Policies for Visiting Political Candidates & Elected Officials
As outlined in V-28.3 of the University of Iowa Operations Manual, political candidates and elected officials are welcome on the University of Iowa campus.
Candidate and campaign activities, political events, and rallies (hereafter “events”) in person/or virtual that occur on the University of Iowa campus, including the Health Sciences campus and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), must be sponsored by a University of Iowa registered student organization.
UI Departments and units are not allowed to sponsor political candidates or elected officials.
Members of the UI faculty can learn more about political activities in the classroom by visiting: https://provost.uiowa.edu/guidelines-regarding-political-activity-faculty-university-iowa.
To begin the sponsorship process of political candidates or elected officials, contact or visit Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Event Services, Room 159 IMU, at 319/335-3114 or the Office of the Dean of Students, Room 135 IMU, at 319/335-1162. The Office of Governmental Relations (319/335-0553) is also available to answer questions.
Information on registered student organizations, including contact names and phone numbers, is available from the Office of the Dean of Students, or by accessing the registered student organization database: https://uiowa.campuslabs.com/engage/organizations.
Through the sponsorship of a registered student organization, political candidates or elected officials may rent space in the IMU and in designated areas in other campus buildings.
All requests must begin with IMU Event Services, Room 159 IMU (319/335-3114). Rental fees and other costs, including event security and parking, must be paid in advance (see Costs section below). Details about specific costs are available from IMU Event Services at 319/335-3114 or https://imu.uiowa.edu/event-services/fees/ and https://imu.uiowa.edu/event-services/spaces/.
Venue doors will not open and the space will not be made available to the public until rental fees and associated costs have been paid in full to IMU Event Services.
Different fee structures are applied to spaces rented through Recreational Services and Intercollegiate Athletics. Designated locations (see below) may not be available on a specific date or time dependent on University scheduled activities (e.g., academic course schedule, athletic events, other University programs) and all locations must be approved by University Administration and Public Safety. Intercollegiate Athletic venues (except Carver Hawkeye Arena), academic classrooms and auditoria, and the Old Capitol Museum are not designated campus locations for political candidates or elected officials.
The following are designated locations (if available and approved by University Administration and Public Safety):
- Carver Hawkeye Arena
- Field House: Main Deck & South Gym
- Kautz Plaza & Pentacrest
- Iowa Memorial Union: Main Lounge, Second Floor Ballroom, Black Box Theater, Meeting Rooms, Hubbard Park, & River Amphitheatre
Each location mentioned above, along with other locations on campus, have an established maximum occupancy load, which is the maximum number of people who can attend the event. This number is based on the size of the space and room configuration. Placement of equipment and items supporting the event (e.g., staging, press risers, security barriers), along with the available exits from the location may impact the total number of people allowed to attend.
It is the duty of the UI Fire Safety Coordinator to establish a safe occupant load and to enforce the pre-determined occupant load during the activity or rally. The UI Fire Safety Coordinator has the ultimate authority and final decision on the number of people allowed to attend any event. Each event is evaluated on a case-by-case basis with regard to potential risks to personal safety, University property or facility security; to promote safety; and to protect the rights of all members of the campus community.
UI Public Safety, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students and IMU Event Services reserves the right to relocate an event to a particular location or deny the event in its entirety. This right is reserved if there are anticipated security challenges and/or safety concerns. The safety of the campus community is the utmost priority for all events.
Events sponsored by a UI registered student organization that feature a political candidate or elected official may require the Critical Incident Management Plan regarding Civil Protest to be activated.
Those policies may be found in this document as policies related to spontaneous, non-sponsored protest and at: https://uiowa.edu/critical-incident-plan/civil-protest. The university will provide a designated protest area for those with opposing viewpoints to protest during events that feature a political candidate or elected official. This designated protest area will be monitored by UI Administration, UI Demonstration Support Team, and UI Public Safety and will be advertised as a protest location to the public.
