FAQs | John Jay College of Criminal Justice
FAQs

FAQs

FAQ’s for Space Utilization

John Jay College launched its Virtual Event Management System (VEMS) in 2014 to assist event organizers and user groups in the reservation and scheduling of campus space. After 3 years of data collection and observing how the college community utilizes campus space for events, and following President Travis’s listening tour where space utilization was a frequent topic of discussion, a Space Utilization Task Force was assembled to address the need for better coordination on the utilization of college space for college purposes. Additional feedback was solicited from the John Jay community in preparation of these guidelines. The following document was developed to better serve the John Jay community in maximizing the highest and best use of college assets (as it pertains to both space and staffing) and to illuminate user groups as to the rationale behind the process. The FAQs are a supplement to the Events Handbook and are not intended to replace or create new requirements or policies not contained in the Handbook. In sum and substance, substantial changes to the FAQs will only reflect substantial changes made to the Events Handbook.  

Why do we need procedures to use space on campus? – I see empty rooms all the time – Why can’t I just use them?

There’s been enormous growth in the number of organizations on campus and with that a significant increase in events requiring space.  Add to that growth the loss of North Hall and the demand for space is even further compounded. To accommodate as many events as possible, a robust scheduling system was needed. If with this system in place to be fair and equitable to all user groups each request needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, prior to confirmation. This is to ensure the best and highest use of space, avoid conflicts, and verify that we have sufficient staff on hand to service the space being requested.

What do you mean “service the space being requested?

In preparation for the use of any space on campus; either prior to, during, or following    an event, several departments may be involved. If an event needs tables, chairs, audio visual equipment, catering or just cleaning the various departments need to sign off on those aspects of the request. This is required to make sure we have the staff, inventory, and time needed to service the space that’s being requested.

Okay, I get it. Where do I go to reserve my space?

The Virtual Event Management System (VEMS) can be found in the Compendium of the John Jay website. Below are the steps for accessing the system:

  1. Select the tab “Inside JJ” and enter your username and password.
  1. Select “Resource Center.”
  1. Under “Work Orders / Facility and Space Request” select “Virtual Event Management Room Request System – VEMS.

 

You are now on the home page of VEMS. Follow the instruction for access to the system.

I can’t log into “Inside John Jay,” I’m a student and I’ve been told I can’t access the system. Is that true?

Yes. No. Only partially so. Students can access VEMS for browsing purposes only by going to http://jjayems.jjay.cuny.edu/virtualems/

I followed your directions, browsed the available rooms, and wasn’t able to reserve the space.  What did I do wrong?

Only those trained on the system are able to reserve space. More than likely someone in your department has already been trained on the system and can assist you in making your reservation. If there is not someone in your department who has been trained or to be trained on the system please contact Space Reservationist Christine Baerga at cbaerga@jjay.cuny.edu.

Okay. So let’s say I’m trained on the system. What are the correct procedures and why are some spaces already booked before I have access to the calendar?

Before space can be made available for reservation, the college governance meetings (College Council, Town Hall, Faculty Senate, Academic Meetings, etc.) must be scheduled. In addition, some events are major in nature and are planned years in advance, others are recurring events that roll over from year-to-year and therefore can be anticipated. These major and/or recurring events take priority when scheduling simply because of the advanced timeline and pre-planning required in bringing the event to fruition.

What qualifies as a “major” and/or “recurring” event? – My event is major to me!

  1. OAR Conferences
  2. CUNY IT Conference
  3. Convocation
  4. Open House
  5. Commencement
  6. Justice Awards
  7. Award Dinners

I need one room. Maybe two. Surely these “major” events aren’t using every room on campus?

Releasing even smaller spaces prior to setting major events in the annual calendar can cause major conflicts; requiring staff to spend precious time moving events and having to renege on prior approvals.

So when do I get a chance to schedule the space I need?

After major and recurring events are scheduled (usually just prior to the beginning of each semester) the calendar is opened to the general college community for reserving space.

How will I know when the calendar is being opened to the general college community? I want to be first in line and online to reserve my space.

The Department of Theater and Event Support Services will send out general announcements prior to opening the calendar.

I’m a student. Once the calendar is opened to the general college community can I just go online and reserve my space?

No. Space requests for student organizations are submitted through the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL). If you represent a student club or organization and are interested in reserving space please contact csilspacerequest@jjay.cuny.edu.

That doesn’t seem fair. What if there’s no space available for me or the club I belong too? I’m a student, I pay tuition. Why don’t I have equal access to space on campus?

We agree. And our analysis over the last 3 years has revealed that the demand for space for students is greatest during community hour (1:40pm – 2:55pm) and after 5:00pm Monday through Thursday. In response to that need, and prior to opening the calendar to the general community, a considerable amount of space will be blocked out for this purpose. This will ensure that the student groups that don’t assemble until the semester is largely underway are not negatively impacted by this delay and will have access to space(s) required to conduct their events/business. 

I’m not a student and I waited patiently for the calendar to be opened to the general college community; and yet…I still can’t get approval – what’s up?

The simple fact may be that there isn’t any space available at the time you’re requesting. But if that’s not the case, then on occasion, some event requests may not be approved based on either scheduling conflicts or not having the available staff or resources to setup and service the event.  While we understand that every event is important this may also mean that some events require special approval before being allowed to move forward.

