5,440: University Sound Policy
Revised: October 2013
The University of Nevada, Reno's primary mission is to serve as an academic institution. The production of sound, either amplified or non-amplified, in conjunction with an outdoor event or speech activity should not disrupt educational activities and other university business. Outdoor events which use amplified sound equipment are prohibited on the university campus, except under guidelines, procedures, and policies specified in this section of the UAM.
Music, speakers, fairs, festivals, celebrations and other activities serve to contribute to the quality of campus life. However, the use of amplified sound must not disrupt the central academic mission of the University. Outside of regular business hours, or special events approved by Intercollegiate Athletics or the Office of the President, amplified sound should not substantially disrupt university residential areas and the surrounding city neighborhoods.
Public Forum use must follow all the guidelines in the Administrative Manual section 5,303.
The purpose of this policy is to establish standards for the control of noise pollution within the campus to reduce the making and creation of excessive, unnecessary, or unusually loud noises and to secure, protect, and promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the university community.
Time, Place and Manner
Intercollegiate Athletics Events and Lawlor Events Center programming shall be excluded from this policy. These events are automatically monitored for sound level and appropriate measures taken if necessary. OSHA regulations cover all those events for all employees' protection.
Sound amplification equipment is prohibited outdoors on the university campus, except in the locations and times listed below.
Regular business hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for spring and fall semesters. During regular business hours, amplified sound is prohibited in all areas south of the Fitzgerald Student Services Building except for the Manzanita Bowl. Barnes Plaza and Hilliard Plaza may have approved amplified sound between Noon and 1:00 p.m.
Outdoor locations where amplified sound may be approved during regular hours of operation include but are not limited to: the Manzanita Bowl, the Knowledge Center Lawn, the Grand Plaza, Joe's patio, parking areas north of the Student Union, Intramural Fields, and Mackay Stadium. Events with amplified sound in outdoor areas immediately adjacent to residence halls must also be approved by Residential Life and Housing.
During the Final Class Meeting Week, when final examinations are held, no events involving amplified sound will be scheduled from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. No exceptions will be granted during this period, which starts on the first day of finals and runs through the last day of scheduled finals.
Approved events may have amplified sound if the following conditions are met:
- The event will not interfere with a previously scheduled event.
- During regular business hours, noise levels will not exceed 50 dBA (decibels) during academic terms inside any campus building or 110 dBA on the weekends, measured 50 feet from the speakers/sound amplifying equipment.
- Table spaces can only have amplified sound to enhance their space. The sound level should not go above 65 dBA three feet from the source of the sound.
- The level of sound measured at 50 feet from the source will not average more than 95 decibels (dBA) with sounds peaks no more than 100 dBAs.
- The sound level does not measure more than 75 dBA at the perimeter of campus.
- The event cannot start before 8 a.m. on any day and must conclude by 10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and midnight Thursday-Saturday.
- Campus officials including, advisors, event organizers, and campus police can ask for the sound level to be lowered at any time regardless if the requirements are being met. No outdoor events with amplified sound will be scheduled between the hours of midnight and 7:00 a.m.
Monitoring and Compliance
The responsible person or event planner must use an appropriate sound measuring device, as determined by the Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) staff, for compliance during the event and to enable the University to respond to complaints immediately. To ensure consistency, EH&S staff will calibrate all sound meters used for outdoor events. EH&S may work with other departments to loan out sound meters.
The responsible person or event planner must be available throughout the event to ensure compliance with this policy. If at any time the amplified sound exceeds the limits stipulated in this policy or reasonable conditions, the responsible person or event planner will be asked to reduce the volume. If the sound level exceeds 100 dBA for 60 seconds when measured at 50 feet, a warning will be given to lower the volume.
University officials have the right to require amplification systems to be turned down, or off entirely, if it is determined the sound level is too high or inappropriate. Failure to respond immediately may result in the cancelation of the event and /or the shutdown of the power source for the sound equipment. Event sponsors are hereby advised that this process may damage their equipment. University officials or the responsible person may immediately cancel the event if necessary. (For the purposes of this policy, university officials include but are not limited to UNR Police, Student Services staff, ASUN or GAS staff, Student Event Advisory Board (SEAB) staff, activity advisors, building staff, Facilities Services staff, and Scheduling Office staff.)
On weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., complaints regarding outdoor amplified sound should be directed to the Student Life Services office if student groups are involved and to the Vice President of Administration and Finance office if student groups are not involved. After hours, complaints should be directed to the University Police.
Student Life Services or the Vice President for Administration and Finance office, as appropriate, will respond to the complaint by verifying that the amplified sound complies with this policy. A responsible person or event planner must be available throughout the event to respond to requests from university officials should complaints be received about sound amplification.
When a valid noise complaint is received, Student Life Services or the Vice President for Administration and Finance office, as appropriate, will follow up with the responsible groups and individuals for appropriate action.
In rare cases organizations may request an exception to policy. Undergraduate student organization requests for exceptions may be submitted for consideration with a reservation request for use of outdoor space through the SEAB. The SEAB will review the exception request. If approved, the SEAB will submit the justification for the exception to the Associate Vice President for Student Life Services for final approval. Graduate student organization requests for exceptions must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School. Non-student group requests for exceptions may be submitted for consideration with a reservation request for use of outdoor space through the Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance.
All requests for exceptions must be submitted at least 30 calendar days in advance.
The type of sound requested, the time of the event and the proximity of the location to classrooms, outdoor instructional area, and residence halls will be taken into consideration before any exception is granted. Exceptions are not simply granted upon request.