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PRM-007: Use of the Rotunda

Date: 04/10/2006 Status: Final
Last Revised: 07/09/2018
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: Rotunda Administrator
Oversight Executive: President of the University, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Applies To:

Academic Division and the Medical Center.

Reason for Policy:

While it is very important to regard the Rotunda as an active, working building, the building's special characteristics and historical significance dictate that its usage be carefully considered. There is heavy demand by University groups for the Rotunda facilities. The demand far outstrips the availability of space in the building. Several thousand visitors come to see the Rotunda in a typical month. Admissions officials arrange for prospective students to make their first official contact with the University in the Rotunda. Because of the historical nature of the Rotunda interior, it must be used in ways that will not shorten the useful life of the structure.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Student Groups or Organizations (Student Groups/Organizations):Student groups or organizations that have an active Contracted Independent Organization Agreement, Fraternal Organization Agreement, or Special Status Organization Agreement with the University.
  • University-Associated Organization (UAO):An independent and separately incorporated legal entity, officially recognized by the University, subject to an executed UAO- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and meeting all the following criteria:
    • Organized and exists under Virginia law and in good standing with the State Corporation Commission.
    • Qualifies as a tax-exempt organization.
    • Exists and operates for the benefit of the University or one or more of its units by providing one or more of the following support functions: fundraising, asset management, programs, and services.
    • Not an agency, organization, corporation, or unit of the University or the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Policy Statement:

Space in the Rotunda must be used and may be reserved in accordance with the requirements set forth in this policy. Exclusions: This policy does not apply to use of the Rotunda for official events sponsored by the University such as, but not limited to, meetings of the Rector and Board of Visitors, Founder’s Day, or University events during Finals Weekend, or any other event organized or sponsored by the President or Office of Major Events. An event sponsored by a school, department, or office is not an official event sponsored by the University.

  1. Use of the Rotunda for Events:
    Space in the Rotunda may be reserved for events, within the guidelines provided in this policy, by University schools, departments and units; student groups/organizations; or University-Associated Organizations. Assignment of spaces shall be content neutral. Spaces shall be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Although this policy does not apply to official events sponsored by the University, official events sponsored by the University will take priority over any other event.) The Rotunda will not be used for private parties (e.g., wedding receptions) nor will it be used for events requiring the collection of admission fees. No displays of corporate sponsorship are allowed in the Rotunda. The Rotunda is a smoke-free building. Any exceptions to these policies must be approved by the Rotunda Administration prior to the event. A representative of the reserving entity must be present at the event and will serve as the liaison with Rotunda and other University staff.

    The Dome Room and other Rotunda spaces may be used after the normal closing hour for the Rotunda (5:00 p.m.) only if official Rotunda personnel are present. Users will be billed for the cost of these employees and security staff on an hourly basis. A rental fee will also be assessed. For a list of places that may be reserved and associated capacities and fees, please see the Rotunda website at rotunda.virginia.edu. All events are to end and all guests must vacate the premises by 10:00 p.m. This curfew is strictly enforced. Candles with flames are not permitted for events held in the Rotunda.

    No refunds will be issued for events cancelled less than 30 days prior to the date of the event. Users are required to agree in advance to pay for damage done to the Rotunda as a consequence of their event.

    Aside from the West Courtyard, exterior spaces such as Rotunda terraces, porticos, and courtyards are not spaces that may be reserved. Unless the reservation of the West Courtyard will interfere with other events or a prior reservation, the West Courtyard may be reserved only in conjunction with a reservation of the Multipurpose Room.

  2. Catering:
    University Dining Services is the exclusive caterer for all Rotunda events. No food or beverages may be brought into the main Rotunda building from an outside source. Food and beverages may be brought into the Multipurpose Room in the southwest wing of the Rotunda, but not delivered. Users of the Multipurpose Room are responsible for all cleanup, and the privilege of reserving the space may be suspended if the group does not adhere to this policy.

    The Dome Room will not be used for breakfasts, luncheons, or meeting breaks; these events may be scheduled in the Lower West Oval Room or the Multipurpose Room.

    All events where alcohol will be served require approval consistent with the University’s alcohol policy, STU-001: Use of Alcoholic Beverages and Prohibition of Other Drugs. A signed alcohol approval form must be received by Rotunda Administration at least two weeks prior to the date of the event. No alcohol may be served on the Rotunda terraces and porticos or in the courtyards during the academic year.

  3. Special Equipment and Furnishings Requirement:
    No furnishings, antique objects, tables, chairs, or heavy equipment may be moved in any of the rooms without the permission of Rotunda Administration. If permitted, furnishings and antique objects will be moved only by qualified University employees trained to do this without hazard to the building and other furnishings. The user may be charged for costs associated with the move if it is necessary to use staff beyond the Rotunda employees. Heavy equipment or musical instruments such as pianos are not allowed in the Dome Room.

    A representative of the reserving entity must request permission from the Rotunda Administration for any equipment (i.e. conference/audiovisual equipment, musical instruments, etc.) required for an event or brought into the Rotunda for use during an event. This request for permission must be made at least two weeks prior to the date of the event. No equipment may be brought into the Rotunda without the Rotunda Administration's approval.

  4. Visitors:
    During the time the Rotunda is open to the public (usually 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Dome Room events will not normally be closed to the public. The oval rooms and the Multipurpose Room, if reserved, may be used for events which are closed to the public.

  5. Students Wishing to Study in the Rotunda:
    Students are encouraged to use the Dome Room, Upper West Oval Room (lounge), North Oval Room, and Lower West Oval Room for study whenever the rooms available during normal open hours and during the designated study hours of 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings during the academic year, subject to any changes by the Rotunda Administration. Throughout the exam periods, student study hours will extend to midnight.

    An elevator to the upper floors is available for those visitors to the Rotunda with mobility limitations.

  6. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies. Use or occupation of the Rotunda in violation of this policy is prohibited. Any person who violates this policy may be removed and/or prosecuted for trespass, disorderly conduct, or other offenses under state law.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Rotunda Administrator.


To reserve space in the Rotunda please fill out the reservation request form that may be found on the Rotunda web site.

Major Category:
Physical Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 04/10/2006
Revision History:

Updated Section 2 6/23/22; Updated 5/14/19; 7/9/2018.

Supersedes (previous policy):

XV.I.1, Use of the Rotunda.