Message to Columbus students on event, gathering and demonstration reminders

November 29, 2023

Dear Ohio State students,  

Over the past weeks there has been an increase in student events, gatherings and demonstrations on campus and in the broader community. I want to unequivocally re-affirm Ohio State’s commitment to free speech and freedom of expression. This is a First Amendment right, and upholding this right is our responsibility as an institution of higher education and a part of our fabric as a public university.  

At the same time, it is also our role to facilitate the exercising of these rights within the relevant university policies, rules and guidelines. These parameters are meant to be helpful and ensure that responsibilities, expectations and regulations are clear. If you are planning or attending an event or activity on campus, I encourage you to carefully review and consider the guidance below:  

  • The university’s Campus Free Speech policy underscores the university’s commitment to upholding First Amendment rights and our student’s fundamental right to free speech.  

  • The university’s Space Rules provide guidance on how space can be reserved and expectations for the utilization of space on campus. For gatherings of 100 or more people or where a group expects sole usage of a space, reservations are required. Student organizations should utilize the Buckeye Event Network to make reservations for outdoor spaces. 

  • The University Signage Standards outline the guidelines for posting advertisements, which are limited to designated spaces—open posting boards (inside) and kiosks (outside). In addition, buildings with posting boards may have their own guidelines for usage, so you should always check with the building manager before posting. The standards document also covers rules on chalking and other forms of temporary signage. 

  • Additional information and guidance can be found on the university’s Freedom of Expression website.  

As always, the university’s Code of Student Conduct and the university’s policies, including but not limited to the Non-Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy, apply to student behavior.  

As a member of our university community, it is expected that you will do research, ask questions and seek clarity about rules and regulations governing individual and group use of space, freedom of expression and all that it means to be a student at this institution. Thank you very much for taking the time to review this information, and please let me know if you have questions or need additional information.  


 Melissa S. Shivers, PhD   
Senior Vice President for Student Life    
The Ohio State University