Guidelines for the Media

As a public institution, Western Carolina University will grant reasonable access to facilities and space on its campus to members of the news media. The university also has an obligation to ensure that students, faculty and staff are able to conduct their educational, research and related functions; protect the health and safety of the campus community and visitors; and safeguard the privacy of students and others as required by applicable state and/or federal regulations. Thus, the university must reserve the right to regulate media access to campus when necessary. The Office of Communications and Public Relations, after review and approval by the university Legal Counsel, has adopted these guidelines regarding news media access to campus facilities and space.

The term “media” shall include any individual or group conducting interviews, making audio or video recordings, or capturing photographic images for the purpose of dissemination to the public via commercial or noncommercial media and information outlets, including those of a digital or electronic nature.

In specific situations, decisions about access to campus property may be made by representatives of the University Police Department, the Office of Communications and Public Relations or other senior-level university administrators as appropriate.

Some general guidelines include:

  • Vehicles must be parked in legal, marked spaces. Parking arrangements may be made and media parking permits obtained through the Office of Communications and Public Relations or, for coverage of intercollegiate sporting events, the Department of Athletics.
  • Equipment must not damage university-owned property.
  • Equipment, vehicles and personnel must not restrict the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic nor impede access to buildings or portions of buildings, and may not block fire lanes or loading zones.
  • Equipment or vehicles are not permitted in parking spaces designated for handicapped access or service vehicles, or those spaces marked as “reserved.”
  • Depending upon the situation, additional restrictions may be placed on equipment including television cameras, still cameras, lighting (including flashes) and audio equipment in order to minimize disruption to campus events and activities or to address safety or security concerns. In instances where security is an issue, equipment may be subject to inspection.
  • Media interested in interviews, photographs, video or audio involving student-athletes or coaches and administrators of the university’s intercollegiate athletics program should make arrangements through the Department of Athletics.

Members of the news media are generally allowed access to the following campus venues and spaces, subject to the general guidelines above:

  • In any building or portion of a building which is open to the public, during public hours.
  • Inside any event to which admission is free and open to the public (such as lectures and forums) or to which the individual is a paying ticketholder or has arranged press credentials in advance of the event. However, restrictions may be placed on use and location of cameras, lights, flashes and other equipment in order to minimize disruption of the event. Advance notice or media credentials may be required in some instances. In addition, some performers place restrictions on photography and videography, and it is advised that members of the news media contact the Office of Communications and Public Relation in advance.
  • In public, outdoor areas of campus including the University Center lawn, the Central Plaza and intramural fields.
  • In public parking areas, as long as vehicles are parked legally and the flow of traffic is not impeded. Temporary media relations parking passes are available for members of the media who are on campus to cover university events. Contact Bill Studenc, director of communications and public relations, at bstudenc@wcu.edu or 828-227-3083.

Media are not allowed in the following locations without express permission from the Office of Communications and Public Relations, which may require the media visitor be accompanied by a university representative:

  • Clinical areas where patients are being treated, including Student Health Services in Bird Building; the clinics and waiting space of the Health and Human Sciences Building; and sports medicine and training areas of the Department of Athletics.
  • Residential areas including the interior of any residence hall controlled by the university. This includes common areas of residential facilities such as lounges, dining halls and community centers. Access also may be restricted to courtyards, sidewalks, patios, adjacent parking lots and other spaces immediately adjacent to private residences where necessary to reasonably protect residents from unwarranted intrusion. Individual residents who wish to invite members of the news media into shared residential space, such as to their room within a residence hall, must provide advance notification to appropriate staff in the Office of Residential Living.
  • Dining facilities, including Courtyard Dining Hall, the University Center Food Court and Brown Hall.
  • Inside the personal offices or research laboratories/facilities of faculty, staff, administrators and student employees.
  • Inside a classroom when class is in session; permission of the instructor must be obtained.
  • Inside libraries, museums or other areas where quiet study is enforced or where collections might be endangered by media activity or equipment.
  • Inside private functions that are not open to the public, such as dinners, receptions, etc.
  • Inside any university facilities where the general public is not permitted, such as the Steam Plant, telecommunications facilities, and maintenance and repair facilities.
  • Any location on campus, indoor or outdoor, that has been labeled by University Police as a crime scene or is deemed to be hazardous or unsafe. Such locations should be marked and secured by appropriate safety personnel.

Members of the news media who require access to WCU’s wireless network will need to request a guest account providing time-limited access. Requests should be made to the Office of Communications for assistance in setting up a guest account as soon as possible prior to the media visit.

Those outside of the news media who wish to record video or audio on campus material for commercial, non-news use such as film or television production, advertising, and sale of products, should contact the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

WCU students who wish to shoot video on campus for projects as part of the university’s Film and Television Productions Program and Communication Program’s broadcasting concentration should provide advance notification to the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Students, faculty and staff who wish to capture video on campus should be familiar with University Policy 122.

Anyone wishing to utilize drones (unmanned aircraft) should review and comply with University Policy 124.

These guidelines and restrictions are not intended to be all-encompassing, and additional guidelines may be established as necessary based upon the general principles outlined above.

- Adopted Jan. 17, 2017

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