Section 900: Physical Plant

Effective: May 18, 1998
Revised: April 2016
Review Date: April 2018
Responsible Party: Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration

General Authority:

All of the property of Montana State University-Northern including all of the buildings and improvements thereon is property of the State of Montana and is under the jurisdiction and control of the Board of Regents of Higher Education of the Montana University System. The Regents of Higher Education manage and control all property for the specific purpose of fulfilling the educational mission of Montana State University-Northern as a state-supported institution of higher education. Accordingly, the use of Montana State University-Northern's property and facilities is subject to all applicable state and federal laws, the policies of the Board of Regents of Higher Education, and the policies of Montana State University-Northern.


The policies of Montana State University-Northern applicable to the non-instructional use of Montana State University-Northern's property and facilities are as follows.

I. Purposes for which Montana State University-Northern Property and Facilities May Be Used:

A. Regularly Scheduled University Programs and Activities

Any program activity or event which has been recurring or regularly scheduled by those administrators responsible for scheduling of the particular property or facilities required and which are reasonably related to the educational missions of MSU-Northern.

B. Ancillary Activities or Events Which Have Been Approved and Scheduled.

    1. Student organizations. Any activity or event sponsored by any recognized student organization providing the activity or event is consistent with the stated objectives of the organization or the educational mission of the University and provided that any proceeds thereof are used to defray the expenses of the activity or event, to generate a reserve to meet the organization's stated objective, or to contribute to the educational mission of the University.
    2. Faculty or staff organizations. Any activity or event sponsored by organizations or members of the faculty or staff which are appropriately scheduled and which are consistent with the stated objectives of the organizations or the educational mission of the University, provided any proceeds thereof are used to defray the expenses of the activity or event, to generate a reserve to meet the organization's stated objectives, or to contribute to the educational mission of the University.
    3. University affiliated organizations. Any activity or event sponsored by organizations affiliated with the University with approval of the Chancellor or his designee, such as the Montana State University-Northern Alumni Foundation.

C. Private Individuals and Non-University Organizations:

      1. Non-profit. Any appropriately scheduled activity or event sponsored by private individuals or organizations when it is established that the activity or event is a community service contributing to the cultural, social, educational or economic development of the community, or of the state, and that none of the proceeds shall accrue to the benefit of any private individual or commercial organization or association conducting activities for private gain.
      2. For profit. Activities or events involving proceeds or profit which shall inure or accrue to the benefits of private individuals, commercial organizations, or associations conducting activities for private gain may be approved and scheduled and may use University property, facilities, and services with the express written permission of the Chancellor or his designee.

2. Additional conditions for private individuals and non-University organizations.

      1. Such individuals and non-University organizations may only use the building if there is no impairment of any University or student activity.
      2. The University shall not be liable for non-availability of the scheduled property, facilities, or services due to circumstances beyond the control of the University, such as destruction of the facilities or emergency circumstances which require the use of the facilities for University purposes.
      3. The University retains the right to revoke the license or authorization to use the property, facilities, or services of the University and to re-enter and deny the use of the same for any breach of the agreement between the user and the University.
      4. The University should be protected against loss or liability incident to the activity or event by appropriate prepayment, deposit, bond or insurance or other reasonable measure considering the nature of the event.
      5. University must be fully compensated for any use of property, facilities, damages or services at the rate specified and agreed upon.
      6. The University will, upon request, be provided with an accounting for all expenses and proceeds from the activity or event.
      7. All private individuals and non-University organizations must submit a letter requesting the use of the facilities. This letter is to be sent to the person responsible listed under sub-section B. of Section VI Procedures, of this policy. If catering is required, the requester must submit a copy of the letter to the Director of Food Service. These letters are in addition to any other forms that may be required.

D. Special Events

The Chancellor may approve any activity not specifically denominated herein provided in his/her judgment the activity is in the best interest of the University and is consistent with applicable state statutes.

