Signage, University

Recommended By
University Affairs Division
Ruben Armiñana, President
Issue Date
Friday, November 3, 2000
Current Issue Date
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Effective Date
Friday, December 13, 2013
Contact Office
University Affairs
Policy number
  1. General Purpose and Intent
    A primary value of higher education is the open exchange of knowledge and information. Public signage, both permanent and temporary, is an important component of any institution that supports this value.
    1. The purpose of the Sonoma State University (SSU) signage policy is to:
      1. encourage sound signage practices to provide clear information to members of the campus community, as well as to visitors;
      2. promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the University;
      3. preserve and enhance the appearance of the University - its landscape features and buildings, including interior spaces - as a place to work, learn, live and visit;
      4. promote and maintain educationally viable activities for the benefit of the campus community;
      5. prevent excessive, confusing and incompatible signage;
      6. protect the public investment in buildings and open spaces on the campus;
      7. reduce potential hazards to pedestrians and motorists that may result from distracting or incorrect signage; and
      8. recognize that signage is an integral part of the marketing and public relations functions performed by a variety of University entities.
    2. The intent of the provisions contained in this policy is to provide standards and minimum requirements in order to evaluate and regulate signage constructed, installed, and displayed on University property. It is the further intent of this policy to set the overall parameters pertaining to University signage, whether permanent or temporary, and allow for implementation of the policy through procedures developed by specific entities.
  2. Authority
    1. This policy on University Signage applies to all University offices, programs and departments, auxiliaries, affiliates and related organizations and supersedes all preceding University policies pertaining to signs, posters and banners. These former policies are:
      1. the SSU policy on Banner Display, issued August 1987;
      2. the SSU policy on Bulletin Boards, issued January 1991;
      3. the SSU policy on Posting of Signs on Campus, originally issued September 1985 and revised and reissued on March 25, 1991; and
      4. the SSU policy on University Signage, originally issued on November 2000.
    2. Legal authority for the issuance of this policy on University Signage is established by:
      1. Section 89030 - 89035 of the Education Code of the State of California, which states, in part: 
"The trustees may establish rules and regulations for the governance and maintenance of the buildings and grounds of the California State University."
      2. Article 9 - Use of California State University Buildings and Grounds, of Title 5, of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), sections 42350-42355.
    3. The name Sonoma State University, the initials SSU, the University seal, logo, and other marks including the athletic marks are registered service marks with the Office of the Secretary of State, State of California. Usage of these service marks is protected by state law.
    4. Oversight of permanent University signage is the responsibility of the Campus Planning Committee (or its designee). Oversight of temporary University signage is the responsibility of the University Affairs Division (or its designee).
  3. Definitions
    1. "Sign" or "signage" means any identification, description, illustration or device which is visible from any public place or is exposed to the public, and which directs attention to a product, message, service, place, person, entity, institution, event, business use, or cause. 
Categories of signs or signage include:
      1. "Permanent signs" Any signs that are attached to buildings, structures, or landscape features; or freestanding monument signs, permanent plaques, or marquees
      2. "Temporary signs" Any emblem, symbol, logo, trademark, poster, banner, painting, flier, handbill, sticker, flag, pennant, awning, placard or other printed material displayed for a limited amount of time, which is designed to advertise, identify or convey information.
      3. "Fixed signs" Frames or enclosures for either temporary or permanent signage.
    2. Special sign terminology:
      1. "Directional signs" are signs erected for the convenience of the public, such as signs identifying restrooms, public telephones, walkways, and similar features or facilities.
      2. "Government signs" are signs, notices, emblems or other forms of identification erected or placed by authority of the University, which conform to state or federal laws or regulations, generally pertaining to health and safety. Traffic control signs are a common type of government sign.
      3. "Political signs" are temporary signs pertaining to elections or political campaigns. There are three types of political signs displayed on campus:
        1. Student election signs that are governed by the Sonoma State University Elections Code;
        2. Faculty election signs that are governed by the Constitution and By-Laws of the faculty of Sonoma State University; and
        3. Signs pertaining to national, state or local government elections that are governed by the laws and regulations of the respective jurisdictions.
      4. "A-Frames” are signs or sign holders used to display temporary directional signs or signs advertising information regarding University events or programs.
    3. "SSU symbols" refer to the words Sonoma State University, the letters SSU, the University seal and logo, the name or any visual representation of the University athletic mascot, along with all other proprietary, trademark, or other identifiers of the University, its programs, auxiliaries, and self-support operations.
