Sign Policy

Sign Policy, July 2016 

Students, student organizations, faculty, staff and departments commonly post signs in designated locations as a means of informing the University community of events which they are sponsoring. Outside groups or organizations also post signs when utilizing the University’s designated “free speech” zones. The University allows these practices within regulations designed to reasonably govern the time, place and manner for the protection of the students, University property and the appearance of its campuses. All signs must include the name of the sponsoring student organization, department, group or person. Official signage of The University of Southern Mississippi, building designations, regulatory and traffic control, directional signage, etc., are not governed by this policy. The locations listed below are the only locations where non-official signage may be posted.


1. Signs that are deemed to be outside the scope of First Amendment protection may be removed. That includes signs containing obscenity and speech inciting individuals to unlawful activities. State and federal constitutional decisions will be used as guidelines for determining speech which is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2. No Student organization, University department or any other group or organization may display signs, printed advertisement materials or wearables on campus that advertise alcoholic beverage companies or alcohol consumption.


1.  Responsibility for assigning building and property liaisons lies with the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Building liaisons may make the decision as to the removal of inside signs and signs posted outside the building’s surrounding areas. If in doubt whether an outside sign should be removed, the following should be contacted:

•Director of Physical Plant – individual safety or property damage

•Office of the Dean of Students – content

•Gulf Park: Director of Student Affairs - content

When there is a doubt as to whether a sign should be removed because of the content, the decision will be made by a committee consisting of two faculty members who have an awareness of First Amendment law appointed by the Dean of Students and a student appointed by the President of the Student Government Association.

2.  People who feel that a sign has been erroneously removed should immediately contact the Dean of Students. Since time is often an important consideration in these questions, the party involved may request the Student Judicial Board to meet as quickly as possible to determine whether the sign has been improperly removed.

3.  While all student organizations, students and departments are subject to the rules and regulations contained within this policy, departments have the discretion of posting signs at their facilities for special events. Student organizations that violate this policy are subject to discipline by the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement. First offense will warrant a letter of warning, while the second offense will result in the president of the student organization being called before the Student Activities Committee. The committee has the right to impose penalties including, but not limited to, fines as well as activity restriction. The Student Activities Committee retains the right to recommend that an organization's official recognition be withdrawn if serious or continual violation of the policy occurs. Violations will be referred to the Student Judicial Board for student violations and to the appropriate vice president for departmental violations.

3. While all student organizations, students and departments are subject to the rules and regulations contained within this policy, departments have the discretion of posting signs at their facilities for special events. Student organizations that violate this policy are subject to discipline by the Student Activities Committee. First offense will warrant

4.  During SGA elections, half of the designated spaces will be allocated to the election commissioner for candidate distribution. Please refer to the SGA Constitution for the sign posting dates.



a. Signs may be posted in designated areas below; however, no reservation needs to be made to reserve space.

b. University-approved student organization and departments may display freestanding signs on campus. The department or student organization name must be printed on the sign. Signs are allowed to remain for a maximum of five days and then must be removed by the sponsoring organization unless a specific extension is granted by Leadership and Student Involvement. 

c.Outside or non-campus affiliates are not generally permitted to display freestanding signs on campus. However, in cases where an outside or non-campus group is on-campus at one of the University’s designated “free speech zone” locations to exercise its rights as outlined in the “Free Speech, Demonstration and Protest Policy,” it may display freestanding signs at the immediate site of the protest or demonstration. These signs may only be placed on a paved surface or the unpaved surface immediately adjacent to the free speech zone and must comply with all requirements of the University’s Sign Policy. Signs must be removed immediately upon completion of the protest or demonstration.

d. Signs (not including SGA elections) are allowed to remain for the maximum duration stated above and then must be removed by the sponsoring organization.

