Event Management Overview

With the spring semester under way, the University of Kansas continues to prioritize safety while striving to provide the campus experiences that make KU special. With this in mind, please read the information below to familiarize yourself with our event registration and approval process.

Registration and approval

First, we continue to require that all in-person events be registered through the Office of Event Management and Protocol via our event request form. For our purposes, an event includes any gathering that is not 1) an academic class within the university curriculum or 2) a school/department internal meeting for business purposes.

Proposed events of 45 or fewer individuals are automatically approved upon completion of the event request form. Once the form is completed, the event requestor is free to move forward with hosting the event and is responsible for implementing health and safety measures.

Proposed events of 45 or more individuals are not automatically approved when submitted. Instead, these proposals will be considered by the Office of Event Management and Protocol, in consultation with the campus Unified Command group, for a final decision.

To be eligible for approval, events of 45 or more must be deemed “mission-essential” – which we define as “critical to the academic and research mission of the university” – or have significant value to the entire university community. In particular, this may include events related to new student recruitment and existing student retention.

Some examples of mission-essential events of 45 or more include:

  • Student recruitment, orientation or welcome events
  • Counseling or advising events
  • Exams required for admission to a program or certification/licensure (e.g the LSAT or GRE).
  • Programs or services for vulnerable populations who cannot access remote delivery options
  • Events that contribute to essential community functions (e.g. a blood drive)

Examples of events of 45 or more that will not be considered mission-essential include:

  • Social events or parties
  • Career fairs, networking events, or receptions
  • Fairs, festivals, carnivals, or parades
  • Recognition events or awards ceremonies
  • Political rallies
  • Guest lectures

Online registration and approval of an event of any size does not guarantee room reservations or event services. Rather, it only means the proposed event has been registered and approved with Event Management and Protocol, and the requestor can move forward with securing event arrangements as needed.

Please note, due to the fluid nature of the pandemic, our willingness to approve events of 45 or more may fluctuate during the semester based the latest medical guidance.

Importantly, while the information above outlines the process by which in-person events of various types can happen, we still encourage event organizers to consider online alternatives to in-person events when possible. This is consistent with our university strategy to de-densify campus and facilitate social distancing.


As was the case last fall, tabling will be allowed on campus with new health and safety guidelines for the 2020-21 academic year. Consistent with our process in prior years, organizations choosing to table must be a registered student organization, academic unit or administrative unit of KU, and must register their tabling event in advance via our event request form.

Additional definitions and details

A university event is an event or mass gathering -- other than academic classes scheduled as part of the curriculum, or a school/department internal meeting for business purposes -- that is held in a university building or outdoor space on the university campus.

A university event must be sponsored by an officially recognized University of Kansas school, department and/or student organization and must keep with the university’s mission to educate leaders, build healthy communities and make discoveries that change the world.

Douglas County has limited the size of mass gatherings to no more than 45 individuals. This is why KU's registration and approval process distinguishes between events that are above or below 45 participants. Per the county, a mass gathering is defined as events, activities, lectures, exhibitions, tours, etc. in which indivdiauls are in one location and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals with only infrequent or incidental moments of close proximity.

All KU buildings have been reviewed by KU Campus Operations and have developed plans for total occupancy in classrooms, auditoriums, lobbies, conference rooms, and other venues. This includes the Kansas and Burge Unions, DeBruce Center, Danforth Chapel, Lied Center, and other event spaces on campus.

Non-universtiy groups and guests to the university will follow university guidelines.

Types of university events

Below are categories of university events that may appear in various university policies and procedures. (PLEASE NOTE:  Current Health & Safety guidelines superceed these general event definitions.)

  • Academic-Related Event:  An academic-related activity that is NOT included in the established curriculum of semester classes listed at KU (e.g., special guest lecture series, panel discussion)
  • Administrative Event:  An administrative event, including a daily, weekly or occasional gathering and/or meeting by an official department or student organization that would not be open to the public, (e.g., a department faculty meetings, gathering of department staff, a student organizationboard meeting). The focus of these meetings is generally to discuss department or group business and/or do administrative planning.  It may include professional training.  These gathering may also be social in nature (e.g., department luncheon, picnic, reception or holiday party).
  • Major University Event:  An event that is large in scope, usually with an expected attendance of 500 people or more.  Such events generally require coordination and review by several University departments and, organizations., (e.g., Event Management & Protocol, KU Public Safety, KU Parking & Transit, Campus Operations and/or Risk Management).
  • Campus Community Event:  An event open only to KU students, faculty and staff.  This may also qualify as a Major University Event, Invitation-only Event, Administrative Event or Academic-related Event.
  • Public Event:  An event open to KU students, faculty, staff, and members of the public.  A Public Event can also be considered an Academic-related Event and/or a Major University Event.
  • Invitation-only Event:  An event open only to invited guests (e.g., University donor or alumni events, administrative or special-program events.)


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