Chapter 37 – Use of the Pentacrest

(President 1/12/72; amended 9/93; 1/02; 4/09)

Effective March 15, 2021, this policy has been replaced. See V-35 Conditions of Use of University Facilities and Outdoor Spaces.

37.1 General

By resolution adopted July 10, 1970, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, adopted a policy which states in part: the freedom to express dissent by lawful means, including peaceable assembly and petitions to authorities, is no less important on a university campus than elsewhere in our society; the exercise of this freedom to dissent must not interfere with rights of others.

The Pentacrest has frequently been used to exercise these freedoms and this use has been encouraged and facilitated by the University. Because the adjacent buildings are dedicated to educational and administrative pursuits, the use of the Pentacrest as a public forum for speech, assembly, and petition must be harmonized with these primary University functions. This policy establishes the rules for management of the Pentacrest area to insure that constitutional rights are preserved without interfering unduly with the University's educational functions.

37.2 Definition

The Pentacrest is that area of the campus bounded by Clinton Street on the east, Washington Street on the south, Madison Street on the west and Jefferson Street on the north, and on which are located the Old Capitol, Macbride Hall, Schaeffer Hall, MacLean Hall, Jessup Hall. The Pentacrest forms the core of the central campus, and the buildings thereon contain classrooms, laboratories, and faculty and administrative offices. The Old Capitol is a state historical monument. 

37.3 Casual Use

Individual students and other persons may use the Pentacrest for any casual and reasonable use at all reasonable times. Casual users shall not unduly interfere with the use of the Pentacrest by authorized groups or unreasonably disturb or disrupt persons in adjacent buildings, and such users are expected not to damage or destroy any property, including the grass or shrubbery, or to cause any litter or other nuisance. Casual use means any spontaneous and unorganized use for which there is no prior promotion, solicitation, or purposeful attempt to attract or solicit the public in the course of such use. Casual users are not permitted to use any electronic sound amplification system or equipment. 

37.4 Use by Eligible Groups

Subject to these rules, all applicable University regulations, and to the requirements of the regular University program, recognized student organizations and other groups which are eligible to use University facilities, as provided by in V-35, may use the Pentacrest for public meetings, rallies, teach-ins, convocations, and other authorized events and activities. Requests for such use shall be submitted as hereafter provided. 

37.5 Applications

Eligible groups shall request use of the Pentacrest by submitting a completed application form, properly signed by an authorized representative of the group, to the Vice President for Student Life. Applications should be submitted a week in advance of intended use to provide time for all necessary arrangements. However, reasonable effort will be made to accommodate requests made at least one working day in advance of the scheduled event. There is no charge for the use of the Pentacrest unless special expenses or damages are incurred which shall be charged to the group at actual cost.

The Vice President for Student Life (herein after referred to as Vice President) shall grant timely and reasonable applications in the order received and shall deny any application which does not conform with University regulations, these rules or civil law. In determining the reasonableness of an application, the Vice President shall consider whether the intended use may have a negative impact on the regular University program and other scheduled events or activities in the areas. An applicant may be asked for data regarding the anticipated number of participants and spectators, the adequacy of arrangements for crowd control, parking, sanitary facilities, and provision for protection of the health, safety, and security of persons and property. The effect on normal pedestrian and vehicular traffic, the availability of alternative facilities, and any other relevant factors which might adversely affect the legitimate interests of the University may be considered by the Vice President. The Vice President will confer with Facilities Management, the Department of Public Safety, and other relevant departments as deemed necessary in making decisions concerning requests.

The Vice President may impose reasonable conditions on the use of the facilities, such as limiting the time or duration of use when necessary for orderly use. The Vice President may require an organization to make adequate security arrangements for traffic or crowd control. A deposit may be required in such reasonable amount as may be determined sufficient by the Vice President from non-University organizations to insure payment of any expenses incurred. All federal and state laws and city ordinances must be obeyed, and it is the responsibility of the group to obtain all applicable permits or licenses. The Vice President shall state the reason for the denial of any application, and in the case of a student organization, notify The University of Iowa Student Government. A decision denying an application may be appealed to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations. The Vice President may not deny an application for any reason that would deny students their rights of freedom of speech and assembly. 

37.6 Activities Approval

Where approval of the event or activity by a representative of the Office of the Vice President for Student Life is required by the Code of Student Life (see "Regulation of Student Organizations" in Policies and Regulations Affecting Students), written approval must be obtained prior to submitting application for use of the Pentacrest. Such applications will not be considered unless accompanied by the appropriate approval form signed by a representative of the Office of the Vice President for Student Life. 

37.7 Hours of Use

Casual use of the Pentacrest is normally permitted at any time, except as specifically prohibited or restricted. Scheduled use is normally restricted to the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (midnight on Friday and Saturday nights). Sound amplification, music, and other uses which might disturb persons in adjacent buildings is prohibited during normal working and class hours except between 12:20 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and after 4:20 p.m. daily. The Vice President for Student Life may temporarily restrict use of the Pentacrest to accommodate unforeseen requirements of the regular University program not anticipated by this policy. 

37.8 Camping

Camping on the Pentacrest is prohibited. 

37.9 Foreign Structures

No tent, hut, table, platform, vehicle, booth, kiosk, or similar object or structure shall be placed or erected on the Pentacrest except as expressly approved by the Vice President for Student Life in connection with an authorized group event or activity.

37.10 Signs and Banners

No sign, banner, slogan, symbol, display, or other similar device shall be painted, affixed, erected, or installed on the Pentacrest except as expressly approved by the Vice President for Student Life in unusual and compelling circumstances. This prohibition does not apply to the distribution of leaflets to individuals nor to the carrying of picket signs or placards by individuals. 

37.11 Classes

This policy does not affect the practice of conducting outdoor classes on the Pentacrest. If the class is to be conducted in the area immediately outside Old Capitol, the person in charge should make a reservation with the Vice President for Student Life. 

37.12 Policy for Old Capitol Flagstaff

  1. Requests for flags to be flown over Old Capitol. Three different flags may be flown from the Old Capitol flagstaff at The University of Iowa. These are the flag of the United States of America; the flag of the State of Iowa; and, on home football game days, the University of Iowa "Hawkeye" flag. The only exception to these limitations would be special flags flown as directed by proclamation from the President of the United States or the Governor of the State of Iowa.
  2. Requests to lower the American flag and the State of Iowa flag to half-staff. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of Iowa are to be lowered to half-staff exclusively on orders from the office of the President of the United States or the office of the Governor of the State of Iowa.