e.Freestanding Sign Locations


oEntrance off W. Fourth Street (across from Ferlise Center)

oShoemaker Square- east, west and north end

oLibrary and Union Plazas

oFreshmen Quad

oArmstrong Branch Plaza

•Gulf Park:

oShoo Fly Area south of the tennis courts

oEagle Plaza (excludes Loft Return statue and flower bed)

oLibrary Lawn

oFleming Education North Lawn

oLloyd Lawn

oAdministration Building Plaza

f. Student Government Association election candidates are permitted to placefree-standing signs on campus under the following conditions (neither subsection c nor d above   apply to SGA elections):

•Approved locations: 

oHattiesburg – Union and Library plaza, Shoemaker Square, Freshmen Quad, and Armstrong Branch Plaza

oGulf Park - Eagle Plaza (excludes Loft Return statue and flower bed), Library Lawn, Fleming Education North Lawn, Lloyd Lawn, Administration Building Plaza

•Only one sign may be displayed per candidate per location. If running on a ticket or as a group, one candidate sign and one group/ticket sign is permitted to be displayed in each approved location.

•Sponsored by SGA must be printed on every sign

•No signs will be permitted to be displayed until the SGA election commissioner submits the request form with the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement, for all candidates, at least 48 hours before campaigning is to begin.

•SGA election commissioner is responsible for removing all signs the day after the election (SGA constitution election code section 1 A.6)

•Refer to the SGA election code section 3 for sign posting dates and other applicable policies. 


a.  Handbills (posters, bulletins, flyers and notices) shall be posted on inside bulletin boards and designated areas in university buildings by student organization or campus departments only.

b.  Each building manager, acting in accordance with these guidelines, may publish written regulations concerning the placing of signs on interior bulletin boards or designated areas of their building. Only when available space on these surfaces becomes a problem may a building manager limit the size of the signs. 

c.  Student organizations are responsible for the nature and content of the handbills and inside signs being posted. The Office of Leadership and Student Involvement and the Department of Union and Programs reserve the right to take down any inappropriate signs on the Hattiesburg Campus. At Gulf Park, the Division of Student Affairs and Office of Leadership and Student Involvement will reserve the right to take down inappropriate signs.

d.  The University of Southern Mississippi prohibits the posting or display of these signs by student organizations or departments outside of designated areas. This includes the exterior of any University building, telephone/utility pole, tree, sidewalk, window, trash can, or any other exterior surface located on the campus, including vehicles. The Office of Leadership and Student Involvement reserves the right to take disciplinary action against any student organization that does not follow this policy.

e.  Non-university affiliates who wish to hang signs that advertise similar       products or services currently offered the University will NOT be permitted (i.e., apparel, food service, lodging, etc.)


a.  Banners will be hung no higher than six feet in the following Hattiesburg Campus locations:

Entrance off W. Fourth Street by the residence hall Entrance off W. Fourth Street in front of the Payne Center Other areas approved by the Union and Programs director

b.   Banners should not obstruct the sidewalk or interfere with traffic.

c.Banners may remain posted for a maximum of five days, at which time the space may be renewed if available. All signs should be removed after the event occurs by the sponsoring organizations.

d.Suspended banners are not allowed at Southern Miss Gulf Park.  This excludes lawn banners for Homecoming approved by student affairs.


a. Only registered student organizations can chalk on campus. Any outside group, non-affiliated with the university is not permitted to chalk on campus.

b.Water-soluble chalk only is allowed in designated areas. Markers, spray chalk, paints or oil-based products are prohibited.

c.Chalking may occur only on horizontal, designated spaces.  No chalking is allowed on brick areas, buildings, trash receptacles, steps, fountains, benches, tables, light posts, columns and any other vertical areas.

d. The use of chalk on sidewalk and pavement areas is allowed for events only in designated areas:


oUnion Plaza 


oFreshman Quad Area

The Freshman Quad area requires approval through Residence Life.

•Gulf Park: 

oFleming Education Center South Deck & Exterior Sidewalks (excludes Breezeway)

oMemorial Flagpole Circle (south of Administration Building Plaza) 

oThe Chimney slab on Library Lawn

e.Organizations using these designated areas are then responsible for the cost of having Physical Plant clean the chalked area if it has not been cleaned by the organization within 24 hours after the event.