-alcoholic beverage and food set-up (if applicable), location of emergency exits. Standard event space diagrams are available through the SAO. Please review the following section on “Party Managers and Their Responsibilities” before formulating your plan.

B. Capacity Management: Acquire most up to date capacity number for your venue. Written explanation of management plan to ensure capacity management, responsible drinking, accurate age verification, and establishment of an overall safe environment.

C. Party Manager Identification: Explain how guests will be able to easily identify Event Coordinators and ushers or Party Managers.

D. Event Management Staffing: At large scale or high profile events and/or events with alcohol, professional event management staff and/or DPS may be hired to supplement/support student managers in their responsibilities. Plans should outline recommended event management staff locations, which will be reviewed by SAO or the Greek & Program House Advisor. Event staffing will be up to the discretion of the SAO advisor in conversation with the Director of Student Activities and DPS. 

E. Advertising and promotional plan: The advertising and promotional plan must be approved prior to any publicity. Off-campus advertising is generally not permitted; requests to advertise off- campus must be reviewed and approved by SAO. Advertising should communicate policies relevant to the event, including the admission policies and prohibited items. Events where it is reasonable to assume that pre-gaming may be an issue should include the phrase “Intoxicated individuals will not be admitted” on advertising.

F. Bar Management Plan: Bars can be a very hectic area within a party, which can make it difficult for BSA bartenders to remain vigilant and organized. Event Management Plans must identify what strategies will be used at the bar to help BSA bartenders to communicate with one another effectively and identify and monitor guests who may be problematic or whose rate of drinking should be monitored more closely. Potential strategies include closing the bar briefly on a regular schedule, enlisting the help of the manager assigned to the bar in keeping a watchful eye for problematic guests, or overlapping bar shifts to enable information to be passed effectively.

G. Protocols for bags and bag-checking: It is strongly recommended that bags not be allowed. All bags MUST be inspected upon entry. The University is not responsible for any lost or stolen bags.

  • Additional items may be prohibited at events. For example, bottles filled with liquids, and large electronics such as cameras, laptops, etc.  Prohibited items will be discussed by the SAO advisor, DPS, and the student organization.

H. Door closing and end of event protocols must be detailed.

  • Entry/reentry must end 30 minutes before the event end time to allow exterior areas to be cleared and to enable all managers to focus on the end of the event rather than screening guests. Lights should go on and music be turned down 10-15 minutes before stated closing time of event so that guests begin to leave on their own; student organizers and assigned event management staff should begin to move guests out at stated closing time. All exterior doors may be used at the close of the event for guests to exit.
  • Last-call for alcohol service must be thirty minutes before the end of the event. For Class F parties. For guest list only events with no money involved (commonly referred to as cocktail parties), alcohol service must end at 1:30 AM if the event goes until 2 AM. Alcohol service must end fifteen minutes after last call – 12:45 AM for Class F events, 1:45 AM for cocktail parties. A plan should be in place to secure any remaining alcohol at the end of the event.


A. Event Coordinators and Their Responsibilities

All events that must be registered according to the Event Registration Policy are required to have two (2) Brown student Event Coordinators. If alcohol will be served, one of the coordinators must be at least 21 years of age.
PLEASE NOTE: Event Coordinators are responsible for the event from start to finish. Having one group of people plan the event and a different group oversee the event undermines effective event management. Event Coordinators may not consume alcohol before or during the event until the last guest departs.

A - Part I. In the planning of any event, the Event Coordinators are responsible for the following:

  1. Adhering to Policy: Coordinators are responsible for ensuring the event adheres to all applicable state laws and University policies and procedures, including decoration and other Fire Safety guidelines and publicity regulations. Events where alcohol will be served may not be open to the general public – please keep this in mind when formulating advertising plans. Additional University policies and procedures applicable to events are available via the SAO website.
  2. Reserving Appropriate Space: The space reserved must be able to accommodate your anticipated attendance. Spaces most commonly used for student events are in high demand so plan on reserving them well in advance. Most spaces may be reserved through the University Scheduling Office and their website includes a list of contacts for reserving alternate spaces as well.
  3. Registering your event with the Student Activities Office. Log into your group's portal on BearSync to register event.
  4. Setting the Admissions Policy: Review the Admissions Policy section of these procedures. Admissions Policy should be specified on the Event Registration Form*.
  5. Formulating an Event Management Plan: The plan must be submitted along with your Event Registration Form* to the SAO. See the section on Event Management Plans below. Scheduling Event Support services: Using the Event Planning Timeline as a guide, coordinators should ensure that all the necessary planning takes place including scheduling any necessary event support services (catering, security, custodial, etc.)
  6. Obtaining Licenses (if applicable): If you are having an event that contains alcohol AND money is being collected for any reason, a Class F Liquor License and an Entertainment License are required. If alcohol is not being served, an entertainment license may be required, especially for outdoor events with amplified sound. The process of obtaining licenses begins by submitting an Event Registration Form on BearSync for the SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor to review, and an Event Coordinator of at least 21 years of age must submit an online application for a Class F and/or Entertainment License with the City of Providence at least three (3) weeks prior to your event. One (1) week after the submission of an application, a hearing will be scheduled for which the coordinator must report in person to City Hall with payment (check or money order only – cash is NOT accepted). Licenses will be issued at the end of the hearing. Once you have your licenses, bring them to the SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor so they have a copy on record. Finally, you must post your licenses in a visible spot during your event. Class F licenses are: $35 for a full bar, $15 for beer and wine only. Entertainment licenses are $10 for indoor events and $25 for outdoor events.
  7. Identifying ushers or Party Managers, and Brown Student Agencies (BSA) Bartenders: Functions must have two (2) Event Coordinators plus the minimum number of ushersor Party Managers per estimated number guests, and either BSA bartenders for events with less than 100 in attendance or Brown Catering/First Approved vendors for socials as outlined in the following chart. Additional managers may be necessary to effectively manage the event depending on the venue or nature of the event, and may be requested by the SAO of Greek & Program House Advisor. If any managers or BSA bartenders have not previously completed SAO Party Manager training, coordinators must ensure they do so prior to the party.
Estimated Number of Guests Event Coordinators Required Ushers/Party Managers Required (in addition to Event Coordinators) BSA Bartenders/Catering Required (if applicable)
1-50 1 1 1
51-99 1 2 2
100-150 2 3 Must use Brown Catering or First Approved vendor
125 (Wriston Quad Lounges) 2 3 Not Applicable
151-200 2 4 Must use Brown Catering or First Approved vendor
201-300 2 5 Must use Brown Catering or First Approved vendor
300+ 2 Consult With SAO Advisor Must use Brown Catering or First Approved vendor


At large scale events and/or events with alcohol professional event management staff may also be hired to supplement/support student managers in their responsibilities. If such staff is hired, student management levels are maintained according to the scale above.

A - Part II. In the implementation of any event, the Event Coordinators are responsible for the following:

  1. Overseeing the Event: In order to be able to oversee the event and respond to any situations that arise, Event Coordinators (2 per event) may not be assigned to any specific usher/management shifts during the event. One of the two Event Coordinators should be assigned to the primary door to provide oversight and coordination to this most critical part of the event.
  2. Serving as liaison between guests, ushers/managers, professional event management staff, SAO Evening Event Manager (EEM), Public Safety Officers, EMS, or any other university official.
  3. Scheduling and Posting Usher/Manager and BSA Bartender Assignments (assignments must specify the name of the individuals for each post/shift): List should be reviewed at the security/staff meeting 30 minutes prior to the event and then be posted near the door of the event. Assignment locations must be specified in the Event Management Plan.
  4. Organizing the required security meeting of all officers, event management/security, SAO Evening Event Manager (EEM), and student managers 30 minutes before doors open.

B. Party Managers and Their Responsibilities

  1. All Event Coordinators and Party Managers -  must be trained by the SAO. Trainings may be found online in Workday and must be completed prior to the event. Trainings are required for each Event Coordinator and Party Manager once per academic year.
  2. Coordinators and Managers are held responsible for: proper conduct at the event, clean-up and closing of the space, any damage to University property, cooperation with University staff and Providence officials, and observing the rules of the University.
  3. Event Coordinators and Party Managers shall continuously supervise the event and enforce all policies and regulations, including those pertaining to alcohol and other drugs, fire safety, and the general safety of guests and University property. As such ALL MANAGERS AND EVENT COORDINATORS ARE PROHIBITED FROM DRINKING BEFORE OR DURING THE EVENT (i.e. until the last guest has left and any post-event responsibilities have been completed). In addition, the coordinators and managers must be clearly visible and in close contact with BSA bartenders and other members of the organization running the event.
  4. Party Managers and Event Coordinators work in partnership with SAO Evening Event Managers, professional event management staff, Public Safety and other officials (as applicable) to manage the event.
  5. Staff assignments (whether they be student Party Managers or professional event management staff) must ensure the following areas are monitored throughout the event:
    • Main Entrance: There must be only one point of entry for guests with the exception of facilitating access for guests with accessibility requirements. A minimum of two (2) Party Managers are required to manage the door.
    • Bar(s): Posted in front to ensure that only those of age are gaining access to drinks (Note: age should be re-verified as appropriate, and wristbands should be checked for tampering).
    • Restrooms
    • Upper landing (when applicable).
    • Every potential exit or entrance to the event must be monitored, including other rooms within the venue building (such as residential areas or portions of buildings that are restricted at that time).
    • Roaming Managers: The roaming managers are responsible for continuously circulating throughout the event to monitor the overall event and fill in for other managers when they require a brief break. (Note: Event Coordinators generally serve as roaming managers.) The number of roaming managers should be increased with the size of the event.
  6. It is important to keep in mind that the coordinators and managers should not be the only ones to know or adhere to policies, procedures, and laws. In fact, every member of the organization should bear the responsibility of educating themselves as to policies and carrying them out. This awareness will allow the event to be run smoothly according to University policy and will facilitate accurate communication of these policies to students attending parties. Communicating expectations regarding in party planning and management to the entire organization will ensure that both the Event Coordinators and Party Managers and those who attend do so with the same set of expectations. This approach further empowers student organizations to refuse admittance if necessary, or insist that unruly students leave in the name of enforcement of University policies and procedures.
  7. Any students who have been asked to participate in the management of the event must also refrain from drinking before or during the event until they have completed their duties for the evening. Not only does the consumption of alcohol impair their judgment, it also sends a very clear message that they are unconcerned about fulfilling their responsibility to the event.