  4. Permanent Signage 
    Any bulletin board or permanent sign erected on Sonoma State University property or installed, affixed or otherwise attached to any building, structure or landscape feature of the University must meet the sign design standards of the University as set by the Campus Planning Committee (CPC). This signage must be approved by the CPC and the president of the University (or their designee), and be installed by, or under the supervision of Facilities Management.
 Included under this provision are awning signs, commemorative plaques, fixed signs, flags, governmental signs, landmark signs, and banner boxes, as well as bulletin boards on the exterior or in the interior of any building. Parking and traffic signs shall conform to standards required by law and shall be installed by, or under the supervision of, Facilities Management.
  5. Temporary Signage
    1. Standards
      1. Attribution. The name and contact information of the sponsor (organization or person) must be clearly stated on all temporary signs.
      2. Any use of the SSU symbols must conform to the Identity Toolkit of the University.
    2. Approvals and Posting 
      The University Affairs Division has responsibility for oversight and posting of temporary banners, fliers, posters and other materials intended for bulletin boards and banner display boxes on campus and may grant exceptions to this policy for unique situations. (There are 100+ general, non-departmental, bulletin board or display boxes.)
      1. General Campus Posting
        1. Campus groups have a choice of hanging materials themselves or submitting them to the University Affairs Division (via a Student Center 1st floor drop-off location) for hanging by the University Posting Crew. Up to 40 copies will be accepted. Exception to self-posting and Posting Crew hanging is in the residential community which is responsible for approving and hanging within those areas. (Materials should be dropped off at the Residential Life Office in Zinfandel Hall.)
        2. Off campus groups may submit up to 25 pieces for the Posting Crew (via the Student Center 1st floor drop-off location). No self-posting is allowed. Off campus groups may not make use of banner display boxes.
        3. The day and/or time of postings will be determined by the Post Crew’s schedule but will generally be one day per week.
        4. The Posting Crew will remove materials that have passed their event date or, if not an event poster, every 2 weeks. Exceptions may be made, as space allows, for campus-sponsored semester-long events.
        5. Guidelines for Campus Bulletin Board Postings:
          1. Only one poster or flier per board
          2. No posting on departmental boards (which are clearly marked)
          3. Posters, fliers, etc. must be hung with push pins
          4. One posting may not cover another
          5. Only the Posting Crew may remove another’s flier, etc.
          6. Posters, fliers, etc. may NOT be adhered to poles, windows, doors, in stairwells, restrooms or on hallway walls.
          7. For semester-long events, their notices will be kept on the bulletin boards for a longer period of time, dependent upon space.
      2. Center for Student Leadership, Involvement and Service (CSLIS)
        The Center for Student Leadership, Involvement and Service (CSLIS) shall inform all student clubs and students participating in student elections of the University’s policies and procedures regarding signage. All signage related to student elections shall conform to the standards outlined in this policy and to all relevant campus signage procedures.
        1. Chalking Rules. Chalking by SSU students and employees to promote an activity or express an opinion is allowed, but only in certain areas and with specific limitations. Prior approval of chalking is required from the Center for Student Leadership Involvement & Service (CSLIS) Office. Chalking is only allowed following these general guidelines:
          1. Complete an “Intent to Chalk” form in the Center for Student Leadership, Involvement and Service (CSLIS) a minimum of 2 days prior to chalking.
          2. Markings may stay on the sidewalk a maximum of one week.
          3. Any chalking related to a campus event must be removed within 24 hours of the event.
          4. The chalk used must be easily removable, and is usually labeled “sidewalk chalk.” The University does not provide chalk for the purposes of this policy.
          5. The allowable sidewalk space for chalking is limited to:
            1. Sidewalk areas between the International Hall, Commons, Salazar Hall, Stevenson and in University Plaza.
            2. Sidewalk/ground space only. No vertical surfaces (walls, pillar, steps, etc.)
            3. Chalk must be at least 2 feet from any grass, trees or plants.
            4. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary or legal action.
      3. Residential Community 
        The Office of Residential Life has authority to approve the form, content and appearance of all banners, fliers and posters before posting within the residential community.
      4. Conference and Event Services has authority to approve the content, type and site locations of all signage, including A-Frame boards for location and traffic information purposes, relating to registered events. This authority also includes approval of all temporary signage pertaining to athletic events or programs by non-University organizations. 
Facilities Management shall be responsible for placement and collection of associated signage. Organizations responsible for the event publicity shall be charged for these services.
      5. Athletics Facilities 
        The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics (or designee) has authority for approval of all temporary signage pertaining to Sonoma State University athletic events or programs that may be erected on or adjacent to athletic buildings, structures and facilities. The locations of approved temporary signs shall be designated by the Vice President for University Affairs. All permanent signs and long-term temporary signs (as defined in III. A) pertaining to SSU athletic events or programs must be approved by the Campus Planning Committee or its designee.
