Safety and Appropriate Use of Facilities

To maintain a physically safe environment for all members of the University community, the number of people participating in a protest or demonstration must be considered and adhere to the occupancy limits of the protest or demonstration area. Walkways and entrances to and in buildings must always remain open to allow others safe access and egress as well as a clearly designated pathway through the area.

I. Policy Statement

The University of Chicago is committed to providing a safe and secure learning, working and living environment. Subject to the exceptions in Section III, the University prohibits the possession, use or storage of firearms, other lethal weapons, fireworks and other dangerous objects or materials, as well as any violation of any federal, state or municipal law involving weapons, by anyone: (i) on any property owned, leased or controlled by the University, including but not limited to all buildings, land, parking areas, campus walkways and common areas; (ii) in any vehicle, owned, leased or controlled by the University regardless of location; (iii) at any external, University-sponsored activities or events; and (iv) employed by the University when conducting University business anywhere. 

II. Definitions1

Firearm means any device, regardless of its name, that is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas or escape of gas; any imitation or replica firearm; and any firearm that has been rendered inoperative.

Other lethal weapons consist of instruments, material or devices that ordinarily could result in or are readily capable of causing serious bodily injury or death, including replicas of the same, and devices rendered permanently inoperable. These include but are not limited to ammunition, gunpowder, high explosives, BB guns, pellet guns, paint guns, stun guns, flare guns, blow guns, clubs, slingshots, blackjacks, swords, sabers, daggers, machetes, hatchets, crossbows, nunchucks, throwing stars, police batons, billy clubs and knives except those used as common eating utensils and personal use knives with folding blades four inches or less.2

Fireworks include but are not limited to firecrackers, rockets, roman candles, cherry bombs, toy cannons and toy guns in which explosive materials are used, fire balloons, or other incendiary devices.

Other dangerous objects or materials means any object or material designed to inflict injury or death, including items that pose a potential hazard to the safety or health of others, and unauthorized hazardous materials or chemicals.

III. Exceptions

1. Law Enforcement. This policy permits the possession, use and storage of firearms and other lethal weapons by sworn law enforcement personnel, authorized security officers and armed guards possessing, using and storing such devices as required by their job.

2. University Work. This policy permits lawful possession, use and storage of knives, other lethal weapons, and dangerous objects or materials within the scope of a person’s employment by the University or work as a University contractor. For example, this policy does not prohibit the authorized possession, use and storage of radioactive materials in connection with laboratory research, or knives and other lethal weapons in connection with food preparation or consumption, or saws or shearing devices by Facilities Services employees or contractors.

2a. Working Remotely. This policy does not apply when employees are working remotely and not conducting university business in person. This policy therefore permits University employees to make telephone calls and use email and other communications tools in connection with work, while off-site and in the possession of firearms, knives, other lethal weapons and dangerous objects or materials. For example, an employee may make a work-related telephone call while on vacation, at a campsite and in possession of a firearm, but the employee would not be permitted to participate in an in-person, work-related meeting on a hunting trip and while armed. “Working remotely” generally means working away from a customary or regular University worksite and at a location that is not University-owned or controlled.

3. Sponsored Programs. This policy permits the lawful possession, use and storage of other lethal weapons in connection with regularly scheduled and University-authorized educational, recreational or training programs, where the weapon is required for or is a central part of the curriculum or activity (e.g., the use of foils in fencing classes).

4. Ceremonies, Parades and Performances. This policy permits the lawful possession, use and storage of imitation firearms or lethal weapons by participants in any University-sponsored ceremony, parade or theatrical performance, provided that an academic appointee or staff employee has expressly agreed to supervise their use as part of their regular job responsibilities and advance written approval has been obtained from the University’s Chief of Police (or designee). NOTE: imitation firearms and lethal weapons should only be possessed, used and stored in settings where it is unlikely that their purpose would be misunderstood; also, easily identifiable toys, such as brightly colored or clear water guns, are excepted from this policy.

5. Parking Lots and Non-University Vehicles. This policy permits a person legally carrying a concealed firearm under Illinois law to park a non-University owned or controlled vehicle he or she is driving or in which he or she is a passenger in any University owned, leased or controlled occupied parking area or lot. Also, such a person may carry the concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding the vehicle within the parking lot, but only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving it from the trunk. This policy also permits a person legally possessing a firearm under Illinois law to park a non-University owned or controlled vehicle he or she is driving or in which he or she is a passenger in any University owned, leased or controlled parking area or lot only if the unloaded firearm and any associated ammunition are maintained, at all times, in a case within the locked vehicle or in a locked container out of plain view and within the vehicle. A “case” includes a glove compartment or console that completely encloses the firearm and ammunition, the trunk of the vehicle, or a firearm-carrying box, shipping box, or other container. The University retains the authority to designate certain University owned, leased or occupied parking areas or lots as restricted areas in which all vehicles containing firearms are prohibited. In those instances, the University will post signage indicating the prohibition.