A. Admission Policies

  1. Point of entry procedures for checking IDs must be followed. Professional event management staff or venue staff should be checking IDs, wristbanding, counting capacity, etc. An adequate number of Managers or staff should be assigned to the point of entry to effectively facilitate the required admission procedures. Consider having ticket sales and maintaining the guest log handled by additional students. Discuss this aspect of your plan ahead of time with your SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor.
  2. All Parties must identify their Admission Policy. Three standard options exist; exceptions can be made by the Director of Student Activities:
    • Members/Invited Guests Only: A limited invitation list specifying the names of those invited. List ofinvited guests must be submitted with Event Management Plan (final list must be submitted by 12 noon the Thursday before the event). Only those on the list may be granted admission. NOTE: Cocktail Parties, at which alcohol is served but not sold, must use this Admission plan. Guest lists should have no more guests than 2 x the capacity of the venue at which the event is held. Guest lists should be checked as part of the ID checking process which is managed by our Crowd Management Vendor.
    • Brown/RISD ID: Any Brown or RISD student with ID may be admitted. 
    • Brown/RISD ID & Brown Guest: Any Brown or RISD student with ID may be admitted, and Brown students may bring one non-Brown personal guest. A guest log should be maintained to track these guests (see Point of Entry Procedures below).
  3. Events where alcohol will be served are not open to the general public.
  4. Parties hosted in Greek and residential venues are limited to Brown/RISD ID, and Brown/RISD ID & Brown Guest admission. It is recommended that only members of the sponsoring organization be allowed to have guests at these venues.

B. Point of Entry Procedures 

  1. Brown/RISD students are required to present their college IDs at the door.
  2. All guests must have a Brown student host. Guests should legibly sign in and out of the guest log and the time of their entrance and exit should be noted. The name of the Brown student sponsor should be recorded next to the guest’s name. “Sponsoring” means the Brown student takes responsibility for their guest’s behavior at the party. A Brown student may bring no more than one non-Brown guest. Band members, DJs, etc. should also meet all the requirements of guests.
  3. Anyone who is visibly intoxicated must not be allowed into the event. A record of the entry refusal should be made in the guest log.
  4. No containers, bottles or cans of ANY KIND (water bottles, coffee, etc.) are permitted to enter or exit an event. Groups may choose to permit individual sized plastic bottles or cans of nonalcoholic beverages provided they verify that the bottle or can has not been opened prior to admission.
  5. If tickets are sold in advance, IDs must be checked at point of sale and tickets must state that ID will also be checked at the door in addition to other relevant policies. Tickets must be numbered; groups may not sell more tickets than the capacity determined for the event.
  6. It is strongly recommended that no re-admission be permitted for events with less than 300 guests; for events over 300, re-admission is prohibited.

C. Guest Lists and Event Logs 

In order to help protect your organization from liability or potential consequences in the event of a complaint or an alleged violation, it is required that organizations maintain a guest log of non-Brown guests. An event log noting significant or unusual occurrences is recommended. The log should be monitored by a party manager, throughout the event.

D. Monitoring Attendance Levels 

The ratio of Party Managers to guests detailed in this policy is the minimum number that the University believes can realistically be expected to manage a party effectively. Every effort must be made to keep attendance at the level planned for and FIRE CAPACITY MUST BE ADHERED TO AT ALL TIMES. To aid in keeping track of attendance, the SAO has handheld counters that may be checked out.

E. Overcrowding Protocols 

Due to Fire Safety concerns, overcrowding is considered a major violation of RI law and university policy. When overcrowding is identified, groups should implement the following immediately:

  • Contact the SAO Evening Event Manager (if applicable) and/or the Department of Public Safety for assistance.
  • Further admittance should be discontinued immediately,
  • Immediately stop any food or beverage service,
  • Turn on the lights
  • Turn off any music,
  • Explain the situation and begin asking people to leave, and
  • Provide refunds to anyone who was asked to leave.


A. Brown Student Agencies (BSA) Bartender Requirements

  1. BSA Bartenders handle alcohol service at events with less than 100 in attendance only.
  2. All BSA bartenders are approved by the SAO. BSA bartenders are at least 18 years of age and have completed TIPS certification (obtained through most BSA bartender training programs or bartender training offered by Brown Student Agencies.) Once approved, BSA bartenders are assigned as part of the Event Registration process and paid by the SAO. In addition to the BSA bartender, a Party Manager should be assigned to assist the BSA bartender and to help communicate information between BSA bartender shifts.
  3. All BSA bartenders are prohibited from drinking before or during an event unless they have completed their duties for the evening.
  4. Event coordinators and party managers are the identified “social hosts” for duration of the event. They are prohibited from drinking before or during an event until the last guest has exited.
  5. Alcohol service at events with 100 or more people in attendance must be handled by a Brown University First Approved caterer.

B. The Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act 

In Rhode Island the legal age for purchase, service to and consumption of alcohol is 21 years of age. Since the vast majority of undergraduates at Brown are under the legal age of 21, it is important that you be aware of the Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act’s provisions for both “negligent” and “reckless service” of alcohol.

“Negligent service” of alcohol is when you “know, or if a reasonable and prudent person in similar circumstances would know that the individual being served is a minor or visibly intoxicated.”

“Reckless service” is when you intentionally serve an individual when you know the person being served is a minor or visibly intoxicated.


The Act reads such that you may be responsible even if most of the guest’s drinking occurred elsewhere.

C. Brown University Policies and Procedures 

  1. Health and life come first in all situations. If you believe a person may need medical assistance for any reason, do not hesitate to call the University’s emergency line (863-4111).
  2. A Party Manager should be posted in front of the bar to ensure only those of legal age are obtaining drinks. The manager should re-verify age, as appropriate, and ensure that wristbands have not been tampered with.
  3. If alcohol is being served and money is being collected for any reason (T-shirt sales, admission fee, etc.), city licenses are required and there must be a minimum fee structure of $3 at the door and a $1 per drink. Like other aspects of this policy, the group's advisor may require the minimum fees to be higher based on other risk management aspects of this event such as total number of anticipated guests.
  4. Alcohol above 80 proof (e.g. Everclear), kegs, beer balls, large scale containers of alcohol, shots, Jell-o shots, bottled beer, and drinking games are prohibited. Energy drinks may not be used in mixed drinks.
  5. Punch bowls are not permitted. Common sources of alcohol are easy to tamper with and the contents are unknown to those consuming them.
  6. Alcohol must always be attended. No guest, including members of the sponsoring organization, may be permitted to serve themselves. Alcohol should remain within the event space at all times – nobody should enter or leave with open containers of alcohol. This includes bringing alcohol to another space in the same building such as an adjoining room that is not part of the event or to private rooms upstairs in a residential facility. As a practical matter, if people are allowed to wander away from the place of service and out of sight of those responsible for it, they can more easily share the alcohol with minors. Managers and other volunteers should look out for and dispose of unattended beverages throughout the event venue as they may have been tampered with and/or may be consumed by underage individuals.
  7. The amount of alcohol present at an event sends a clear message about the nature of the event. For this reason, “Bring Your Own” is not permitted. Organizations should seriously consider the relationship between the amount of alcohol present and safety and liability concerns. We recommend that organizations determine a reasonable amount of alcohol available for an entire event in relation to the number of drinks available per 21 + attendee. As a guideline, hosts should plan to have no more than 4 drinks per attendee of legal age, for a four-hour long event.
  8. BSA Bartenders are only permitted to serve one drink per person at a time. This means that you may only hand one cup, but it also means that each cup may only have one serving of alcohol in it. Remember that 1 drink = 12 oz of beer = 5 oz wine = 1.5 oz of hard alcohol.
  9. Drinks may not be pre-mixed. Each drink should be mixed in front of the person being served.
  10. Whenever alcohol is to be served, the hosts must provide ample snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. As a guideline, events should have one pound of food and one liter of non-alcoholic beverage for every 10 attendees. If you run out of food at your event, you must shut the bar down.

D. Additional Point of Entry Procedures When Alcohol is Served 

  1. For alcohol service, a valid driver’s license, passport, or official form of government ID must be produced as proof of legal age; Brown and other college IDs are not acceptable. Those of legal age must be clearly indicated by wristbands. Wristbands can be obtained through the SAO for free.
  2. Hand stamps may be used to indicate guests have paid to enter an event but should not be used to indicate legal age.
  3. For both wristbands and hand stamps, organizations must not have a predictable pattern of using certain colors or stamps at their events. If hand stamps are used, they must be difficult for guests to reproduce, should look different when reversed to minimize guests transferring wet stamp marks to other guests. Wristbands are only effective if they are placed on guests’ wrists by event organizers (rather than allowing them to put it on themselves); they should be tight enough to prohibit guests from slipping them off (and giving them to other guests) without being uncomfortable.


