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University Signage

Recommended By: University Affairs
Ruben Armiñana, President
Date of Original Issue: November 3, 2000
Effective Date: November 3, 2000
Contact Office: University Affairs

Policy #2000-7

  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, 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; and
      3. the SSU policy on Posting of Signs on Campus, originally issued September 24, 1985 and revised and reissued on March 25, 1991.
    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 government 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 through 42355.
    3. The name Sonoma State University, the initials SSU, the university seal, and the athletic mascot 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. They cannot be used for profit without the permission of the university.
    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 Office (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. " Temporary signs:" Any emblem, symbol, logo, trademark, poster, banner, painting, flyer, 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.
      2. "Permanent signs:" Any signs that are attached to buildings, structures, or landscape features; or freestanding monument signs, permanent plaques, or marquees.
      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 signs.
      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. "Sandwich boards" are A-frame sign holders used to display temporary directional signs or signs advertising or information the public of university events or programs.
    3. "SSU symbols" refer to the words Sonoma State University, the letters SSU, the university seal, 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 designees), and be installed by, or under the supervision of, Facilities Services.
    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 Services.
  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 graphic standards of the university. (See Graphic Standards Guidebook.)
    2. Posting
      The University Affairs Office has delegated responsibility for approval of temporary banners, flyers and posters on bulletin boards to the Student Union, the Office of Campus Life, the Office of Residential Life, the Office of Conferences, Events and Catering, and the Department of Athletics for locations within their jurisdiction.
      1. General Campus Posting.
        The Student Union has authority to approve the form, content and appearance of all temporary signage prior to its distribution on general purpose bulletin boards and in banner display boxes. The Student Union, through its posting crew, shall have sole responsibility for the installation and removal of all temporary signage on general purpose bulletin boards and in banner display boxes.
      2. Campus Life
        The Office of Campus Life shall inform all student clubs and students participating in student elections of the university 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 on campus 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 Office of Campus Life.
      3. Residential Community.
        The Office of Residential Life has authority to approve the form, content and appearance of all banners, flyers and posters before posting within the residential community.
      4. Conferences, Events and Catering.
        The Office of Conferences, Events and Catering has authority to approve the content, type and site locations of all signage, including sandwich 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 Services, through the work order system for event services, 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 Athletics 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 for approved temporary signs shall be designated by the University Affairs Office. All permanent signs and long-term temporary signs (as defined in V.E.) pertaining to SSU athletic events or programs must be approved by the Campus Planning Committee or its designee.
    3. 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 the occupants of those offices.
      3. Posting approval. 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 University Affairs Office and installed by Facilities Services.
    4. Sandwich Boards.
      The Office of Campus Life, the Student Union, and SSU Enterprises (in addition to the Office of Conferences, Events and Catering referenced in IV. B.4.) shall be responsible for placement and collection of "sandwich board" signage associated with their activities in the immediate vicinity of buildings where their activities are held.
    5. 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 University Affairs Office or its 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, through the University Affairs Office.
    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, flyers, stickers and handbills) to any walls, doors, windows, trees, 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, other than by the owners or users of the vehicles, is prohibited.
      3. Signs exhibiting SSU symbols: It is prohibited to display signage, whether located on- or off-campus, exhibiting SSU symbols without the consent and approval of Sonoma State University, through the University Affairs Office.
      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
      Signs advocating a partisan political issue or a candidate for a public political office are allowed on state property, but the signs cannot be funded by state resources.
    3. Maintenance of signs
      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 Services 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 the public safety.
    4. 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 Office or its designees, as listed below in this section, may remove or cause the removal of any abandoned or prohibited signs on university property.
      1. The Student Union posting crew shall have the responsibility for removal of all abandoned or prohibited signage on general purpose 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. The Office of Conferences and Events 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 Services shall have responsibility for removal of all other abandoned or prohibited signage.
    5. Sign Fees
      The University Affairs Office and its designees shall set fees to cover the administrative costs of sign review, installation, storage and removal.

Updated November 9, 2000 by