42.501: Decorations in University Buildings




May 7, 2011

Initiated by:

Joe Adams | Associate Vice President, Risk Management and Safety

Endorsed by:

Pam Benoit | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDaivs | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Overview

    This policy establishes the conditions for safe use of decorations in university buildings, including classroom, administrative, and residence buildings.

  2. Open flames and flame resistance

    All decoration materials used in any area must be flame resistant. It is best to use foil or crepe papers that are purchased as flame resistant. No candles or open flames are permitted in university buildings with the exception of candles and "sterno" food warmers to be used for special occasions in dining facilities under conditions approved by environmental health and safety. Candles and food warmers in dining rooms must not be left unattended by staff, and a fire extinguisher must be available and ready in the immediate vicinity. Environmental health and safety will not approve candles or open flames to be located where occupants stand, nor in an aisle or exit. Questions concerning any other type of decorations should be directed to the department of environmental health and safety.

    The use of live (or formerly living) trees or boughs is prohibited. They cannot be made safe with flame retardant materials. Artificial trees must be made of flame resistant materials.

  3. Lights and electrical devices

    Electric lights and other types of electrical devices are to be in good repair and safely installed and operated. All electrical devices must be UL approved.

  4. Residence halls

    1. Student room decorations

      Student room decorations will not include any additional electric lights, or additional electrical equipment, or cut (formerly live) greenery, but live houseplants are acceptable. This will eliminate such items as window wreaths and other lighted window decorations. If an individual residence hall has a proposal concerning window decorations for the entire hall, a plan should be submitted to the associate director of residential housing, who will forward it for approval by the director of environmental health and safety, prior to installing the decorations.

    2. Approved locations for decorations

      No decorations will be permitted in public areas of the residence halls other than in the lounge areas, dining rooms, individual room doors, and bulletin boards. Decorations on hallway bulletin boards may not extend beyond the perimeter of the board. This prohibits decorations in hallways other than on doors to individual rooms.

  5. Additional regulations for all buildings

    Light levels and colors for emergency egress, exits, and fire alarms shall not be reduced, nor shall those fixtures be covered or obscured.

    If there are questions, phone the department of environmental health and safety, at 593-1666.

  6. Methods of attaching decorations in residence halls

    Methods of attaching decorations are governed by one word - "damage." It is obvious that the results from a few nailings, thumbtackings, or the like, would soon call for repairs, so the policy is, "don't." Most adhesives will either pull off the wall paint or leave a sticky residue which is extremely hard to clean. Again the policy is "don't."

    Masking tape is the only adhesive permitted, and it may be used only on the following surfaces and only for a limited time:

    1. Glass - such as windows and mirrors. (Avoid potential warm surfaces, such as light bulbs even though you don't intend to turn them on.)

    2. Metal - which has no paint or enamel. The door knob, hinge plates on doors, and bare metal window dividers are permissible surfaces.

    3. Doors - it is permissible to use the top and bottom edges of doors. Do not run electric lines through sides of doors or where they can be pinched.

  7. Removal of decorations in residence halls

    It is the responsibility of all students to dismantle and remove all decorations from the residence halls before checking out of their rooms at the end of the academic year (or when vacating their room, such as a room change or withdrawal). All such materials must be disposed of properly. The residence hall and housekeeping staffs have the responsibility and authority to remove or take down any decorations that in any way violate this policy.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Vice President for Finance and Administration

  2. Director of Facilities Management

  3. Associate Director of Residential Housing

  4. Vice President of Student Affairs