A. Overview

The Student Activities Office (SAO) registers and reviews all parties with the goal of empowering and supporting student Event Coordinators and Party Managers to plan and offer events that are both fun and safe. University policies and procedures exist to assist students in managing events safely. SAO staff are available to assist organizations in effective event planning and management, including the availability of the SAO Evening Event Manager (EEM) on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Violations of these Event Planning and Management Procedures will be handled according to the following procedure by the SAO. Related files and communications are maintained in SAO, separate from the University’s non-academic conduct system. That being said, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • If an event violates other University policies and procedures or if the Department of Public Safety issues an incident report, the matter is referred to the non-academic conduct system which may or may not result in disciplinary action.
  • If a student organization has a non-academic conduct hearing for alleged violations of other University policies and procedures, the SAO is typically asked to provide information related to the history of the organization, which may include its history of managing events including parties.

Note: Actions related to the following protocols or the University non-academic conduct system will not result from the decision to call EMS unless blatant violations of University policy are witnessed. If additional policies or procedures beyond the illegal consumption of alcohol are found to have been violated, action related to the additional violations will likely be taken (for example, if someone who has been drinking damages University property and EMS is called, the property damage will likely be addressed through the University’s non-academic conduct system).

B. Damage to University Property 

Damage done to University property that results from poor management by the sponsoring organization will result in a formal request that damages be paid by the sponsoring organization. Damage done that could not have been prevented by the sponsoring organization may result in one of the following: (1) a sanction against individuals via the University’s non-academic conduct system, (2) a decision by the University to absorb the costs, or (3) a formal request to the sponsoring organization to pay for the damages.

Failure by organizations to submit payment or a payment plan within the specified period of time may result in referral of the matter to the University’s non-academic conduct system and/or suspension of the organization’s privileges, including eligibility to sponsor events.

C. Minor Party Management Issues 

Minor issues with a party will typically be described as one or more individual issues that undermine the structure of a well-organized event. Taken as a whole, these individual issues have not resulted in an event in gross violation of policies and procedures or undermined the safety of guests and University property. These should generally be able to be avoided and/or corrected at the event itself when brought to the attention of the Event Coordinators by other students or University officials.

Minor issues will be communicated to the Event Coordinators during or at the conclusion of the event if possible. Organizations should then expect a communication from the SAO or Greek & Program House Advisor during the following week and will be asked to identify corrective strategies for implementation at future events.

Reports of minor party management issues at future events may then result in a decision by SAO to treat the issues as a “major” violation (see below).

D. Major Party Management Issues and Violations

If the overall event is one that is in gross violation of policies and procedures or has undermined the safety of guests and University property, the SAO will request that the organization respond to the violations in person with a plan for corrective actions. Additionally, all Event Coordinators, Party Managers, and Brown Student Agencies (BSA) bartenders affiliated will be required to complete Party Manager Training again.

If the event is still in progress when major issues are identified, the Event Coordinators will be informed of the violations. The Event Coordinators will have the responsibility to implement effective corrective action within 15 minutes or to make the decision to end the event; in either case, the overcrowding protocols identified above under “Monitoring Attendance Levels” may be useful strategies. University officials and venue staff reserve the right to end an event, particularly if Event Coordinators and other representatives of the student organization are uncooperative or violate event registration and management procedures. If the organization itself determines that major issues are present, they are encouraged to contact the SAO Evening Event Manager or the Department of Public Safety to support a decision to end an event.

Event Coordinators, Party Managers, or BSA bartenders who are found to have consumed alcohol or other drugs in violation of these procedures must be immediately replaced by other Party Manager trained individuals, will lose their trained status, and will be ineligible for recertification for a period equal to one semester.

Reports of major party management issues at future events will then result in one or more of the following: (1) referral of the organization to the University’s non-academic conduct system (2) suspension of the organization’s privileges, including eligibility to sponsor events, or (3) a request that the organization respond to violations in person with a plan for corrective actions. The SAO will base its decision on the appropriate course of action on a variety of factors, including the organization’s history, level of cooperation, and appreciation for the seriousness of violating Party Planning and Management Procedures.


As stated in the Report of the Ad-Hoc Committee to Review Social Events Policy and Procedures, 2006, “It was not our intention to develop policies that will work for every event, but to review and develop a standard for social functions at Brown that would be effective for most events.” While the following should and will apply to most events, sponsoring organizations may request exceptions. Such requests must be approved by the Director of Student Activities. Any request for an exception must adequately address how the proposed changes are in alignment with the goals of the event as well as the intent of these social function policies.


The development of Brown’s procedures for the planning and management of social functions began with the Report of the Social Function Policy Task Force, dated November 13, 1996. It was the unanimous opinion of the thirteen members of the Task Force (10 of whom were students) that the success of any social function depends on its planning and management and that the procedures for both should be uniform.


These procedures were amended following the Report of the Ad-Hoc Committee to Review Social Events Policy and Procedures, dated March 8, 2006. These amendments are in keeping with Brown’s overall philosophy that “students should drive the development of events” and that “student ownership of events should be guided by a set of best practices and policies to provide a level of consistency and to help build a culture of responsible hosting.” [excerpted from the state of Philosophy in the Ad-Hoc Committee Report]. The SAO shall maintain a student Social Function Oversight Committee to advise the SAO on the ongoing management and development of these procedures.


This policy was revised in July 2014. No substantive changes were made.

  • The term "social function", no longer commonly used on campus, was replaced with "party." 
  • Some sections were reordered for clarity. 
  • The outline numbering was added for clarity.


  • Terminology was adjusted to reflect the fact that Party Manager Training and the Event Registration Form are now online. 
  • Venue capacity of 100 or more was added to the event criteria that requires event registration. 
  • Brown Student Agencies (BSA) TIPS certified bartenders have been specified where bartenders are mentioned.
    • The stipulation that alcohol service at events with 100 or more people must be handled by a Brown caterer was added to the Brown Student Agencies (BSA) Bartender Requirements section.


  • Section II. Orientation, Reading and Finals and University Breaks was renamed Scheduling Parameters Per Academic Year to specify exactly when events are/not permitted by SAO. 
    • Midyear Orientation was added to the Orientation period policy.
    • Sections for Fall Semester and Spring Semester were added so that the policy now covers the full academic year.


  • Requirements for event registration deadlines in Section I. Introduction was reorganized for clarity and concision
  • 'Event Days and Times' was added as a header to Section I. Introduction
    • Information was reorganized and bulleted for clarity and concision
    • Event times on Thursdays were extended by one hour to 1am with permission from the Vice President of the Divison of Campus Life, to provide one additional late night event option for student groups that do not have the financial means to for example, host an off campus event on a high-demand evening such as Friday and Saturday
  • Section II. C. Spring Semester scheduling parameters were updated to permit student groups to host events from the first day of class, rather than after the Midyear Activities Fair, which typically takes place one week later
  • Section VI. B. Party Managers and Their Responsibilities was updated to include where to access Party Manager Training online as well as its annual requirement
  • Section VII. Party Management Protocols - updated to reflect current practice; Professional event staff or venue staff are exclusively responsible for counting capacity, checking IDs, applying wristbands etc. not Party Managers
    • Section VII. A. Admission Policies - updated to reflect current practice; Brown/RISD ID students may bring a max of one non-Brown guest to an event not two

*The Event Registration Form is now online in BearSync. Navigate to your group's portal, click on the Events tab and then click on Create an Event.

To top of page

Reading & Finals Period Event Approval Policy

In support of Brown University’s primary academic mission, events occurring during Reading Period and Final Examination Period are restricted, as students prepare for and complete exams. Student groups are encouraged to plan events during the regular academic calendar, rather than during Reading or Finals Period. Events which have the potential to be disruptive to students studying, final review sessions, or exams themselves are not permitted. Please keep in mind that faculty may choose to hold classes and exams during Reading Period. In support of this, the following policies and procedures will be in place.

For Reading Period:

1)Regular student group meetings, practices and rehearsals, lectures, cultural events, and performances which do not have the potential to be disruptive to others will be scheduled as normal, at the discretion of the Scheduling Office and Student Activities.

2)Large scale concerts, parties and events with alcohol are not permitted during Reading Period in December of fall semester. Large scale concerts, parties and events with alcohol are not permitted during Reading Period of spring semester post Spring Weekend.

Reminder: Spring Weekend events need to be registered and approved by the Student Activities Office.

For Finals Period:

3) All events and small group meetings, regardless of type or scale, occurring during Final Examination Period are not permitted. Study sessions will not be permitted unless the organization is academic and the sessions are inherent to their mission. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be sent to the Director of the Student Activities Office.*

Questions regarding this policy should be referred to the Director of the Student Activities Office, Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, Room 230, 401.863.2341.

*There must be a compelling reason for requests for exceptions. A compelling reason might be a celebration of a holiday that occurs during the Finals Period. Lack of planning resulting in earlier time spots and locations being unavailable is not a compelling reason.

To top of page

Event Registration Policy for Spring Weekend

SAO will consider approval for social events during the following times:

1. Friday, April 26th from 5 PM - 2 AM
2. Saturday, April 27th from 11 AM - 2 AM
3. Sunday, April 28th from 11 AM - 5 PM.

  • Social events are not allowed outside of these time frames.
  • Social events may not last for longer than 6 hours.
  • By events, we mean all gatherings in community spaces, including members-only socials in Wriston lounges, as well as porches and green spaces on Wriston Quad.
  • All events that include alcohol OR that anticipate an attendance of more than 50 persons must be registered with the University.
  • Event registration is usually for events of 100 or more; this number has been lowered to 50 for Spring Weekend.

Recognized student organizations including Greek and Program Houses should register Spring Weekend events on BearSync by 12 noon on Friday, March 15th, 2019.
No exceptions and no impromptu events will be allowed.

