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Policy on Use of University Facilities


The property, facilities, and services of Cornell University are for the conduct of instruction, research, general University programs and related administrative uses. No use of University property, facilities, or services shall be permitted which interferes with the conduct of these functions or which is inconsistent with University status as a tax-exempt educational institution.

Registered Organizations/Non-University Organizations:

Duly registered organizations or students, faculty or employees, in good standing, may use University buildings and grounds for meetings and events which are limited to members of the university community. When these registered organizations desire to use University facilities for meetings or events which are open to persons other than members of the University's faculty, staff and/or student body, they shall first obtain approval from the University administration before any arrangements are made, including the inviting of speakers, performers or other principals.

Non-university organizations may use University facilities for meetings and events if a) they are sponsored by a recognized campus organization, b) they have the prior approval of the University administration, and c) they are consistent with the University's purposes.

Use by Non-University Personnel of University Research Facilities:

The public policy of the state and nation now recognizes and encourages cooperation by institutions of higher education with the industrial and manufacturing sectors in the promotion of advanced study and research and the rapid dissemination of knowledge that will enhance productivity and contribute to the economic development of the state and nation. In furtherance of this policy Cornell is taking steps, utilizing its research centers and other means, to forge an interdisciplinary partnership between the University, industry and government. This statement amends and clarifies University policy as it relates to use of University research facilities by non-Cornell personnel.

University research facilities exist primarily to further free and open inquiry by Cornell faculty, students and staff. Other uses are of secondary importance. In general, non-Cornell personnel using University facilities are expected to abide by the same policies as University personnel. Proprietary use of University facilities by such people is therefore not usually permitted*. In exceptional cases where the best interests of the University and the other parties would be served by use of University facilities by outside persons for proprietary or confidential purposes, the Vice Provost for Research may grant permission by petition after consultation with the Sr. Vice President and Treasurer, and University Counsel respectively, regarding financial and legal implications. Any such use should be conditioned upon the execution of an agreement by the user which will protect the financial and legal interests of the University. Approval of such petitions shall be regularly reported to the Faculty Council of Representatives' Committee on Research Policies by the Vice Provost for Research. In considering such requests, the Vice Provost will apply the following criteria:

i) Such use must support the educational and research mission of the University.

ii) There must be a clear need to carry out the proposed work at Cornell.

iii) A proposal or abstract describing in general terms the purpose of the proprietary work to be done must be submitted for review through the normal channels for the use of the facility, e.g., a local review committee. The proposal should be judged for merit and appropriateness for the facility in question, on the same grounds as non-proprietary work. If the proposal is passed, it becomes part of the public record in the facility. That is, the existence of proprietary use of a Cornell facility may not be kept secret.

iv) All details of the proprietary work to be done that are relevant to the safety of personnel or of the facility must be made available to and approved by the University officer in charge of the facility (e.g., the laboratory director) prior to final approval of the project. The University officer will assure that the proposed work conforms to usual safe operating procedures but will not divulge technical aspects of the work which are confidential.

v) Involvement of University faculty, students or staff in the proprietary work is limited to the normal facility support services provided for all users.

vi) There will be no difference in the operating personnel or procedures of the facility for proprietary or non-proprietary work. There will be no special security precautions, no special access restrictions, no personnel clearance requirements. Users of University facilities for proprietary work will have to accept this risk of disclosure. vii) The organization performing the proprietary work must pay Cornell appropriate costs of the use of the facility.

viii) Only a small fraction (usually not more than ten percent) of the use of the facility shall be devoted to proprietary purposes.

Explanation: The University is experiencing a heightened level of cooperation and interaction with the private sector in the furtherance of research, particularly in the field of high technology. Current University policy does not specifically address the question of the use of University facilities by private entities for proprietary purposes. This policy amendment establishes parameters for the use of University research facilities by non-University personnel in the furtherance of this cooperative effort.

Note: University policy prohibits Cornell personnel from engaging in research on campus which is confidential to the sponsor or classified for security purposes ("Statement on Sensitive and Proprietary Research," May, 1985).