Event Management Overview

Public Health Order Update - 11/20/20

Douglas County has updated the county's current local public health order to take effect Friday, November 20 to reduce the mass gathering limit from 15 people to 10 people.  Mass gatherings are defined as instances in which individuals are in one location and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals - not including individuals who reside together - with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

PLEASE NOTE:  The "mass gathering" limit will be posted here as changes are made by Douglas County.  Reference to mass gathering limits will be marked as (XX) in the instructions/text.

The University of Kansas continues to prioritize safety while also providing the enriching experiences that make KU special. With this in mind, the Lawrence campus will implement a new event review and registration process for the 2020-2021 academic year. This process will enable the university to host in-person events and activities in a way that aligns with our Protect KU plan and county guidelines pertaining to the size of mass gatherings.

The key elements of the process are as follows:

All in-person events must be registered through the Office of Event Management and Protocol via our event request form. Virtual events DO NOT need to be registered. 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 (XX) or fewer individuals are automatically approved upon completion of the event request form. At that point, the Event Organizer is free to move forward with hosting the event and is responsible for implementing necessary health and safety measures.

Proposed events of (XX) or more are not automatically approved when submitted. Event Management and Protocol will review and if necessary, forward the request to the Public Health Planning Committee (PHP) for final decision.  Event registrations are reviewed daily.  Depending on the size and scope of the event registration, the Event Organizer will be contacted to proceed or if additional information is needed.  Mission essential events are defined as “critical to the academic and research mission of the university and/or the student experience.  

Examples of mission-essential events of (XX) or more include:

  • Exams required for admission to a program or school, or certification/licensure with a board, professional organization, or government agency (e.g. the LSAT or GRE)
  • Assistance programs or services for vulnerable or special needs populations who cannot otherwise access online or remote delivery options of critical activities
  • Events that contribute to essential community functions – e.g. a blood drive or pandemic response
  • Events that contribute to the student experience - SUA Tea at Three, drive-in movies, new student campus visits.

Examples of events that will NOT be considered mission-essential include:

  • Social events or parties 
  • Career fairs, networking events, or receptions 
  • Fairs, festivals, carnivals, or parades 
  • Graduation and/or recognition events 
  • Political rallies or guest lectures
  • Events, programs, camps conducted by Schools, Departments and/or Student Organizations that will bring minors on to campus, i.e. 18 and below.
  • Events, conferences, workshops, etc. conducted by Schools, Departments and/or Student Organizations that will bring non-university guests to campus

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

Due to the fluid nature of the pandemic, the Public Health Planning Committee’s willingness to approve events of (XX) or more may fluctuate based on evolving circumstances and 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 whenever possible. This is consistent with our university strategy to de-densify campus and facilitate social distancing.

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 (XX) individuals. This is why KU's registration and approval process distinguishes between events that are above or below (XX) 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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