  • All groups must submit an overview of their advertising plan and copy of their promotional materials when they submit their registration on or before March 15th.
    • Event advertising must include information about admission policies.
    • Off-campus advertising of any Spring Weekend social event is prohibited.
  • Large events will require the presence of professional event staff to manage the doors and/or bartending services.
    • Student Activities and Residential Life will work with groups to determine what staffing may be necessary.
  • Organizations are responsible for cleaning up their event space.
  • Indoor furniture is not to be moved outside.
  • Any social event that experiences a false fire alarm will be shut down.

Alcohol Policy for Spring Weekend

As usual, all University policies and state/city laws must be observed.

  • All events that include alcohol OR that anticipate an attendance of more than 50 persons must be registered with the University.
  • Reminder: No events with alcohol may be held in any residential areas.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on patios.
  • All events with alcohol must be held in approved student event spaces.
    • More information is available at brown.edu/go/SAO-event-policy.
  • Requests for events with alcohol will only be approved if food and nonalcoholic beverages are provided in sufficient quantities.
    • Carrying open containers is illegal.
    • Beverages must be served to guests.
  • The following are strictly prohibited:
    • Alcohol above 80 proof, shots, kegs, beer balls, large containers of alcohol (punch bowls etc.), Jello shots, bottled beer, and drinking games.
  • During Spring Weekend, the legal drinking age is still 21 years old.

We are looking forward to working with your group to plan an enjoyable and safe Spring Weekend. If you have any questions, please contact Ana Barraza ([email protected]).

Last updated 5/16/2018

To top of page

Performance Policy for Commencement Weekend

This policy is pertinent to any performances held by recognized student performance groups on behalf of Brown University alumni, and/or graduating senior group members, their friends and family.

As a reminder, during the Spring semester student group events and activities are permitted from the first day of classes until Spring Weekend and Reading Period. Commencement Weekend performances are the only exception. For more information please see the Scheduling Parameters Per Academic Year policy.

Permitted Dates/Times

  • Commencement Weekend performances are not allowed to overlap nor take place in between any Senior Week events.
  • Commencement Weekend performances are not allowed outside of the date/time frames listed below.

SAO will consider approval for Commencement Weekend performances taking place during the following dates/times:

1. Thursday, May 23, 2019 after 7:30 PM
2. Friday, May 24, 2019
3. Saturday, May 25, 2019

Alcohol Policy

  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited.


  • Event registration is usually for events of 100 or more, however all Commencement Weekend performances must be registered with the Student Activities Office regardless of attendance.

Recognized student organizations must register their Commencement Weekend performances on BearSync by 12 noon on Friday, May 3rd, 2019. 

  • No exceptions and no impromptu performances will be allowed.
  • Large performances will require the presence of professional event staff to manage the doors.
    • Student Activities will work with groups to determine what staffing may be necessary.

If you have any questions, please contact Isaac Albanese ([email protected]).

Last updated 3/14/2019

To top of page

Liability Policies

Waivers are required from students partaking in any form of physical activity, bus travel, and/or working with minors.

We ask that waivers for these activities be submitted to the SAO office no later than 3 weeks before the events are scheduled.

Physical Activity Waivers

All students that will take part in any form of physical activity must fill out and submit a Physical Activity Waiver to the SAO office no later than 3 weeks before the scheduled activity. Additionally, members of groups that will inherently engage in any physical activity as part of their membership must also complete and submit a Physical Activity Waiver.

To print out the waiver, please click HERE.

To top of page

University Supported Domestic Travel

Brown recognizes that members of student organizations may travel off campus as part of their regular group activities. Groups may be engaged in ongoing work at an off campus location, travel as part of competitions or attend social or educational events, including conferences, which occur away from Brown. It is important that students engaging in these activities take appropriate steps to protect both the travelers and the university. This policy is intended to provide guidance on appropriate travel safety planning.


Students traveling as part of student group activities, via personal vehicle or public transportation (e.g. RIPTA), and within a 100 mile radius of Brown campus are not required to notify the university of their specific travel arrangements.  Undergraduate student organizations intending to travel away from this radius, but within the United States, even for short periods, should provide an itinerary to the Student Activities Office (or their recognizing department for departmental groups) no less than two weeks in advance of their departure. The itinerary should include details of travel arrangements (e.g., flight numbers and times), at least one daily contact telephone number, overnight destinations (including contact information), a list of all planned activities and a list of all travelers. Groups may submit their form online through the BearSync system. Depending upon the details of the trip, staff in the SAO may want to meet with the trip leaders ahead of time.

Any incident (medical situation, accident, etc.) should be reported to Brown’s Department of Public Safety who will inform the Administrator on Call. The Administrator on Call is available as a resource to students, even when they are away from campus and can be reached at 401.863.3322.

Student organizations planning on traveling internationally should follow the relevant university guidelines maintained by the Office of International Programs. These guidelines can be found here. The university does not regulate or monitor students’ individual, non-university related travel plans.

Travel via Rented Bus

Student organizations traveling with more than 20 people will find it most cost effective to rent a yellow school bus. The Student Activities Office works regularly with certain companies and can help connect you to options. If buses are used, all passengers must sign a university waiver before travel begins. Please contact the Student Activities Office at least two weeks in advance for assistance in obtaining a waiver and arranging for buses. Coach buses are also available for additional cost.

Travel via Personal Vehicle, ZipCar, or Car Rentals

If traveling via personal vehicle or ZipCar, designated driver(s) of vehicle(s) must have a driver’s license that is valid for driving in the United States and a clean motor vehicle record (parking tickets are not relevant). If personal vehicles are used, the vehicle owner’s personal auto insurance is the only insurance that applies in the event of an accident.

All privately owned vehicles must be properly maintained, registered and carry adequate insurance. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, the owner must give permission for its use.

If a vehicle is rented from an outside agency, it is essential that the terms and conditions of the rental contracts are followed, particularly with regard to age restrictions and licensing of the drivers. Only students who are listed as authorized drivers on the rental agreement are allowed to drive the rental vehicle.

Student drivers should be well rested. On long trips, drivers should rotate every two hours. Another student should be awake and alert in the front seat. Driving through the night should be avoided. Students should be aware of hazardous weather conditions and predictions and be willing to change or cancel their travel plans accordingly.

Use of 12 and 15 passenger van use is prohibited. According to a Federal Government safety advisory, these vehicles are more likely to be involved in rollover accidents than smaller vans and cars.

Students are expected to comply with the law concerning the use and possession of alcohol or drugs. There must be no consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs while traveling, by drivers or passengers and drivers should observe all distracted driver and cell phone & texting laws.

Travel via Plane or Train

If traveling via plane or train, students should contact the Student Activities Office prior to purchasing tickets. If tickets are being funded through the student group’s funds, the tickets may be purchased in the SAO. Trip information (e.g. flight numbers, departure and return dates and times, names of travelers) should be included in the trip itinerary provided to the SAO.

Travel via University Owned, Leased or Rental Vehicle

Students wishing to drive a university owned vehicle or a vehicle leased or rented through the university’s contract with Enterprise are required to comply with all safeDRIVE policies, including completion of appropriate training. Complete information on driver requirements and a request form for training can be found on the university’s administrative policy page which can be found here.

To top of page

Working with Minors

When working with minors, students and student organizations should be aware of the related risks and responsibilities. Major factors to consider are the location of the interaction, whether parents or guardians are present, whether teachers, university staff or other supervision is present, and whether training is needed.

Working with Minors at an Off-Campus Location
Most students working with minors at an off-campus location do so as part of an existing partner program either established by the Swearer Center or developed with a recognized student organization. In either situation, it is required that a written Memorandum of Understanding exists as to the responsibilities of both organizations. Who is responsible for providing relevant insurance, waivers, and permission slips, etc. will be included in the MOU.

Brown will typically defer to outside organizations on questions of required training and/or background checks. If background checks are required, who is responsible for conducting and paying for them will be documented in the MOU.

In most instances, a teacher or other supervisor will be present while Brown students are working with minors. If this is not the case, students will be required to attend training on protecting the safety of minors, abuse and mandatory reporting.*

In the rare instance where Brown students are working with minors at an off-campus location and there is not an existing partner organization managing these details, a parent or guardian must be present. In very rare instances, where a safety plan is developed and approved by the Director of the Student Activities Office, an exception to this policy may be made. The plan would include waivers/permission slips, safety training and other reasonable precautions.

We discourage students from working with minors via home visits in individual private residences, but on the rare occasion that this may happen, students must be in pairs and have permission from their sponsoring organization and the Office of General Council.

Working with Minors on Campus
When working with minors under the age of 12, a parent or guardian must be present at all times. In rare instances, an exception may be made but would require approval from the overseeing department.**

For minors over the age of 12, permission slips and/or waivers will also be required , however, parents, guardians and/or university staff presence is not required. Brown students working unsupervised with minors must attend a safety training. Under no circumstance are Brown students permitted to transport minors from one location to another.

The training referenced above is currently offered by the Swearer Center at the beginning of the academic year. The training includes content behavioral expectations and on protecting the safety of minors, mandatory reporting laws around abuse and inappropriate behaviors, and reporting mechanisms.

By law, anyone working with minors is required to report known or suspected abuse or neglect. Brown students working in established programs should report to the program coordinator either of an outside organization or their contact on campus (e.g. Swearer Center staff member) within 24 hours. If this reporting line is not possible, reports can also be given to any law enforcement officer. Reports may also be directed to the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) on their 24 hour hotline: 1.800.RICHILD (1.800.742.4453).

Additional Back Up Information
** For an event on campus with minors under 12 at which parents or guardians will not be present, a plan which received the exception would include permission slips, waivers, and either a partner program administrator or university staff or faculty member presence throughout the event.