II. Food and Beverage Service for Campus Facilities

Events requiring food and/or beverage service will be scheduled in those facilities specifically equipped to provide such services. Other facilities may be so utilized only by special permission from the Chancellor or his/her designee. Organizations or individuals using the University facilities may not sell or serve food and/or non-alcoholic beverages that are provided by commercial or domestic sources other than the University Food Service without prior approval of the Chancellor or the Director of Food Service. MSU-Northern Food Service has preference and first right of refusal for food provided at any function on the campus. This includes the following; all off-campus groups and organizations, all on-campus groups, campus departments, campus clubs, faculty, staff and students. Reference Policy 1003.1 Alcoholic Beverages.

III. Limitations on the Use of Montana State University-Northern Property and Facilities

A. Unscheduled Activities or Events

University property or facilities may not be used for any activity or event which is not scheduled by completing the Facility Use Form and submitting it to the Physical Plant.

B. Disruptive Activities

    1. University property, facilities, or services may not be used for any activity or event which materially disrupts the learning environment, interferes with regular academic programs, substantially impedes normal operation of the University or infringes on the individual rights of those who study, reside, or work on the campus.
    2. The use of amplification equipment will not be permitted on University property or in University facilities under circumstances which would interfere with the learning environment required for instruction and study or which would interfere with the individual rights of those living or working on or near the campus.

C. Hazardous or Unlawful Activity.

    1. General. Any activity or event which exposes persons or property to unreasonable hazard or risk, or which is unlawful.
    2. Open burning or fireworks. . In keeping with city ordinances and long-standing University policy, neither open burning nor fireworks is permitted on the University campus.
    3. Trespass. No person shall be permitted to sleep in or inhabit or use any facility or area not specifically provided by the University for that purpose.
    4. Smoking. As of July 1, 2016, MSU-Northern is a tobacco free campus. All tobacco products are not allowed on campus property.
    5. Alcoholic Beverages. The consumption of alcoholic beverages (including beer) is prohibited in the buildings and on the grounds (including athletic fields) of Montana State University- Northern except as allowed under MSU-Northern Policy 1003.1
    6. Use, sale or possession of drugs. The use, sale or possession of illegal drugs is prohibited on University property and in University facilities. See Policy 1003.2 Drug-Free Work Place.

D. Solicitations.

    1. General. Any activity or event involving solicitation of funds, contributions, pledges, gifts, signatures, commitments, etc. must be carried on in such a way as to minimize the disruption of campus activities and residents. No such activity shall be conducted by non-University related persons without the prior permission of the Chancellor or his/her designee. The University may enforce additional, more site-specific restrictions with regard to any campus location or building including residence halls. Generally, solicitation activities within campus buildings may be more limited than similar activities at outdoor locations on the campus. The decision to permit or allow any specific activity shall be made in a fashion consistent with applicable state and federal law on free speech and public forums. No person may conduct a business or profit making activity on campus without authorization either in the form of a contract with the University or authorization by the Chancellor or his/her designee. Door-to-door solicitation within residence halls is not allowed unless directly related to University activities and conducted by students or University personnel. Such solicitation may be limited to reasonable times and dates.
    2. Posting and distribution. Posting of signs or other materials should be confined to bulletin boards and other areas generally available for those purposes. See Policy 1021 Bulletin Boards, Distribution and Posting of Written materials.
    3. Campus mail. Distribution through the University mail system of materials unrelated to normal University business is prohibited. See Policy 1004.1 Mail.

E. Political Campaigning.

Political campaigning on the University campus may not include: imposition on the privacy of residence hall residents; interruption of students in academic areas; distribution of written materials in any manner other than by mail or by making an appropriate quantity of such material available in the Student Union Building for those persons who may wish to pick them up; or posting anywhere except in the Student Union Building or on bulletin boards.

