Office of Special Programs

Time, Place, and Manner at the University of Washington – Seattle

The University of Washington provides this information as a supplemental resource for

understanding its time, place, and manner restrictions, adopted at WAC 478-136.


The University is an educational institution provided and maintained by the people of the state in order to carry out a broad mission of teaching, research and public service. In order to carry out that mission, the University has established that university facilities are reserved primarily for educational use, including instruction, research, public assembly, student activities, and recreational activities related to educational use.

The University is also committed to free exchange of ideas and the principles of academic freedom, in accordance with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the right to speak is not a right to speak at any time, at any place, and in any manner that a person wishes. Courts have long recognized that public colleges and universities have the right to set reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the use of their campus facilities. Time, place, and manner restrictions ensure the functioning of the campus by helping protect public health, safety, and welfare and prevent disruption of its educational, research, outreach, and other core functions. Simply put, this means that the University of Washington can delineate the “when, where and how” of free-speech activities, as long as it is applied in a content neutral way (in other words, it must apply to all speech, no matter how favored or disfavored) and it leaves ample opportunity for speech in alternative areas or forums.

The University’s time, place, and manner restrictions take into account, among other considerations:  the direct and indirect costs to the institution; environmental, health, and safety concerns; wear and tear on facilities; appropriateness of the event to the specific facility and their specific building policies; and the impact of the event on the campus community, surrounding neighborhoods, and the general public (Reference WAC 478-136-030). Examples of such restrictions include:

  • Regularly scheduled University activities take precedence over spur of the moment activities.
  • University facilities may not be used in ways which obstruct or disrupt University operations, the freedom of movement, or any other lawful activities. No activity may obstruct entrances, exits, staircases, doorways, hallways, or the safe and efficient flow of people and vehicles.
  • Expressive activity may not create unreasonable safety risks nor an imminent threat, health or safety hazard.
  • University facilities may not be used for private or commercial purposes such as sales, advertising, or promotional activities unless such activities serve an educational purpose.
  • Solicitation, or distribution of handbills, pamphlets and similar materials by anyone, whether a member of the University community or of the general public, is not permitted in those areas of campus to which access by the public is restricted or where such solicitation or distribution would significantly impinge upon primary University activities and operations.
  • Because an event may interfere with classes in session and/or other activities, sound amplification is generally limited to the HUB Lawn and Red Square, and at times when classes are not in session.

University administrators work with individuals and organizations when setting up activities using campus facilities and outdoor locations in order to best prepare for successful events, smooth ongoing University operations, public safety, and compliance with University regulations and policies. The University reserves the right, based on reasonable assessment, to deny, cancel, postpone or move a reservation, or immediately terminate any ongoing activity that does not comply with University regulations. Such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis considering the particular circumstances presented and are exercised only in extraordinary circumstances and without regard to the viewpoint of the activity, attendees or protestors.

The University expects that all persons engaging in activities on campus will act with respect for the safety of persons and property, and will comply with local, State, and federal laws, and University and venue-specific policies. Violations may result in removal from the venue, and could additionally be subject to University disciplinary or judicial proceedings.


Time, Place, and Manner Implementation Guidelines

Some events may require more extensive planning in terms of logistics, safety, security, crowd or traffic management, outdoor staging, amplified sound, etc. The Use of University Facilities (UUF) Committee will review the event details and will make final time, place, and manner recommendations regarding event management to the President of the University of Washington or their designee.

Events Under Consideration. The UUF Committee will review any event proposal when one or more of the following conditions may reasonably be anticipated to apply:

  • A dignitary, newsworthy individual, or celebrity is attending or appearing;
  • Authorized University officials determine that the event requires extensive logistical planning for campus safety and security (including safe ingress/egress for the speaker) or significantly affects campus services;
  • Authorized University officials determine that the event presents a high likelihood of substantial disruption of the University’s academic, administrative, or auxiliary functions, or of a scheduled athletics or cultural event;
  • Outdoor stage or amplified sound is requested;
  • The organizer is a non-university person or entity (including ASUW, GPSS, RSOs and all off-campus users) and attendance is anticipated to exceed 500;

In reviewing an event that meets one or more of the conditions above, the UUF Committee may consider a number of viewpoint-neutral factors. Permissible factors that may be weighed in determining whether an event may significantly affect campus safety and security or significantly interfere with other campus functions or activities include:

  • Proposed location of the event;
  • Estimated number of participants;
  • Time of the day that the event is to take place;
  • Date and day of the week of the event;
  • Activity’s timing in relation to the academic calendar (for example, proposed scheduling during the first week of classes or during final examination week);
  • Expected duration of the activity;
  • Expected noise level to be generated by the activity;
  • Proximity of the event to other activities or locations that could interfere, obstruct, or lessen the effectiveness of the security measures being implemented;
  • Need for and/or availability of University resources and personnel to facilitate, oversee, secure, or control the activity;
  • Anticipated weather conditions;
  • Any objective and credible evidence regarding actual threats to campus safety or security;
  • Any similar viewpoint- and content-neutral considerations relevant to assessment of campus safety, security, and potential disruption to campus functions or activities.


Recommendation Goals. When reviewing event proposals and determining time, place, and manner regulations, the UUF Committee’s recommendations will address the following goals:

  • Minimize risks to the health and safety of the event participants and audience;
  • Minimize risks to the campus and surrounding community;
  • Maximize the ability of the event organizers to execute a successful event; and
  • Support the exercise of free expression by the event organizers, participants and community.


Committee Membership. The UUF Committee consists of the following university representatives (or their assigned designee):

  • Associate Vice President for Student Life (Chair)
  • Associated Students of the University of Washington President
  • Graduate and Professional Student Senate President
  • Director of Risk Finance and Consulting
  • Senior Director of Environmental Health and Safety
  • Executive Director of the Husky Union Building
  • Associate Director for Student Activities
  • Chief of the University of Washington Police Department
  • Chief Operations Officer for UW Facilities
  • Faculty Senate representative
  • TBD: Senior Director of Media Relations
  • Office of Special Programs Coordinator (staff support)


The University of Washington provides this information as a resource for understanding its time, place, and manner restrictions, adopted at WAC 478-136. This page does not set policy, or create rules or regulations, but serves as an interpretive, supplemental guide.