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Policies & Procedures

It is the expectation that all policies and procedures are followed and respected by any individual or organization using the Black House, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) or Multicultural Center (MCC) for formal and informal purposes.


General Gathering Guidelines

All gatherings must remain within building capacity limits within the physical structure and on the front porch and rear patio.

All guests should comply to cleaning guidelines.

All individuals gathering should be mindful of noise levels affecting neighbors and/or community members within the house.


Hours of Operation

Please reference the Hours of Operation portion of the MSA website for the most updated information.

Generally, all MSA spaces are greenlight and open to the community from 9am-5pm when the university is open. The remainder of the hours that the MCC and Black House are open require wildcard swipe access. All visitors should enter and exit MCC and Black House through the front door located on Sheridan Road. Porch doors, patios doors, and back doors should remain closed and locked unless a registered event has requested something be open in their reservation request and it was approved.


After-Hours Access

Although students may remain in the Black House or MCC after hours, it is each student’s responsibility to follow all policies and procedures during weekend and after hours as he or she would during business and evening hours.

In the spirit of equity and sustainability of resources, all event organizers are required to submit approvals for extended hours to the MSA staff with a 4 weeks’ notice. Extension of hours may be granted up to a maximum of 2 hours before operating hours begin and 2 hours after operating hours end on any given day.

The University requires that all late night parties (after business hours social events) taking place on campus must have staffing present if off-campus students or guests are invited.

In the case you need access to a locked MSA space, you must call NUPD help you access the space. Reach the non-emergency NUPD line at: 847-491-3456 (Evanston) 

Amplified Noise

Evanston City Ordinance prevents us from operating amplified sound equipment west of Sheridan Road or without necessary permits. With no exceptions, AV requests will not be processed or guaranteed until an Outdoor Event Request Form, including loudspeaker permit application, have been approved by the Assistant Director of Event Planning in Norris University Center. Outdoor Event Requests can be made via the Norris website.

Preference to all MSA spaces goes to parties that have places a reservation for the space. If you would like to place a reservation please submit a request:

If a space does not have a reservation, guests are welcome to use that space. Guest are encouraged to review our cleaning guidelines to ensure they contribute to our collective responsibility and care towards the spaces we share.


All property of the Black House, GSRC, and the MCC must remain within each premises. Property includes furniture, office supplies and building equipment. General rule of thumb: if you or your group does not own the item in question, then it cannot be removed from the building.

Furniture such as tables and chairs may be used and rearranged within each respective building for meetings and events, but the furniture must be returned to its original location immediately following the meeting or event.

Code of Conduct

MSA prohibits expression that is not protected by law in this facility, such as that expression described by the following legal terms: defamation, incitement to unlawful conduct, imminent threats of actual violence or harm, obscenity, fighting words, copyright or trademark violation, criminal or civil harassment, sexual harassment, trespass, and false advertising. 

Student Handbook

Violence-Free Work place

Violence or threatening conduct of any kind which may affect the safety of you and others at the MCC, GSRC, and Black House, whether it is directed against a NU student, staff member, or faculty member, will not be tolerated. Everyone in the NU community should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. NU community members are expected to refrain from argumentative discussion, “horseplay,” or other conduct that may be dangerous to others. Firearms, weapons and other dangerous hazardous devices or substances are prohibited from the MCC, GSRC, and Black House.


If you feel that your safety is being threatened by anyone, or are aware of any violation of this policy, you should report the incident to MSA, or if after-hours the Administrator on Call, immediately. You may be assured that your complaint will be kept as confidential as possible and that you will not be penalized in any way for reporting a threatening or violent situation. In addition to taking disciplinary action when appropriate, the MSA may, if deemed necessary, seek criminal prosecution and cooperate with law enforcement.