F. Religious Activities.

Except for activities conducted by religious organizations established for the purpose of providing services to the student body on a continuing basis, University property or facilities may not be used when the proceeds or donations will go to aid any church or other organization controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination.

IV. Responsibilities of Users.

Those persons or organizations who schedule and use University facilities or property shall have the following responsibilities:

    1. Payment in advance or per agreement of all rents and charges and of a damage deposit when requested.
    2. Payment for any damages to the facility or property which exceeds normal wear and for any additional and anticipated costs incurred by the University incident to the use of the facility or property.
    3. Provide for adequate security and supervision during the activity or event to assure compliance with laws, ordinances and regulations. Charges for security or services are to be charged to the user unless the use is part of the regular academic program. The administrator responsible for the facility may request that the user provide supervision or security as a condition precedent to the use of the facility.
    4. Advertising disclaimer. The sponsoring group must use their own name in all advertising. Montana State University-Northern is providing space for this event and the philosophies expressed are not necessarily those of Montana State University-Northern.
    5. Secure and complete all the institutional forms required for facility use.

V. Procedures

A. University Facilities Planning Board

The University Facilities Planning Board will review the application of this policy on a regular basis, and such review will be noted in that group's minutes.

B. Persons to Contact for Scheduling Use of Facilities

Scheduling of the facilities will be assigned as follows:

    • Academic areas - Academic Deans
    • Gymnasium/recreational fields - Director of Athletics
    • Residence Halls – Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Housing
    • Student Union Building - Director of Food Service
    • Food Service - Director of Food Service
    • Campus Grounds - Director of Facilities Services

C. Limitations on Schedule

1. Reserved Rights. Montana State University-Northern reserves the right to deny scheduling, to reschedule, or to cancel any schedule. Any reservation or scheduling of University property or facilities must remain subject to this condition. No person or organization may regard approval of a requested schedule as a guarantee of availability of the scheduled facility for the purpose requested. These rights are reserved to protect the University against the emergencies or exigencies not known at the time of the scheduling or against violation of regulations, abuse of facilities, or breach of agreements by the users of University property or facilities.

2. Priority among Requests. Priority among requests for use of the same facility at the same time shall be determined by application of the following criteria:

      1. Academic use shall take precedence over any other purpose in academic facilities.
      2. Student and recreational use shall take precedence over any other non-University use in the gym, the recreation fields, and other facilities generally scheduled for recreational purposes.
      3. Except for unanticipated academic need regularly scheduled intercollegiate practices and events shall take precedence over any other use of the gym and practice field.
      4. In the absence of one of the above priority considerations, priority shall be given to the first request received by the appropriate scheduling authority who shall log the time and date of all requests received.

3. Rents and Charges.

    1. Who will be charged. Any user of the University property or facilities may be charged rent as well as any costs incident to the use of the facilities except for academic programs regularly conducted in academic facilities or other regular ongoing functions of the facilities provided for that purpose.
    2. How much will be charged. Rental rates are to be determined by the fee schedule for the area and will be applied as each case occurs. A standard fixed rate for every area has been established; rates may be negotiable. In determining the rate the responsible person will take into consideration at the minimum, the following factors:
      1. Time
      2. Type of use
      3. Actual cost incurred by the use
      4. Special needs
      5. User
      6. Lost revenue from use
      7. Alternate revenue received from use (e.g., concessions, sales)
    3. Charges in addition to rent. Charges in addition to or in the absence of rent shall be sufficient to offset the costs to the institution of the activity or event and shall include at least utilities, janitorial services, and any special arrangements (electrician services) requested by the user. Charges for damages will be the full cost to repair damages and restore the facility to its former condition.

  MSUN Policies
    304 University Facilities Planning Board
    907 No Smoking - Montana Clean Indoor Air Act
    1003.1 Alcoholic Beverages
    1003.2 Drug-Free Work Place
    1004.1 Mail
    1021 Bulletin Boards, Distribution and Posting of Written materials