Internal Back Up Information

Background Checks
Note when looking at doing background checks most information about students prior to the age of 18 would be sealed in all versions of a background check. Free checks available typically would only cover offenses in Rhode Island. The federal/national level check has a significant cost associated. A free national check of sex offender registries may be useful. All of these are also based on Social Security Number which means international students would have no record. Currently, Brown does not require background checks but will defer to the host site on whether or not they require one. 

To top of page

Fire Safety Procedure & Policy

The following policy & and procedure is taken from a document produced by the Office of Fire Safety.


The purpose of this program is to define policies and procedures that will ensure compliance with Rhode Island Uniform Fire Code requirements and to ensure fire safety for events that occur inside a Brown University building attended by 50 or more persons.


Whenever 50 or more persons attend an event inside a Brown University property, the individual sponsor or a representative of the sponsoring organization must review this policy prior to the event and assure compliance with the specified procedures before and during the event.


This policy applies to individuals and the representatives of organizations who sponsor events that take place inside university buildings, in a tent or other temporary structure located on such property, where the occupancy is expected to exceed 50 or more persons.


Authority Having Jurisdiction (AJH) – The AHJ shall be the state fire marshal, the deputy fire marshal and assistant deputies. Officers from the Fire Prevention Division of the Providence Fire Department generally serve as the AHJ for fire safety issues within the City of Providence. The Brown University Fire Safety Office is responsible for enforcing University rules and regulations.

Code – The term 'code' shall mean the Fire Safety Code established under the provisions of Rhode Island General Laws § 23-28.1-1. NFPA 1, 2012 Edition - The National Fire Prevention Code (as amended) - serves as the Rhode Island Fire Prevention Code. NFPA 101, 2012 Edition - The Life Safety Code (as amended) - serves as a primary reference for life safety issues.

Exit – The term 'exit' shall have the same meaning as 'means of egress.’ 2 Flammable – For the purposes of this document, the words “flammable” and “combustible” shall have the same meaning and refers to contents, decorations or other items that may be easily ignited.

Means of egress – A continuous and unobstructed path of travel from any point in a building or structure to a public space and consists of three (3) separate and distinct parts: (i) the exit way access; (ii) the exit way; and (iii) the exit way discharge. A means of egress comprises the vertical and horizontal means of travel and shall include intervening room spaces, doors, hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, enclosures, lobbies, escalators, horizontal exits, courts, and yards.

Occupancy – The term 'occupancy' shall mean the use of space or rooms within a building by a person or group of persons.

Place of assembly – The term 'place of assembly' shall mean a room or space within a building in which fifty (50) persons or more assemble for religious, recreational, educational, political, fraternal, social or amusement purposes, or for the consumption of food or drink.



The following procedures are established to assure compliance with the state fire code and Brown University fire regulations during events in assembly spaces on campus. The event sponsor is responsible for complying with the following requirements:

  • Being Familiar with the University’s Emergency Action Plan – Every employee should be familiar with the university’s Emergency Action Plan. Important safety information and emergency procedures are detailed in this document. The Emergency Action Plan is available online at the Brown University Office of Environmental Health and Safety web site: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/environmental-healthsafety/index.php?q=topics/fire-
  • Obtain the Fire Safety Checklist – Event Sponsors shall obtain and use a copy of the Fire Safety for Events Checklist (Appendix A). The form is available from the EHS – Fire Safety website in addition to SAO's website.
  • Appoint a Responsible Person – Appoint a person from your organization who will be responsible for complying with all applicable requirements specified in the Fire Safety for Events Checklist. The responsible person shall attend and be present throughout the duration of the event to assure compliance with all specified rules and procedures.
  • Planning the Event – Determine the occupancy capacity of the space you plan to reserve for your event. The space must be large enough to accommodate the expected number of attendees. The listed occupancy capacity assumes no furnishings in the room. The use of chairs, tables, bars, stages, etc. will reduce the capacity of the space. If you expect 300 or more attendees at the event, you must contact Fire Safety by phone (401-863-3462) or by email at [email protected] at least two (2) weeks prior to the start of the event to discuss the need for a Providence Fire Department detail firefighter. The cost of the detail is the responsibility of the event sponsor. A department account number must be supplied to Fire Safety before a detail will be scheduled. Contact Fire Safety for rates.

All decorations, wall coverings or sound insulation must be listed as flame resistant from the manufacturer, as specified in the fire code. Contact Fire Safety with any questions concerning the flammability of materials in the space. Self-application of fire retardant materials is not allowed.

Open flames are generally prohibited in assembly spaces. Section V of this program outlines guidelines for the safe use of candles by the Chaplain’s Office for religious services, Dining Services and their approved contractors for their events and the safe use of Sterno gel type fuel.

The use of pyrotechnic devices or fireworks is strictly prohibited.

If more than 1,000 attendees are expected, a Crowd Management Plan must be filed with the Providence Fire Department and trained Crowd Managers must be present throughout the event. Any show or musical concert seating more than 2,000 attendees should use reserved seating only. Contact Fire Safety for additional information at least 3 weeks prior to the event.


In each place of assembly where seating is provided, except where assembly is seated at tables, the seating shall be arranged in an orderly manner with ample provisions made for aisles leading to exits, and no aisle forming a part of the egress system of the place of assembly shall be obstructed or encumbered. Refer to Section of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2012 Edition, for more detailed information.

Seats in assembly occupancies accommodating more than 200 persons shall be securely fastened to the floor, except where fastened together in groups of not less than three. This can be accomplished by mechanical means or by simply connecting the legs of adjacent chairs with zip ties.

Tables arranged for dining or other purposes in places of assembly shall be so located in respect to exit openings, and so spaced apart, that sufficient means of access to exit openings is provided. Aisles in the direction of exits shall be at least three feet (3') in width. Suitable access to aisles shall be provided from all tables. Refer to Sections and of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2012 Edition, for more detailed information.


The use of candles is generally prohibited at Brown University. Any use of candles or incense sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office or by Dining Services or their approved contractors for specific events. A trained person with access to a Type “ABC” fire extinguisher must be present when candles are used. Whenever candles are used by Dining Services or the Chaplain’s Office, the following guidelines must be observed:

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Lighted candles should always be within sight.
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents and air currents.
  • A candle is an open flame that can easily ignite any combustible material nearby. No combustible materials (paper, cloth, baskets, table decorations, etc.) may be placed within six inches (6”) of a candle flame. Candles with combustible items embedded in them are not permitted.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over, are made from a material that can't burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax. Place candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface in a place where it is not likely to be knocked over.
  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder or decorative material.
  • Never move a burning candle. Glass containers and liquid wax can get very hot. Extinguish flame and allow wax to harden before moving.


Sterno type gel fuel may be used for food warming at approved events, as long as the following guidelines are adhered to. A trained attendee with access to a Type “ABC” fire extinguisher must be present whenever Sterno type gel fuel is used. Never use water to extinguish a fire involving Sterno type gel fuel since water may actually spread the fire.

No combustible materials (paper, baskets, table decorations, table linens, etc.) may be placed within six inches (6”) of a burning fuel container. Place a non-combustible surface, such as a plate under the Sterno if the chaffing dish does not have a designated holder or the supporting surface is made of combustible materials.

When working with Sterno type gel fuel, always:

  • Use CAUTION when handling OPEN FLAME products
  • Use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to pry off the lid
  • Remove excess gel from lid if it is being used as a regulator
  • Wash fuel residue from hands
  • Place the can underneath the chafing dish or beverage urn before lighting
  • Use a long handled match or butane lighter to light cans
  • Use a snuffer paddle, regulator or saucer to extinguish flame
  • Wait until can is cool before touching

When working with Sterno type gel fuel, never:

  • Use a sharp knife to pry off the lid
  • Use a lit can to light another can
  • Carry lit cans
  • Carry chafing dishes or beverage urns with lit cans
  • Touch cans while still hot
  • Allow loose clothing, napkins or tablecloths near flame
  • Allow hair to fall near flame
  • Use hands to extinguish flame
  • Blow out flame of Sterno type gel fuel to extinguish

Small amounts of Sterno gel type fuel shall be stored in closed containers in a cool dry place (40-120°F) away from sources of heat or open flame. If large amounts of Sterno gel type fuel is to be stored in a University building, please contact Fire Safety to determine appropriate storage requirements. For more information about Sterno type gel fuel education and safety, please refer to the following website:http://www.sterno.com/education_and_safety.aspx?kwid=1&descid=2&pg=education_and_safety.aspx


5.5.1 90 minutes Prior to the Start of the Event:

  • Check the panic hardware on all exit doors to assure smooth operation
  • Open all exit doors to check the door swing, and remove any obstructions
  • Check to make sure that any handicapped accessible entrances are unlocked and unobstructed
  • Confirm that there are at least two clear exits
  • Confirm that all marked exits are unobstructed and operational
  • All halls, egress passageways must be clear and unobstructed
  • Fire doors must never be blocked open or chained shut
  • Stairways and corridors must be kept clear
  • Confirm that exit signs are present, visible and appear to be operating properly
  • Confirm that adjoining spaces present no obvious fire hazards
  • Fire extinguishers must be available for use. Check to be sure the pressure gauge is in the green zone
  • Know the location of fire alarm pull stations and assure that they are visible and easily accessible

5.5.2 At the Beginning of the Event and Between Musical Sets:

The following announcement must be made at the start of the event, and between musical sets:

"In the event of a fire alarm, please proceed calmly to a nearby exit, leave the building and move away from the doorway. Please note the location of nearby exits. Be aware that the way you entered may not be the most direct way out. Sitting or standing in the aisles and doorways is not permitted. Smoking is not allowed inside any University building. Please turn off or silence all pagers and cell phones."

5.5.3 During the Event:

  • Assure that the occupancy capacity of the space has not been exceeded
  • Continue to monitor all exits, halls and stairways to be sure they are maintained clear and unobstructed.
  • Ask anyone blocking an aisle or a doorway to move. This includes personal items.