Cleaning Policies

Cleanliness at the Black House, GSRC, and MCC must be maintained so we can accommodate a wide variety of activities and occupants. This standard requires that those using MSA facilities meet these criteria:


  • No garbage is left behind. Please throw out all waste in the nearest appropriate bin
  • Recycle whenever possible using the bins provided
  • If you are hosting an event in an MSA space and a trash bin is full, please empty out the bin in the nearest dumpster. If extra trash bags or liners are not in the bin ask the student staff member worker for access to more trash bags/liners
  • All food-related items are emptied and thrown away in the garbage dumpsters behind the building. DO NOT LEAVE FOOD IN INDOOR TRASH BINS.
  • If you are hosting an event that has food, you are expected to dump the trash to the nearest dumpster even if the waste bin isn’t full.
  • No remnants of food or drink are left on the floor
  • Ask a student staff member for a vacuum if needed
  • All tables and working surfaces are wiped down with a damp cloth/towel or disinfectant wipe
  • All dishes and food utensils should be washed after use
  • Returned borrowed dishes/utensils
  • Be sure to take personal/organizations dishes or utensils after use or they will be thrown out
  • All furniture is returned to its original location and state (i.e. chairs are cleaned and neatly stacked in the conference room and couches are in the same location as for business hours)


Failure to clean up will result in a quarterly re-evaluation of the group’s reservation privileges and could lead to a loss of privileges.

Space Policies


Legacy of our spaces

In order to honor the legacy of the student activities that demanded these spaces on campus, MSA prioritizes events and student groups that center Blackness for reservations in the Black House, APIDA, Indigenous,  Latinx, Black, and LGBTQA+ experiences in the MCC, and events that center LGBTQIA+ experiences in the GSRC. Please be mindful of the legacy of these spaces when submitting your request. MSA staff will respond to your request within 72 business hours. Please contact with any questions.


MSA invites Northwestern students, student organizations, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to use space in the Black House, with recognition that Black students will be centered in our acceptances.  A Northwestern student is defined as an undergraduate, graduate, professional/ adult learner or anyone else enrolled in any courses at the University. Please use your Northwestern-affiliated email address in your reservation form submission.

Northwestern faculty includes any person who teaches or has an academic affiliation to the University. Please use your Northwestern-affiliated email address in your reservation form submission

Northwestern student organizations, are invited to submit space reservations. Student organizations must be recognized by the Student Organizations and Activities office. Please see their website for more information regarding registration status. To reserve space on behalf of a student organization, please use your Northwestern-affiliated email address in your form submission.

Northwestern staff, including any person that currently is employed by Northwestern University, full or part time status, are invited to submit space reservations. Please use your Northwestern-affiliated email address in your reservation form submission.

Northwestern alumni are welcome to submit space reservations, on behalf of an organized alumni club. Please seek the responsible staff liaison in the NAA/ARD office to submit on your group's behalf.

Community members that are not affiliated with Northwestern University in any of the ways listed above may be approved for a space reservation on a case-by-case basis and may be asked for a Northwestern-identified person to sponsor the reservation request and be present throughout the time of the scheduled programming. Please contact for additional questions and concerns.

Groups are responsible for restoring the space they reserved to its original condition upon the conclusion of their event. Failure to clean up will result in a re-evaluation of the group’s reservation privileges and could lead to a loss of privileges – including a quarter-long ban for egregious inferences.

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so no later than 2 business days before the time of of reservation. While this is not a requirement, it will help us to give the space to another interested party.  In the event of an emergency, MSA reserves the right to cancel a booked reservation.

No Show Policy

 If party is more than 15 minutes late on the date of an approved reservation, we, MSA, reserve the right to offer that time slot and space to another interested party. A "no-show" is an instance where party does not show at time of reservation, and has not made an attempt to communicate that they will be late or not coming. If a party "no-shows" for an approved reservation more than three times within one academic quarter, that individual or group will lose privileges to make any other reservations for the remainder of the quarter. 


All persons and event organizers are responsible for costs of damage, repair and clean up arising from their use of this MSA facility. Examples of such costs related to event reservations include the cost of providing tents, platforms, special fixtures and equipment, or the assignment of maintenance or security personnel. MSA and the university will determine any fee for security based on viewpoint-neutral standards used to assess risk.  

Restricted Spaces

Access to the front desks, offices and computers assigned to MSA staff members are limited to MSA staff only. Please do not use supplies or chairs from any desk without permission. Computers are password protected.

Food and Beverage

The following policies are created to maintain a clean and functional environment for everyone. 


Food may be stored in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to your scheduled and approved event.  The food must be clearly labeled with your organization name and event date. Food that is not labeled may be discarded or eaten.

After the event, any food that is stored in the refrigerator is free for all to take. MSA reserves the right to dispose any food in the refrigerator to maintain cleanness in the kitchen. 