6. At Home. Nothing in this policy prohibits a University employee who is conducting University business while at home (other than in University housing) from possessing or storing firearms, other lethal weapons, fireworks, and other dangerous objects or materials. Nothing in this policy prohibits possession of knives in University housing for common eating utensils and food preparation purposes.

7. Special Exceptions. In addition, the University’s Chief of Police (or designee) is authorized to grant additional exceptions either in connection with extraordinary emergency situations or in response to written requests and as follows. Written requests must be made at least 10 days in advance of the date on which possession, use or storage of the prohibited item is proposed. Using reasoned judgment, the Chief of Police will consider each request based on the circumstances associated with the request. The Chief of Police will issue their determination and any associated restrictions or conditions in writing.

8. Concealed Carry Permits. Nothing in this policy is designed to limit University employees, students or other affiliated persons from exercising their rights, off-campus, pursuant to a valid concealed carry permit, so long as they are not conducting University business in person or participating in a University-sponsored activity at the time.

IV. Violations and Reporting

Any student or group that violates this policy will be subject to discipline under the appropriate university disciplinary system. Contractors who violate this policy will be subject to contract termination. Staff employees, academic appointees, visiting academics, post-doctoral researchers, employees of affiliates and volunteers who violate this policy will be subject to discipline using the disciplinary processes applicable to each category. Employees of affiliates, volunteers, visitors or guests who violate this policy will be subject to the University’s Ban Policy. Discipline includes removal from the Housing System, suspension, expulsion, termination of employment or appointment, revocation of volunteer status, and a ban from accessing University property. In addition, because conduct that violates this policy may also constitute a crime, the University may refer any violation of this policy to law enforcement officials and thus persons who violate this policy may be arrested and prosecuted.

Any person with knowledge of a policy violation is expected to communicate promptly with the University of Chicago Police Department, the Office of the Dean of Students in the University, the Office of the Provost, or Human Resources. Reports also may be made using the University’s Concerning Behavior Reporting Form.

1 In assessing whether this policy has been violated, the University will use reasoned judgment and common sense. For example, many common objects and materials may be used or modified for use as a weapon, so in deciding whether such an object or material is a weapon under this policy, the University will consider, among other factors, the time, place and circumstances surrounding the use and possession of the common object or tool, including the explanation for its possession or use and whether it has been modified or altered to make it more effective as a weapon.

2 Many common objects and materials may be used or modified for use as a weapon. In deciding whether such an object or material is a weapon under this policy, the University will use reasoned judgment when considering, among other factors, the time, place and circumstances surrounding the use and possession of the common object or tool, including the explanation for its possession or use and whether it has been modified or altered to make it more effective as a weapon.

Revised May 20, 2019

This policy covers the smoking of all tobacco, nicotine and other products, and includes cigars, cigarettes, "smokeless" cigarettes and other such delivery systems.

In accordance with regulations promulgated by the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois, the University of Chicago is a smoke-free environment. Therefore smoking is prohibited in all buildings owned and operated by the University of Chicago, which includes dormitories.

Smoking is permitted outside a building but not within fifteen feet of the entrance. For residential properties owned by the University and managed by Facilities Services, smoking is allowed in private dwellings, but not the public areas of these buildings.

Bicycles should not be locked or secured to handrails, sign posts, lamp posts, trees, fences, or to any other location that obscures the free ingress/egress of any building, stairway or pathway. Bicycles found secured to any object other than the bicycle racks are subject to removal by Facilities Services. Impounded bicycles will be stored by Facilities Services for 10 days, during which time a bicycle can be reclaimed by calling 773-702-8181. After 10 days, the bicycle will be donated to charity.

The University encourages authorized campus visits by minors under the age of 18 (children) for participation in University classes, events and programs, making decisions about their academic future, and the authorized use of University facilities (e.g., Ratner Athletic Center for classes). Children who are not authorized participants in University classes, events and programs must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Children thus are not permitted on campus or in University buildings as an alternative to appropriate child care, when the child is too ill to attend school, or when the child needs a quiet study space, etc. Likewise, due to safety concerns, unsupervised children may not play on campus grounds, roam University buildings, or sit unaccompanied on campus or in University buildings.

The University’s full Policy on the Safety of Children in University Programs