5.5.4 After the Event:

  • At the completion of the event, the responsible person shall complete and sign the Fire Safety Checklist to verify that all appropriate fire safety measures were completed.
  • Fold the form in thirds (with Fire Safety address facing out), tape or staple the form and drop it into campus mail to Box 1914.

5.5.5 Assembly Occupancy Capacity Calculations:

Occupancy capacities have been calculated by Brown University Office of Environmental Health & Safety and are subject to change, based on inspections by the Providence Fire Department, under provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Act of 2003.

Using the Spreadsheet (Appendix B) – Occupancy capacity of a room is based on the net square footage of unobstructed floor space available. The “Net Floor Area” listed in this table is based on an observation of the room set up for normal usage. Usually the “Net Floor Area” represents the total floor area of an empty room. However, if the room contains a stage, a display case, a large table or chair, or any other permanent or semi-permanent fixture, the space occupied by the obstruction must be subtracted from the total area of the room to arrive at the “Net Floor Area.”

“Concentrated Use" capacities are based on the number of people standing in a room, and are calculated at 7 square feet of “Net Floor Area” per person. This use applies to parties and dances. Tables, chairs, stages, bars or any other furnishing placed in the room will reduce the capacity by 1 person for every 7 square feet of floor space taken up by the furniture.

“Less Concentrated Use” capacities assume that people are seated at tables.

“Non-Fixed Seating” refers to chairs that are easily removed from the room. Folding chairs and tablet chairs in classrooms are examples of “Non-Fixed Seating.”

“Fixed Seating” refers to seats in auditoriums or gymnasiums, where the seats or bleachers are permanently affixed to the floor.



  • Groups that sponsor events in University buildings must appoint a responsible person whenever attendance at the event will exceed 49 persons. That person must be familiar with the university’s Emergency Action Plan. The Emergency Action Plan is available online at the Brown University Office of Environmental Health and Safety web site: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/environmental-healthsafety/index.php?q=topics/fire-safety
  • The responsible person must also complete the Fire Safety for Events Checklist. The form is available on-line at the following web site: http://www.brown.edu/Administration/EHS/restricted/checklist_events.pdf
  • Whenever an event will have 300 or more attendees the responsible person must request a firefighter detail from Fire Safety at least two (2) weeks prior to the start of the event and provide an account number to cover the cost of the detail.
  • The responsible person shall perform an inspection of the space before the start of the event using the checklist and be present throughout the duration of the event to assure compliance with this program.
  • If food warming is required, ensure that the guidelines for the safe use of Sterno type gel fuel are followed as described in this program.
  • At the completion of the event, the responsible person shall complete and sign the Fire Safety for Events Checklist to verify that all appropriate fire safety measures have been completed. Forward the completed form to Fire Safety via campus mail to Box 1914.


  • Assure that the set-up of tables and chairs is done in accordance with fire code specifications as referenced in Section V of this program.
  • Be responsible for the installation and maintenance of life safety equipment (fire alarms, sprinklers, emergency lighting, exit signs, doors and emergency hardware.)
  • Assign events to appropriate locations that will accommodate the expected attendance.


  • Provide training regarding the implementation of this program.
  • Schedule Providence Fire Department detail firefighters upon request and coordinate all detail billing.
  • Assist with Crowd Management for significant University events upon request.
  • Review the policy annually and update as needed.
  • Maintain a list of capacities for all assembly areas.


EAP Training is required for all Brown employees and is recommended for all students.
Emergency Action Plan training will be conducted in accordance with the University’s EAP
Program located at the following URL: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/environmental-healthsafety/index.php?q=topics/fire-
Crowd Manager Training is required for Crowd Managers working events of 1000 or more attendees. The training is provided by the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office and can be scheduled through Fire Safety.


National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 1 – The National Fire Prevention Code, 2003

National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code, 2003

R.I. State Fire Marshal’s Office, Rhode Island Uniform Fire Safety Code, 2003

Candle Corporation of America, Sterno – Education and Safety Website, January 2007,www.sterno.com

To top of page

Brown First Policy

(per the Office of Insurance and Purchasing Service) Brown First is a University-wide initiative that began in July 2002. Under this policy, Brown Dining Services and Graphic Services must be given the first opportunity to provide these services to the Brown community.

For more information, visit the Administrative Policies website.

Related Links:

To top of page

Political Activities Guidelines

This policy is reprinted from the Brown University Office of Government & Community Relations website.

Political Activities at Brown University


Brown University encourages all members of its community to be informed and engaged in the democratic process. The University supports campus-based activities and programs that enhance the individual capacity of members of the Brown community to fulfill their rights. However, in compliance with federal regulations, Brown must maintain a policy on the permitted use and restrictions of University facilities and resources for partisan, politically-related activity on campus by students and employees.

Violation of IRS regulations could have serious ramifications for the University, including loss of its tax-exempt status.

This policy and associated guidelines cannot address every potential situation. Questions regarding these guidelines should be addressed to the Office of Government and Community Relations (OGCR) (401-863-1885) or, if related to student-sponsored activities, the Student Activities Office (401-863-2341).

Policy Statement

As a non-profit, private institution of higher education whose activities are regulated in part by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRS), the University is prohibited from participating in political campaigns for candidates, political parties and political organizations or ballot initiatives, and is restricted in conducting lobbying activities. This prohibition extends to students and employees.

The parameters of acceptable and restricted activity at Brown under this policy are outlined in the “Responsibilities” and “Procedures” sections of this document.

Brown University reserves the right to amend or modify this policy and its associated guidelines at its discretion or as it deems necessary to comply with the regulations governing political activities of 501(c)(3) entities.


Students and Student Organizations

University-recognized campus-based student organizations may participate in a political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office as long as their campus-based activities comply with University policies and procedures (including this policy on Political Activities at Brown), and applicable IRS regulations.

Organizations created to advocate for the election of a political candidate (i.e. Students for Candidate X) or ballot initiative may not receive funding from the University. Other organizations are also prohibited from receiving University funding, such as student activities fees, for restricted activities. Student organizations will not be permitted to use University facilities or resources to fundraise for activities prohibited by this policy or IRS regulations.

Distribution of campaign materials is generally prohibited on campus. However, University-recognized student organizations are permitted to reserve information tables for the purposes of distributing information about candidates, provided they follow Brown’s policies and procedures for such tables, including making a reservation through the Student Activities Office. In accordance with University procedures restricting solicitation within on-campus residences, organized campaigning is not permitted in on-campus housing.

Faculty and Staff

Administrative officers, faculty, and staff may take part in partisan political activities freely on their own time, but they must not do so in the course of their regular work and responsibilities for the University. When endorsing or opposing a candidate for political office or taking a position on an issue for the purpose of assisting or opposing a candidate, employees (faculty or staff) may not give the appearance that they are representing the University.

Brown University employees may not — and should not be asked to — perform tasks related to partisan political activities during working hours.

Campus-based faculty and staff groups are prohibited from organizing for the purpose of influencing legislation or participating in political campaigns.

For limitations on interacting with elected officials, please refer to the “Lobbying Rules” section below. For questions on running for office, see the “Seeking Public Office” section below.


1. Use of University Facilities and Resources

All use of University facilities and resources is subject to University policies regulating time, place, and manner of use. The following may generally not be used by any person or organization for activities restricted by this policy, regardless of whether the activity is on or off campus:

  • University funds, including the Student Activities Fee, and the University’s sales tax exemption for purchase of goods and services;
  • Use of University name, logo or marks — specifically, neither the Brown University name, nor that of any University entity that is supported in part or whole by the University’s funds, nor University insignia/indicia, may appear on stationery or any other material used or intended for political purposes other than the use of Brown University to specify the location of an activity or event or, as appropriate, identifying the sponsor as a Brown chapter or collection of individuals from Brown, but not in such a way as to construe that the event is, in any way, officially endorsed or sponsored by the University;
  • Use of University title or position — such information should only be used for identification and not an indication of University endorsement;
  • Any University-sponsored campus communication system, including but not limited to the phone system, University-issued cell phone and other electronic devices, University letterhead, the campus mail system, listservs, and the University’s computer and Internet network;
  • University bulk-mailing privilege and mailing lists — including the addresses of departmental offices or faculty or staff offices and e-mail addresses;
  • University-provided office supplies, computers, telephones, facsimile machines, copiers or other equipment (however, use of pay-per-use services, such as the campus copying service, may be used as long as the funds to pay for such use are not University funds); and
  • Film or other image capture (video, livestream and photographs) of classrooms, residential spaces, dining areas, campus greens, buildings and other University property for political campaign purposes.

Campaign materials may be posted on public, exterior bulletin boards as long as they are in accordance with University postering and publicity regulations. The sidewalks next to public streets are city property and not subject to these regulations.

2. Nonpartisan Activities

Brown cannot directly or indirectly offer institutional endorsement of political candidates, but certain nonpartisan political activities (such as properly organized voter registration activities and voter education programs) sponsored by a University department or officially recognized campus organization may be held on campus.

3. On-Campus Appearances by Candidates

Candidates for public office or their designees are welcome to appear on campus for non-campaign related activities, such as an educational or informational talk to the University community. Such appearances must be sponsored by a University department or officially recognized campus organization and satisfy the following criteria:

  • The individual(s) is/are chosen to speak for reasons other than candidacy for public office;
  • The individual speaks in a non-candidate capacity;
  • The event or organization maintains a nonpartisan atmosphere;
  • No specific organized campaigning activity occurs in connection with the event.
  • Any such event must be open first to the entire University community (without preference based on political affiliation) and then, if space permits, to the general public (again, without preference based on political affiliation); and
  • The event meets any additional criteria appropriate for the particular event as determined by the University.