A small amount of disposable plates, napkins, and utensils are kept in the kitchenette.  Please be sure to bring your own supplies of disposable paper products for your events. 


Grilling is prohibited from all areas inside and outside the Black House and the MCC. This includes the front porch, lawn space and back-door patio. If you would like to use a grill, please reserve the front lawn of the Foster-Walker Complex (behind the MCC) through Norris Events Planning.


Cooking is prohibited inside the Black House, GSRC, and the MCC, aside from using microwaves to heat food. Any other cooking activities must be approved by a member of MSA staff before they occur.

Alcohol and Drugs

This policy reflects one aspect of broader coverage of issues related to alcohol that can be found in the Student Handbook. General usage of alcoholic beverages in the Black House or the MCC is prohibited.  

Alcoholic beverages may be served at approved events (by MSA).  Any campus events where alcohol may be present on- or off-campus must abide by university event planning procedures. 

Student organizations who wish to have alcohol at events must abide by the Policy Regarding Alcohol at Events for Undergraduate Students.

Non-student organizations groups who wishes to serve alcohol at their events must also abide by the Policy Regarding Alcohol at Events for Undergraduate Students.  This is to ensure that the Black House and the MCC remain safe spaces for all students. 

Drug Policy

Northwestern University complies with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which requires a drug-free campus community. Therefore, Northwestern University prohibits the possession, use, manufacture, cultivation, dissemination, and storage of illicit drugs by students, faculty, staff, and visitors on all of Northwestern University’s campuses and properties and at University-sponsored events. Reference the University Drug and Alcohol Policy  and Cannabis Policy FAQ for further information.


University policy states smoking is prohibited inside all university facilities and within fifty (50) feet of the facility entrance, open window, or ventilation system. This policy applies to the front porch, lawn space and back-door patio of the Black House and the MCC.

Movie Viewings

Advertised movie or film viewings require the purchase of copyright licenses first. Proof of copyright-license acquisition must be presented to an MSA staff member before publicity for the viewing is disseminated.

For more information on screening a movie or film in MSA spaces including how to obtain a licence for a movie or film please refer to the Campus Movie Guidelines.




Please do not park and/or lock a bike to any part of the Black House or the MCC. Bikes are to remain outside of the building and should be stored using the bike racks available behind both buildings. All bikes found attached to the building are subject to being cut and taken away by Facilities Management or University Police.


Reserving a Room

Guests are welcome to make reservations of select MSA spaces. Reservation are encouraged to be submitted as early as possible. MSA requires 1 week to process room reservations. Please plan accordingly.

MSA has the right to modify or cancel reservations in the case of emergency or scheduling conflicts.

How to reserve space

Complete the Room Reservation Request form found on the MSA website. Reservation requests are processed at the beginning of each current term, reservations are accepted no more than 6 months in advance – unless it is a historical/annual event.



Emergency Procedures

For and in-depth look at how Northwestern University handles emergency please refer to the Emergency Response Framework. This document details how the University manages hazards from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe. The document outlines procedures for a coordinated and effective campus-wide response.

Learn more about the ERF:

University priorities in emergencies

Emergency notification system

Emergency operation centers

Crisis management teams


MSA Procedures

Harmful and threatening situations can happen anywhere. Follow these procedures to help keep you and others safe while in the Black House, GSRC, and MCC. Please note that your safety is of the utmost importance. If needed, contact MSA staff and fill out an emergency incident report.

Active Violence

Bomb Threats & Suspicious Packages


Natural Disasters

Medical Emergencies

For quick reference, Northwestern University has created an All Hazards Emergency Procedures flyer with the information outlined in this section. It can be found displayed in all MSA spaces.

After an Emergency

Do not re-enter an MSA after an emergency.

Facilities Management will assess the space for re-entry. University Police or Facilities Management personnel will evaluate damaged buildings and check and/or turn off water, gas, and electrical mains.

Campus Resources

Northwestern Emergency Webpage

University Police non-emergency: From any campus phone: x 456; Evanston: 847-491-3456; Chicago: 312-503-3456

Facilities Management repairs: Evanston: 847-491-5201; Chicago: 312-503-8000

Information Technology repairs: 611 from any campus phone

Main University telephone numbers: Evanston: 847-491-3741; Chicago: 312-503-8649

Advertising with MSA

To advertise with MSA, find options and submission forms here: Advertising with MSA: Multicultural Student Affairs - Northwestern University 


Copy and Fax Machines

The copy machines at the Black House and MCC are open to all students and student groups. It is each student or student group’s responsibility to supply their own paper. 

