Public Forum - Time, Manner and Place Rules

Adopted Policy 1.6

Policy Purpose

To set forth the University at Albany principles for use of University owned facilities by Third Parties for free speech purposes.

Responsible Office

Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, Division for Finance and Administration

Responsible Executive

Chief Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance Officer

Policy History

  • Date of Permanent Approval:
  • Date of Amendments:

Policy Statement

The University, as a public institution of higher education in New York State partially funded by NYS tax dollars, has established time, place, and manner rules for the use of its designated public forum for third parties outside of the campus community for their exercise of free speech rights. In drafting and adopting this policy, the University weighed its competing obligations and responsibilities: to meet its education mission, to meet its legal obligations as a public entity to provide a designated public forum for free speech by third parties, to meet its audit and control obligations managing NYS property under its jurisdiction, and to meet obligations for the orderly and safe operation of its Campus, while responsibly managing and allocating its scarce resources in pursuit of its education mission for its students.

Persons Affected

Third Parties


Black-out Days are certain days on the University’s calendar wherein the use of the Campus and its facilities, including outdoor spaces are reserved exclusively for Campus related activities that are at the very core of its primary educational mission.  During these Blackout Days, no Third Party shall be allowed to use the Designated Public Forum for free speech purposes.

Campus or Campuses is any University owned, leased, licensed or operated space, facility, property, grounds or building.

Designated Public Forum is the area identified in the map included in this policy.       

Third Party or Parties is any person, organization, group or entity not legally affiliated with the University including, but not limited to the general public, contractors, vendors, guests and visitors to the University, those using University facilities or property under a University revocable permit, and volunteers not enrolled as such on University systems.

University is the University at Albany, State University of New York.



  1. Designated Public Forum
    1. The University is providing a Designated Public Forum for use by a Third Party to exercise their free speech rights.
    2. All requests for use of the Designated Public Forum require prior approval, which can be obtained via the process detailed in the procedures promulgated under this policy.
    3. The University reserves the right to terminate any use of the Designated Public Forum in the event either the speaker or a member(s) of an audience engages in conduct that violates the SUNY Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order, adopted in accordance with Education Law Section 6430 and 8 NYCRR 535, in order to secure the orderly and operation of the Campus for the safety of the entire Campus Community.
  2. Black-out Days
    1. The University designates specific days as Black-out Days as detailed in the procedures promulgated under this policy where the University facilities and grounds are utilized for key events at the core of its educational mission.
  3. University obligations
    1. The University is prohibited from
      1. making inquiries as the nature or content of the free speech
      2. charging the Third Party an application fee to reserve the Designated Public Forum
      3. charging the Third Party for the use of the Designated Public Forum for free speech purposes
      4. imposing insurance requirements on the Third Party for use of the Designated Public Forum for free speech purposes
      5. charging the Third Party for any additional costs to the University that the University may incur due to the use of the Designated Public Forum, such as security.
  4. Obligations of Third Party Designated Public Forum users
    1. The Third Party user of the Designated Public Forum
      1. is responsible for any costs for parking on the campus as all students, faculty, staff, and visitors are charged for parking.
      2. is responsible for picking up from the Designated Public Forum any brochures, pamphlets, leaflets or other handouts or goods that the Third Party speaker brought with them to disseminate during their speech, and properly disposing of the same in public garbage receptacles or taking them with them.  The University has a regulation against littering on the Campus that applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors.  Failure to comply with this provision may result in future denial of use of the Designated Public Forum.
      3. is prohibited from use of megaphone equipment for the amplification of the speech. However, upon written request at the time of application, and on the application, by the Third Party user, and weather permitting to protect the University's equipment, the University will provide a microphone and sound system for the speaker.


  1. Reservations for use of Designated Public Forum for free speech purposes
    1. Third Parties who seek to use the Designated Public Forum must:
      1. Complete a Designated Public Forum application and file the application with the Office of Facilities Management three (3) business days before the date the Third Party user wants to use the Designated Public Forum. Applications received after 3 p.m. on a given business day shall be considered as having been received on the morning of the next business day. 
      2. The application must be received by the University at least three (3) business days before the requested use date and the Third Party user assumes responsibility for proper delivery to the Office of Facilities Management in a timely manner.   The Office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for deliveries, except for holidays.
      3. Completed applications to use the Designated Public Forum should be sent to or hand delivered to:

        Office of Facilities Management

        Attn:  Stacy Stern

        University at Albany

        1400 Washington Avenue


        Albany, NY 12222

    2. Please call Stacy Stern at (518) 442-3400 or email her at [email protected] with any questions about the application process. 
    3. The University shall review the application and respond to the applicant no later than the close of business on the third business day prior to the date the applicant wants to use the Designated Public Forum.
    4. If the application is completed fully and signed by the applicant and the date and time are available for use, the University shall inform the applicant of its approval to use the Designated Public Forum on the date and time so requested. 
    5. If the application is not complete and/or it is not signed, the University shall return the application to the Third Party user for completion.  The three (3) business days' time period will begin running again once the completed and signed application is received by the Office of the University Controller.
    6. If the space is already reserved to its capacity for the date and time requested, or if the date and time requested is during a Blackout Period as defined in this policy, the University shall inform the Third Party of the same and offer the next available date and time for the use of the Designated Public Forum.
  2. Black-Out Periods
    1. The University defines the black-out periods to include the following:
      1. During Opening Weekend for the commencement of fall and spring semesters;
      2. During reading periods and examination periods as set forth on the then current academic calendar;
      3. During graduation-related activities and events, including winter and spring commencements; and
      4. During major fall or spring campus-wide celebrations, such as concerts, Homecoming, and Parkfest;