Student organizations must initiate requests for an appearance of a candidate for public office in a non-candidate capacity through the Student Activities Office.

In addition, three options exist for campaign-related appearances of candidates and their surrogates. In all three cases, fundraising is strictly prohibited and approval must be obtained from OGCR:

a. Candidate Debates. Brown will consider requests to host political debates on campus from recognized organizations within the Brown campus community or from non-partisan, non-profit civic organizations or media partners, with a focus on hosting such debates in elections that have candidates representing multiple political parties (typically general elections). All candidates duly registered for the ballot must be invited and given a reasonable opportunity to agree to participate, and the event must be managed in such a way as not to favor or endorse any particular candidate. Arrangements and formats for such debates must be reviewed and approved by OGCR.

b. Events for Individual Candidates. All candidates for office or their surrogates may be invited once during a primary election period and once again during the general election period. If a candidate running for one of these offices speaks at Brown, other candidates for the same office must be given the opportunity to speak in a comparable venue and similar timeframe.

c. Non-sponsored Events. Campaigns are welcome to rent meeting rooms and event spaces and, as such, are subject to the same rules, regulations and fees for all external users as set by the Conference Services Office. Advertising and publicity material should state that the event is not sponsored by Brown University, and all campaign-related activities must be contained within the rented venue or facility.

Approved appearances by candidates or their surrogates sponsored by University departments or campus groups may take advantage of campus promotional outlets provided the communications are designed to promote and support the event, but not the candidate.

4. Fundraising and Gift Restrictions .

Funds or contributions for political candidates or campaigns may not be solicited in the name of Brown University, and University resources may not be used in soliciting such funds. Political fundraising activities are prohibited on campus; this includes using University-issued electronic devices, materials and facilities to make contributions to political candidates and organizations. If Brown students, faculty or staff make political contributions, they do so as individuals and not on behalf of Brown.

Administrative officers, faculty, and staff, and any person or organization acting on their behalf may not solicit or accept funds or contributions for political candidates or campaigns (their own or someone else’s) from donors identified through donor rolls or other University records or directories.

5. Seeking Public Office

Faculty, staff, and students may decide to run for public office while at Brown. To ensure compliance with IRS regulations and University policy, including polices relating to conflict of interest and/or a conflict of commitment, a plan to manage potential conflicts must be established upon declaration of candidacy. Plans must ensure that other faculty, staff and students do not experience a compromised educational or work environment or feel pressure to comply with the political goals of candidates.

An employee intending to seek public office must inform his/her supervisor and the Dean of the Faculty or the Vice President for Human Resources to develop a plan to avoid conflicts of interest. It is requested that this notification come as soon as the employee is considering becoming a candidate, but, in all cases, notification must be made no later than immediately upon declaring candidacy. Students intending to seek public office must contact the division of Campus Life, again as early in the process as possible, but no later than the declaration of candidacy. Campus Life will then work with the student(s) and the appropriate University offices to develop an appropriate plan. Faculty, staff and students must also comply with federal, state and local statutes.

6. Lobbying Rules

Members of the Brown community may lobby government officials regarding particular issues of interest to them on their own time. They must first consult with OGCR if they wish to lobby government officials in their capacity as a Brown faculty member, staff person or student. If it is determined that Brown should contact a city, state, federal or international official on a particular policy matter, such efforts must be coordinated through OGCR.

Due to federal, state and local lobbying laws, Brown must report any lobbying activities. Therefore, OGCR must be informed of all such activities conducted by Brown employees. Please see the below information on federal, state and city lobbying regulations and definitions.

(Federal) Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance

(Rhode Island/State) Lobbying in Rhode Island

(Providence/City) Lobbyist Registration Information

Policy Owner

Approved by: Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy, Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations, Office of General Counsel

Contact/s: Steve Gerencser , Associate Director, Government Relations, [email protected]

Issued: February 2010
Revision: August 2018

To top of page

Protest and Demonstration Guidelines

This policy is reprinted from the Brown University Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards website.

Protest is a necessary and acceptable means of expression within the Brown community. However, protest becomes unacceptable when it obstructs the basic exchange of ideas. Such obstruction is a form of censorship, no matter who initiates it or for what reasons.

Protests or demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to peaceful assembly, orderly protest, free exchange of ideas, or that interfere with the rights of others to make use of or enjoy the facilities or attend the functions of the University cannot be tolerated.

Picket lines which permit free passage of those who wish to pass, and signs, banners and peaceful assemblies are all acceptable. However, the carrying of signs that by virtue of their construction constitute a hazard to other people may not be permitted. Specifically, this means that signs should be constructed entirely of soft material such as cardboard or cloth, and that signs should not be attached to rigid sticks or poles when such signs are used inside University buildings. Actions such as the following, are unacceptable: blocking; obstructing or impeding passage of a person or vehicle; actions that result in bodily harm; erecting or placing of obstructions that result in depriving others of their rights.

Halting a lecture, debate, or any public forum is an unacceptable form of protest. "Halting" means directly or indirectly preventing a speaker from speaking - even for a brief period of time - or seizing control of a public forum for one's own purposes. The University must be a place where ideas are exchanged freely. By asserting their rights to protest, individuals cannot decide for the entire community which ideas will or will not receive free expression.

To top of page

Public Showing of Films

As student organizations move forward with programming initiatives, we are compelled to remind campus members about the legal and acceptable uses of Video Tape/DVD and showing movies for the public.  Video Tapes and DVDs that are available for purchase, rented from many commercial establishments, or checked out of the library are for home viewing purposes only.  This means they can only be viewed in your private living spaces.  For campus purposes, that means your residence hall room/suite. (For home purposes, it means anywhere in your private residence).  The same rules apply for movies/television shows that are video taped at home on VCR’s.

Therefore anytime a group shows a movie in any context, the group must purchase the public viewing rights (copyright) for that particular showing.  Copyright purchase for film currently runs between $100-$900 per showing for popular titles from major movie distributors.  Independent films could cost less but must be negotiated with the holder of the copyright for those particular films. To pursue film rights, please contact the Student Activities Office.

Many of you may know that there is an exception to the public performance fees for college and universities.  That exception is only in the case of face-to-face classroom instruction by a faculty member.  The faculty member may show the film/movie outside the normal class period (at night for example), however, it is only for those students who are registered for the class.  The movie must also be shown in spaces that are designated for instruction; therefore library screening rooms, residence hall or student union lounges, cafeterias do not qualify.  A faculty member cannot show it for his/her class and then open it up to the rest of the campus.  In order to invite others, the public viewing rights must be purchased.  Acceptable attendance for films in which the copyright is not purchased only include students registered for the class, the instructor and guest lecturer(s). 

Purchasing public viewing rights does not depend on variables such as audience size or charging of admission.  Regardless if it is 3 people versus 300 people, size is not considered in determining if public viewing rights need to be purchased.  (Size may, however, influence the amount of the public performance fee).  Likewise you still have to purchase the copyrights even if you are offering the movie/film to the audience for free. 

We know that showing a film is a fun and easy event to organize. Nevertheless, you must always keep in the forefront that just because you purchased the film, rented or checked it out, you cannot turn that Video Tape/DVD into a program.  Public performance rights must be purchased and secured before advertising any event related to movie/film viewing.  Failure to adhere to these guidelines (even if done so innocently and inadvertently) can result in fines from $750 to $30,000 per showing.  If admission is charged to the event and the organization/person receives some commercial or personal financial gain, fines can range upward to $150,000 plus a year in jail.

Information is adapted from the Office of Campus Programs and Organizations at Albion College.

To top of page

Main Green & Page-Robinson Hall Table Reservations

Available for use by BROWN Student Groups and Departments ONLY. Please Stop by our Main Office to Reserve a Table.

Violation of the rules herein or of any university regulations will affect future reservation privileges.

Outside organizations or vendors request tables through a different process which Brown Student Agencies manages for us. Vendors may contact them at [email protected]

  1. Recognized student groups and departments may request either a table to distribute literature, advertise upcoming events, and for non-contracted fundraising (bake sales, ticket sales, etc.)
  2. Four Tables are available in Page-Robinson Hall. Four Tables are available for the Main Green (weather permitting). For the Main Green, please go to the SAO Main Office to check-out a portable table.
  3. Table must be staffed at all times by full-time Brown students, faculty, or staff from the group.
  4. The table and the immediate area around the table must be cleaned of all trash and advertising materials before leaving
  5. Student groups and departments may reserve up to 5 days per month; however, the SAO reserves the right to limit groups to 3 days depending on the volume of requests.  Groups that use all 5 days may contact us on any given morning to ask for vacant tables for that day.
  6. In order to give all student groups an equal opportunity to reach incoming first-year students and to enable first-year students to focus on mandatory Orientation activities, student groups will not be able to register or sponsor events or activities until after the Orientation Activities Fair, this includes requesting promotional tables in the PO or on the Main Green.
  7. Student Groups may not reserve tables during the times listed HERE
  8. Tables may be used between 9:00am and 4:45pm only, unless special permission is granted.
  9. For groups with accounts in the SAO, all money must be brought to the SAO by 3:30 PM for deposit.
  10. Group activities around the table must be conducted in such a manner that traffic is not impeded.  All business must be transacted at the table.  No solicitation is permitted away from the table.  Sound level (music and conversation, etc.) must not exceed a conversation tone level. Student groups are not allowed to place tables under the Faunce Arch.
  11. No postering on walls, doors, windows or on glass surfaces of display cases. Be sure to follow the Postering Guidelines
  12. Electric power cords must be taped down securely.  Cords are not permitted in thoroughfares.
  13. When dispensing of food, you must comply with public laws: Chapter 88-540 & Chapter 88-541

To top of page

Student Enterprise & Addendum

This policy is reprinted from the Brown University Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards website.

