A policy for renting rooms

For a number of years Info-Cult has been receiving requests from educational institutions and community organizations asking for information about groups or individuals associated with organizations which are unfamiliar to them with the underlying question being whether or not they should rent them space.

It can happen that situations arise where individuals and groups may seek to benefit from having a lecture, conference or other event at an educational institution or community organization, leading students and the public to assume the ideas presented are either endorsed by or associated with that institution.

We are contacting you to bring to your attention a way to protect your institution against credibility and liability problems that may occur when you rent space to people or groups from outside your institution.

If the same individual or group were to rent a space in a hotel, the public perception and implication would be quite different. Hotels are in the business of renting meeting or conference rooms

We suggest you consider a general policy that would avoid any misunderstanding about your institution's or organization's involvement with an individual or group requesting rental space in your facility.

You might consider the following, which is an example of a policy used by the University of Geneva. In renting or allocating space, add the following text to a contract:

In order to avoid confusion with (institution's name) activities, I/we, the undersigned agree that no mention of the (institution's name) will appear in the title of the event or in any promotional materials, including posters, announcements, prospectus or any other text. The (institution's name) may, however, be mentioned when indicating the location of the event, the name of the building and the room number, but this information must be in lettering that is considerably smaller in relation to the rest of the text.
In addition, your institution may request those renting your facilities to include the following in their promotional materials:
The (institution's name) is not connected to the organization of this event and has only rented the space for the use of this individual or group.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can be of help.