Registered student organizations may sponsor a political candidate or elected official event on the UI Pentacrest or Kautz Plaza. These requests must be submitted to Event Services, Iowa Memorial Union, Room 159 IMU (319/335-3114) and follow all UI outdoor space policies.
All events are subject to regulations, including restrictions on time, place, and the use of amplified sound. A student member of the sponsoring registered student organization must make the reservation. Events are prohibited on the steps of the Old Capitol building.
It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Students and Executive Director of the IMU or Associate Director of the IMU to alert UI officials and departments of political candidates or elected officials events sponsored by registered student organizations. Depending on circumstances, other departments or officials may be required to assist in the planning of sponsored events featuring political candidates or elected officials. The following departments will be notified and involvement may be required from:
- Office of the President
- Office of the Provost
- Office of the Vice President for Student Life
- Office of the Dean of Students
- Office of Leadership & Engagement
- Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
- Iowa Memorial Union
- Facilities Management
- Recreational Services (if a Recreational Services facility is utilized)
- Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Facilities Director (if an Intercollegiate Athletics Facility is used)
- Office of Strategic Communication
- Departments of UI Public Safety, UI Emergency Management, UI Fire Safety, & Johnson County Ambulance Service
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Emergency Management Coordinator
- Department of Parking and Transportation
- Shared Governance Organizations (Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate & Professional Student Government, Faculty Senate, and UI Staff Council)
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
- University Housing & Dining
- University Human Resources
- University Libraries
- University Museums
Pre-meetings with all parties and event organizers are required. UI Public Safety must be notified immediately if executive protection detail (not United States Secret Service) will be armed. Contact information for those individuals must be provided from political candidates or elected officials.
All press and media will be required to work with UI Strategic Communication. Event organizers and sponsors must inform UI Administration if press and media will be in attendance.
The selling of merchandise by external campaign vendors is not permitted on the UI campus. Individuals may be allowed to sell merchandise on City of Iowa City property but would be required to follow all City of Iowa City ordinances and permitting requirements.
University Housing and Dining offers politicians and political organizations access to residence hall students on a limited basis. Please consult University Housing & Dining related to their specific policies.
The sponsored political candidate or elected official must pay all costs associated with University services and event and venue security. UI Public Safety will determine all security costs and security requirements. All event costs related to venue space and identified University services must be paid at the time of reservation, before the scheduled event will occur. The sponsoring registered student organization will receive one invoice, prepared by IMU Event Services, that is inclusive of all University-associated costs. Costs will be estimates, and the political candidate or elected official will be responsible for any additional costs incurred. Public rates will apply to all political candidate or elected official events sponsored by a registered student organization. Venue doors will not open and the space will not be made available to the public until rental fees and associated costs have been paid in full to IMU Event Services.
The University will provide event security to State of Iowa elected officials, which includes the six (6) elected officials of Iowa’s Congressional delegation, if the event is associated with official office duties and not campaign related. If the event is related to any election campaign, the elected official is required to pay all costs associated with event security.
Individual faculty members may allow political candidates, elected officials, or campaign staff to address their courses about relevant issues, but not for the purpose of political campaigning. Participation is open only to those students enrolled in the course. More information can be found here: https://provost.uiowa.edu/guidelines-regarding-political-activity-faculty-university-iowa.
No blanket invitations may be extended by a political candidate or elected official to the general public prior to coordination with the sponsoring registered student organization. No more than 25% of the total seating may be reserved for invited guests. Students must have first priority for general seating.
The aforementioned UI policies for visiting political candidates and elected officials are predicated on these events being an educational opportunity for students.
It is imperative the registered student organization maintain an active role in planning and executing the event. It is an expectation the sponsoring registered student organization have a dedicated time to meet with the political candidate or elected official before or after the event.
Political Candidate: Any person seeking or being considered for an elected office at the local, state, or federal level.
Elected Official: Any person who holds elected office at the local, state, or federal level.
Campaign staff member: Any person who is employed by, or volunteers for, or any person who serves as a surrogate for a political candidate or elected official (as defined above).
Updated - 3/22/2021