Student-run Business or Student Enterprise

Brown University enjoys certain tax exemptions as an educational institution which can be jeopardized when individuals in the campus community operate a business enterprise on University premises. Campus-based activity which can result in the distribution of profits to individuals is inconsistent with the University's tax exempt status.

The University has some basic expectations which form the foundation for the policy concerning student enterprise. First, student entrepreneurial initiatives must not jeopardize the University's tax exempt status. Second, entrepreneurs shall not use their student status to compete unfairly with local merchants or campus services. Third, students are not to harass others, including their fellow students, in their commercial endeavors, particularly in the residence halls.

Brown Student Agencies (BSA) was established to provide a structure within which student entrepreneurial efforts can occur. Those who wish to start or participate in a commercial venture should consult with BSA before implementing such ideas. For advice and guidance on interpretation of this policy, contact the Office of the General Counsel or the Student Activities Office. Entrepreneurial students must comply with at least the provisions following:

  1. Students who act as Commercial Agents, sell merchandise, or distribute goods or advertising on campus are prohibited from using University facilities or services, including residence hall rooms, campus telephone numbers, computing and/or network services or University postal facilities, for the purpose of commercial activities.
  2. Use of the Brown University name or insignia is an extremely delicate matter which must be cleared in advance of such use in all instances by the Vice President for Communications.
  3. Use of the Brown University name, insignia and trademarks on products and merchandise requires prior approval and vendor licensing by the University. Information regarding Brown University product licensing and Brown's code of conduct for licensees is available through the Director of Bookstore & Services.

Violators are subject to disciplinary action.

Addendum to the Policy Concerning Student Enterprise (Student-Run Businesses)

An addendum to the policy concerning student-run businesses is available as a pdf. The document is meant to be a guide for accessing on-campus resources at Brown University as a student-run business. The pdf is available Here.

To top of page

Departmental Group Guidelines

As part of the Division of Campus Life & Student Services, the Student Activities Office (SAO) leads campus efforts to support over 400 student organizations at Brown. Most commonly, our office works with student groups to plan events and other initiatives on campus, to process financial and budget transactions within university systems, and to manage a variety of risk management factors which may arise in co‐curricular activities. We also help students to develop leadership skills and address issues (conflict, officer transition, etc.) that may arise within organizations.

The BearSync online platform (brown.edu/bearsync), managed by the SAO, serves as the official university record of active student organizations. While the SAO maintains this system, it does not recognize student organizations directly. Most student organizations receive official recognition in one of three ways:

  1. Recognition from student government (the Undergraduate Council of Students, Graduate Student Council or Medical Student Senate)
  2. Recognition as a Club sport through the department of Athletics.
  3. Recognition through the Office of the Dean of the College as a Departmental Undergraduate Group (DUG) affiliated with an undergraduate academic concentration.

A handful of student organizations also receive recognition from other departments at Brown. However, due to the relative infrequency of this, these departments may not have a standard process for recognition and maintenance of student organizations. This document is intended to provide guidelines to such departments, allowing for a degree of parity between other university processes, as well as assuring the SAO is able to connect with and support departmentally recognized groups most effectively.

Recommended Minimum Requirements for Group Recognition
Groups should provide the following information both at the initial stage of recognition and at least once annually. The SAO can provide sample versions of/assistance with developing mission statements, constitutions and risk management plans upon request.

  • A group mission statement – the mission statement should indicate how the organization contributes to the Brown community, develops leadership skills and/or provides a learning environment to its members, and provide evidence that the group differs in a substantive way from other student organizations which already exist on campus. The mission should also indicate how the group’s purpose is connected to the recognizing department.
  • A group constitution – the constitution should include a description of the leadership structure of the organization, the process by which officers are elected and their duties, the process by which amendments are made to the constitution and the process by which members are selected (if the organization is not open to all students) and by which members may be removed from the organization.
  • A risk management plan when relevant – groups engaged in any of the following as a regular part of their activity should have a plan to manage the associated risk. Groups who may, on rare occasion, engage in one of these activities may develop plans on an ad hoc basis in consultation with their group advisor and the SAO.
    • Engaging in physical activity with any degree of risk of injury
    • Working with non‐Brown affiliated people who may be considered vulnerable populations (e.g. minors, prison inmates, homeless individuals, people with disabilities)
    • Traveling off campus
    • Serving alcohol
    • Preparing and serving food (this does not include providing food from a licensed caterer or snacks from a sealed container)
    • Contracting services or goods (only university officials who have been delegated authority to do so, may sign contracts on behalf of the university)
    • Screening films – film rights must be obtained for all public screenings
  • A group roster – due to the limited resources available, we recommend that all recognized student organizations be able to show at least 10 active student members, unless extenuating circumstances make this minimum overly burdensome (e.g. an organization aimed at increasing representation of a cultural group in a specific field may, by its nature, have a small number of student members).
  • At least one primary contact – all groups should have at least one student (preferably two) who will take responsibility for being the contact for the group should a university official need to communicate with them.
  • Agreement to abide by all university policies and procedures including, but not limited to, the university’s anti‐hazing policy, alcohol policy and event registration policy. A list of the policies most commonly relevant to student organizations can be found on the SAO website.
  • A group advisor – for departmental groups, the group should have a faculty or staff advisor in the department providing recognition who can serve to provide advice, subject matter expertise, and serve as liaison to other aspects of the university including the SAO.

Additional Responsibilities of Student Groups to Maintain Recognition
In addition to maintaining all of the above:

  • All activities of the organization should fall under the organization’s mission statement. Individual members may not use the organization’s recognition to access university resources for other purposes.
  • Groups must update primary contacts at the end of each semester, as needed, to assure an active student is listed as contact at all times, accounting for graduation, study abroad, etc.
  • Groups must plan early – many processes require the coordination of various offices and individuals on campus. To assure student groups are able to achieve their goals, early planning is essential. A planning timeline for events is available on the SAO website.

Privileges of Group Recognition
Upon recognition, groups are entitled to:

  • A page on the BearSync system, indicating their active recognition by the university.
  • Ability to book space on campus, as available, through the Scheduling Office and the 25live online system.
  • Ability to advertise events sponsored by the organization on campus including in approved postering locations and through Morning Mail.
  • Ability to have a financial account to manage university funds.
  • Ability to use the university name in association with their organization (e.g. the Brown University Chapter of...).
  • Access to university electronic resources such as listservs and websites.
  • Ability to participate in Activities Fairs sponsored by the Student Activities Office (space is limited and groups are given tables on a first come, first served basis).

Responsibilities of the Recognizing Department
The department recognizing the group is ultimately responsible for oversight of the group and should:

  • Inform the SAO when a new group has been recognized. This allows the SAO staff to connect with the group leadership to create their BearSync page which triggers the group’s ability to access other privileges.
  • Provide a group advisor – for departmental groups, the group should have a faculty or staff advisor in the department providing recognition who can serve to provide advice, subject matter expertise, and serve as liaison to other aspects of the university including the SAO. The advisor provides general support for the group’s initiatives as they seek to fulfill their goals.
  • Understand that the SAO does not provide funding to any student group and that needed group funding must come from the department, from fundraising or from contributions from other sources.
  • Have a process for group de‐recognition – when a group no longer has sufficient interest to sustain its activity or when a group has engaged in behavior which violates university policy, departments should have a process in place to remove recognition from the university. The department will notify the SAO when a group has been de‐recognized.

Support Provided by the Student Activities Office

  1. Event planning support, including assistance with room booking, event support and media services scheduling, obtaining security when necessary, etc.
  2. Providing a financial account and assistance in processing all financial transactions within the university system (Workday). Please note: the SAO does not provide funding to any student organization, only support in processing transactions.
  3. Support with group member leadership development and management of group dynamic issues such as conflict resolution or officer transition planning.
  4. Support with other university processes such as contracting speakers or performers, obtaining waivers, navigating various policies and procedures, etc. This includes support in navigating processes for all of the risk management factors detailed above.
  5. Provide advice and support to departmental group advisors. The SAO is happy to consult with our colleagues across campus about various issues which may arise in student organizations, how various processes for groups work at Brown, etc.

To top of page

Redistribution of Funds from Inactive Group Accounts

If the Student Activities Office determines that a group is no longer active at Brown, any remaining funds in the group’s account(s) may be redistributed.  As it is standard practice for any funds from the undergraduate Student Activities Fee to be returned at the end of each semester to the Undergraduate Finance Board, any remaining funds when an organization becomes inactive will have been determined to not be from the Student Activities Fee.

In order for a group to be considered inactive, either the SAO must be in receipt of communication from the organization’s last known leadership that the group is no longer active OR the group must have been unrecognized by UCS, GSC, or the department that provided recognition and the group’s financial account(s) must have not experienced any transactions for the past two years.

If a group is found to be inactive, the following will guide the redistribution of any remaining funds in the group’s account(s):

  1. The SAO will make every effort to work the Undergraduate Council of Students and/or the Graduate Student Council to first ensure that the group is no longer active and is likely to remain so.
  2. If the funds are from a source with defined use, such as an endowment account, the SAO will work with the Division of Advancement to evaluate the use of the funds and redistribute the funds according to applicable restrictions.
  3. The SAO will work with UCS and GSC to identify if there is a currently existing student organization that is a successor organization or has a related purpose.  If this is the case, the funds will be transferred to that organization.
  4. If there is not a group with a related purpose in existence, the SAO will use the funds, at the discretion of the Director, to support the activities of any recognized student organization. On an annual basis, the Director will review use of inactive account funds with the UCS Student Activities Chair, GSC Vice-President for Administration, and UFB Chairperson.

To top of page