      6. Department and Office Posting
        1. Academic and administrative department bulletin boards (usually located outside departmental offices) are maintained by each department.
        2. Small bulletin boards, located outside the offices of many individual faculty and other employees, are maintained by office occupants.
        3. Materials, other than those posted by the department or the office occupant for their own purposes, may be posted only with the approval of the department or office occupant.
        4. The locations of the departmental boards and the boards outside individual offices must be approved by the Vice President for University Affairs and installed by Facilities Management.
        5. Employee Union Bulletin Boards
      7. Postings on designated union bulletin boards by recognized campus labor unions is governed by (or addressed in) the unions’ respective collective bargaining agreements.
    3. A-Frame Signage
      In an effort to increase the publicity opportunities for student groups, the Associated Students (AS) oversees the use of student-created A-Frame or similar style signage at designated locations on campus. This type of signage provides an artistic and effective way of expressing the vision and mission of student organizations. The Associated Students is responsible for developing a campus-approved practice in regard to type, location, duration, etc.
      1. The Center for Student Leadership Involvement & Service, the Student Center, SSU Enterprises and/or Conference and Event Services shall be responsible for placement and collection of "A-Frame" signage associated with their activities in the immediate vicinity of buildings where their activities are held.
    4. Long-term Temporary Signs 
      Long-term temporary signs in exterior locations, such as signs for University construction projects, seasonal athletic events or programs, or other purposes that require display for periods of time longer than 15 weeks, must be approved by the Campus Planning Committee or its designee, in accordance with the provisions of this policy on permanent signage.
  6. Commercial Advertising
    1. Permanent Advertising Signage 
      All permanent signage pertaining to commercial solicitation or sales by an external vendor must be approved by the Campus Planning Committee or its designees.
    2. Temporary Advertising Signs. 
      All temporary signage pertaining to commercial solicitation or sales by an external vendor must be approved by the Vice President for University Affairs or designee.
  7. Limitations and Enforcement 
    Except as otherwise provided in this policy, Sonoma State University prohibits any person to erect, attach, alter, locate, or relocate any signage, as defined above, within the confines of University property, or to utilize wordage, symbols or other visual devices on signage erected or located off campus, the purpose of which is to associate or advertise an event, activity or business with the University, without first obtaining authorization from the University Affairs Division. Student elections signage adheres to the elections policy which allows for greater freedom during these periods.
    1. Prohibited Signage
      1. Signage on University property: Tacking, posting, painting, marking, writing, gluing, taping or otherwise affixing signage (including but not limited to posters, fliers, stickers and handbills) to any walls, doors, windows, trees, lawns, poles, or any other structures, or on any roads or walkways on University property, without the prior authorization of the University, is prohibited.
      2. Signs on Vehicles: Placement of written or printed material on motor vehicles is prohibited at all times.
      3. Signs exhibiting SSU symbols: It is prohibited to display signage, whether located on- or off-campus, exhibiting SSU symbols or the Sonoma State University name without the consent and approval of Sonoma State University, through the University Affairs Division.
      4. Signs that, in the judgment of the University, are threatening to public safety, obscene (as defined by law), hazardous to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or imitative of official government signs or copyrighted signs, logos or marks, are prohibited.
    2. Political Signs advocating a political issue or a candidate for a public political office are allowed on state property, but the signs cannot be funded with public funds.
  8. Maintenance of Signage
    All signs should be maintained in good structural condition at all times. All painted signs shall be kept neatly painted, including all metal parts and supports. Facilities Management shall inspect and have the authority to repair, alter or remove signs which become dilapidated or are abandoned, or which constitute a physical hazard to public safety.
    1. Removal of Signs
      Any signage that pertains to a time, event, or purpose that no longer applies shall be presumed to have been abandoned. The University Affairs Division or its designees, as listed below in this section, may arrange for the removal of any abandoned or prohibited signs on University property.
      1. The Posting Crew shall have the responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage on general bulletin boards.
      2. Residential Life shall have responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage posted in the residential community.
      3. Departments shall have responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage on departmental bulletin boards.
      4. Conference and Event Services shall have responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage pertaining to conferences and special events.
      5. Athletics shall have responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage pertaining to athletic events or programs sponsored by the University.
      6. Facilities Management shall have responsibility for removal of all other dilapidated, abandoned or prohibited signage.
  9. Signage Fees
    The University Affairs Division with its designees shall set fees to cover the administrative costs of sign review, installation, storage, damage and removal.

Updated December 18, 2013 by