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Division of Business and Finance

East Tennessee State University

FP-38 Exterior Temporary Signage Policy


I. Introduction
II. Definitions
III. Procedures
IV. Requirements
V. Signage Content
VI. Enforcement

I. Introduction

The intent of this policy is to provide guidance and an approval mechanism for the use of temporary signage on campus and to aid the university in maintaining an uncluttered and attractive campus. 

The policies described here have been developed with the following objectives in mind: 

  1. Campus beautification This policy designates university staff to remove signage that is out-of-date, and limits the length of time that signs are posted in order to reduce clutter and litter on campus.
  2. Protection of Grounds this policy is intended to reduce harm to University grounds (sprinkler systems, landscaping, etc.) and/or create a mechanism for holding groups accountable if destruction results from their posting of temporary signs.
  3. Personnel Safety This policy is intended to remove safety hazards created by temporary signage in areas where lawn equipment or maintenance vehicles need access.
  4. Clarification of Access This policy defines the process and procedures for posting temporary ground and exterior campus signage.

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II. Definitions: 

For purposes of this policy, temporary signage shall include all exterior grounds or building signs that are not permanently mounted, including: portable signs, banners, flags not attached to a mounted pole, placards, display boards, or other device deemed by the University Center to be classified as a temporary sign 

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III. Procedures: 

Parties who desire to install exterior temporary signage on campus should submit a request to the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) using the Request Form. The form can be found at this link This form includes pertinent information, including the size, material, location(s), duration, and text of the signage being requested. The SORC staff will review the submittal, coordinate with appropriate groups on campus, render a decision on the request, and notify the requester of the final decision. Approved signs will be stamped by SORC staff to display the date of approval. 

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IV. Requirements: 

Approved temporary signage installations may remain in place until the event has occurred or the end of the thirty (30) day period during which they are approved whichever is sooner. The party who requested approval will be responsible for completely removing the signage and restoring the surface where the sign was mounted to its original condition.

It is the responsibility of the organization, department or office sponsoring the signs to ensure that ETSU property/grounds are not damaged through the process of installing or posting signs. Sponsoring groups may be charged for the cost for repairing any damages caused by signs. The Facilities Management Department or SORC Staff reserves the right to remove temporary signs that are not in approved areas or obstruct routine maintenance of campus grounds, are damaged, or out of date. Groups that fail to remove signage after the event or at the end of the 30 days or any of these regulations may result in prohibition from posting temporary signs in the future or referral for review and appropriate action by the Office of Student Affairs. 

Appropriate placement locations 

  • Landscaped and mulched areas only lawn (grass covered) surfaces are not included
  • Gravel or stone covered areas
  • Approved exterior surfaces where banner support locations have been placed (available for some campus buildings) 

Temporary signage may not be affixed to or placed in the following locations: 

  • Lawn surfaces where mowing may take place
  • The outside of buildings (walls, doors, windows, roofs, or steps) or interior doors, windows, walls, floors, or ceilings.
  • Trees, poles, traffic signs, building signs, trashcans, fire hydrants, fences, or hillsides.
  • Obstructing the entrances or exits of buildings, blocking fire hydrants or in the line of vision to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • On vehicles in campus parking lots. 

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V. Signage Content: 

The content should be related to campus services, projects, activities, and events.

Messages on the signs must be written in and/or have a translation in the English Language, and must adhere to the ETSU Student Code of Conduct. 

Charitable community, non-profit organizations may submit requests for approval. 

Content cannot include: 

  • Commercial advertising of any type
  • Political Campaign material
  • Signage must not: (a) have illegal aims and goals; (2) propose activities, which would violate regulations of the Board of the institution or school, or federal or state laws and regulations, or materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the institution or school; or (c) advocate incitement of imminent lawless action, which is likely to produce such action. Furthermore, public displays which an average person applying contemporary community standards would find, (1) taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (2) depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and (3) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value are prohibited. 

Consideration should be given in selecting font size to ensure the content can be read from a reasonable distance. 

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VI. Enforcement: 

Signs placed in compliance with these guidelines cannot be removed or relocated without prior permission from the sponsoring organization unless done so by University personnel. 

Failure to follow these guidelines may result in possible removal of the sign(s), and loss of future privileges to post signage and referral to the Office of Student Affairs for review.  The University may dispose of, without notice, any signs that do not comply with University policies and regulations. 

Sponsoring groups who believe their signs have been removed in error may make appeal to the SORC staff and/or the Dean of Students for resolution. 

This policy conforms to TBR Policy No. 1:03:02:10, TBR Policy No. 1:03:02:50, TBR Guideline B-026 TBR Policy 3:01:01:00, Organizations and Policy 3:02:00:01 General regulations on Student Conduct. 

Original effective date: August 11, 2015 

Date of latest revision: August 11, 2015
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