Students may use the fax machines at the MCC and Black House to receive and send faxes related to student group business and academic work. Documents not claimed in a reasonable amount of time may be discarded. Please take care when sending or receiving sensitive information. Any unclaimed faxes including sensitive information will be destroyed. Students who wish to send faxes at the Black House or MCC should contact the front office for assistance.


Computer Lab

The Black House computer lab is located on the second floor, and the MCC computer lab is located on the first floor. There are four computers (two Macs and 2 PCs) available in each computer lab. No food or drink is allowed in the labs.


Renting Supplies

Limited supplies are available for booking. Items must be booked at least 24 hours in advance of when we open on the desired day of pickup. (For example, if we open at 11am each day, a booking for a Wednesday pickup needs to be made no later than 11am Tuesday).

Supplies available for rental include games, HDMI adapters, dry-erase markers and other items. [add any other items for rental here]. Unless otherwise noted by MSA staff, rented items are not permitted to be removed from the MSA you rented it out of. To pick up equipment, guests must have a valid wild card.

No non-University affiliated rental will be booked during the regular academic year. Such rentals may occur during breaks such as fall, spring, winter and summer. Special requests for exceptions will be reviewed by the head of MSA. Approval will be given case by case.

Equipment (such as additional tables and chairs, electronic equipment, etc.) or any other materials not typical of the space reserved may be reserved through MSA by emailing our office at If MSA does not already own the requested item, renting for other university office our external vendor may result in additional costs.



Storage space is located in the basement level of the Black House and the MCC. Storage space is only accessible during MSA’s hours of operation. MSA is not responsible for damaged or missing items placed in the basement. For specific storage requests at the Black House or MCC, please speak with MSA staff members.


Prayer/Reflection Space

Prayer space on the 3rd floor of the MCC is a shoeless space. The prayer space in the MCC and the reflection space in the Black House are not reservable to and are meant to remain open to those that hope to use the space during MSA's hours of operation.

Black House Policy Committee

During the 2020-2021 school year, in partnership with the Black House Renovation Steering Committee, Multicultural Student Affairs has brought together a group of students, alumni, faculty, and staff to form the Black House Policy Committee.

The charge of this committee was to develop student-centered policies and procedures for the Black House, that honor the legacy of the Black House, increase a sense of safety, security and encourage efficiency of operations. The Black House and how it supports Black student life at NU has evolved over the years. Since its inception, a lot has changed in our society and especially within higher education. We are faced with balancing the need for community building while also prioritizing safety. We have federal laws and city ordinances we must contend with, while still unapologetically naming we need a safe and brave space for our Black students. Given this context, some of the policies to be explored and decided upon include:

  • Safety & Security
  • Hours of operation
    • Access to space
    • Safety protocols
  • Data collection
    • Food and beverage
    • Cleaning
    • Amplified sound
    • Gatherings
The committee consisting of students, alumni, faculty and staff met to 
learn the historical context of each of these policies, reviewed benchmarking research from other institutions with similar facilities, met with content area experts regarding law and policies, to then create new policies for the Fall 2021 academic year.
Below were members of the Black House Policy Committee
Committee Members 

Daviree Velazquez Philip


Multicultural Student Affairs 

Breajna Dawkins

2021 MS, Medill School of Journalism Alum 2012 BSJ

Zindeh Scere

2024, School of Education & Social Policy

Foster Taylor 

2023, School of Communication;

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Imani Minor

2021, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Alyscia Raines

Assistant Director 

Multicultural Student Affairs

Linda Luk

Aadministrative Assistant

Multicultural Student Affairs 

Coretta L. King

Director of Operations & Events

Norris University Center 

 MaryAnn Marsh 


Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA) 

Travis L. Martin, Ph.D.


Fraternity & Sorority Life 

Rob Brown


Social Justice Education 

Robert Anthony Ward, Ph.D.

Professor of Instruction & Weinberg Advisor

Cook Family Writing Program and the African American Studies Department

Charles Holmes-Hope


Residential Life

Learn more about the anticipated opening at Updates: Campus Inclusion & Community - Northwestern University