I just want a conference room for an hour or so. Are you telling me there aren’t any conference rooms available for my use? – This doesn’t seem to be an efficient use of space to me.

Glad you asked. The Space Utilization Task Force has looked into shared use of conference rooms and developed a method by which administrative conference rooms     are made available in EMS once each department has had sufficient time to reserve them for their own purposes. Also, we suggest you keep in mind that many of these conference rooms adjoin offices and the type of meeting, and/or the noise generated by that meeting, should always be considered.

Are there rental fees or labor charges for using campus space?

No. Typically there is no rental fee or labor charge to internal users. There are however rental fees and labor charges that apply to external clients.

I’ve heard that CUNY gets to use our spaces for free – is that true?

CUNY does frequently ask to use space on its college campuses. If space is available we try to accommodate their request. However, as is with all user groups, labor fees are to be fully reimbursed.

Why are we renting space to external clients?

Renting space to external clients has become a major revenue steam for colleges across the country. These rentals provide John Jay College with considerable new financial   resources that we are able to use to support the institution. This is especially relevant during years of financial austerity.

How is this money accounted for? It might sound crass but will I see any of it as a student?

It’s not crass to expect accountability and transparency. Rental fees are collected and distributed through the College’s Auxiliary Services Corporation; a non-profit corporation created to support educational, social, cultural, and recreational activities for students, faculty and staff.

That answers half of my question. But who decides how the funds get distributed?

Currently, there is an 11-member Board of Directors for the Corporation. The Board meets at least once per semester.  Pursuant to CUNY Guidelines, the governing board is comprised of the College President or his/her designee, plus an additional number of        students and the same combined number of faculty and administrative members.

And who appoints the board members?

Administrative members are appointed by the President.  Faculty members are   appointed by the President from a panel whose size is twice the number of seats to be filled. Faculty nominations are made by the Faculty Senate.

Can you give me an example of how the funds might be used?

Sure. The funds are used to provide scholarships to students and to support major student events such as Open House, Orientation, and Commencement.

Okay, I get it. Enough about the benefits of renting space to external clients. What can you tell me about labor charges?

Labor charges refer to the services required to support an event. They may include         fees from the following departments and are typically applied to external users only:

Okay, I get it. Enough about the benefits of renting space to external clients. What can you tell me about labor charges?

Labor charges refer to the services required to support an event. They may include fees from the following departments and are typically applied to external users only:

  1. Facilities (for set-up and removal of furniture and custodial services).
  1. Audio Visual Services (for providing audio visual needs such as microphones, music playback, and projection capabilities).
  1. Public Safety (for providing event security when required).

Now I’m confused. Could you clarify for me the difference between an internal user and an external client?

If you are a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or college department at     John Jay and are engaged in school sanctioned and approved activities more than likely you’re an internal user. If you represent a for-profit corporation or private entity; a non-profit entity; or an agency of the federal, state, or local government; or if you’re a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or college department using space for private purposes then you’re probably an external client.

Now I’m confused. Could you clarify for me the difference between an internal user and an external client?

If you are a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or college department at     John Jay and are engaged in school sanctioned and approved activities more than likely you’re an internal user. If you represent a for-profit corporation or private entity; a non-profit entity; or an agency of the federal, state, or local government; or if you’re a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or college department using space for private purposes then you’re probably an external client.

Sounds simple.
It’s not. If you are a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or college department sponsoring an event that might include external clients as a component to your event, then your event may be considered a “partnership” and therefore rental fees and/or labor costs may apply.

Sounds complicated.
It doesn’t have to be. If you’re an internal user with no affiliation with an external group then there should be no charge. If you’re an internal user partnering with and external organization you can refer to the Space Rental Rate Sheet to view the various rental rates available. There are substantial discounts even when partnering with an external group or affiliation. 

Do I need approval to use space when an external group is involved?

Yes. And you’re required to provide written justification detailing the benefit to the college that should roughly offset the reduction in rent provided by the partnership. Offsets can be achieved through various ways. Below are just a few:

  1. Waiving of registration fees for student participation in various workshops/seminars/conferences.
  1. Free or reduced ticket prices to theater cultural events such as concerts or plays.
  1. Co-branding of John Jay in advertising and promotional material.

The justification requires approval from a Dean, or the Vice President of the sponsoring department. Final approval from the VP of Finance and Administration is required before any ticketing or marketing of the event takes place.

How far in advance can I reserve my space?

This is complicated. There are certain rooms that can be reserved years in advance and other that can’t be reserved until the governance meetings (College Council, Town Hall, Faculty Senate, etc.) are in the calendar. And then there are lecture halls and classrooms that can’t be reserved until they’re released by the Registrar once the semester schedules are finalized. So if you’re planning a large event that can’t wait until the general release date or “Space Day,” please contact Cheryl D’Antonio at cdantonio@jjay.cuny.edu or Christine Baerga at cbaerga@jjay.cuny.edu.

What is “Space Day?” This is the first time I’ve heard this term.

“Space Day” is a new term used to describe the day when we open our space reservation calendar to student clubs and organizations, faculty, and staff to reserve space not previously allocated to governance meetings and major and/or recurring events. The more prepared you are as an individual or representative of a group on “Space Day” the more likely you’ll find the space you’re looking to reserve.   

Does it increase my chances of having my reservation approved if my event doesn’t require AVS or Facilities services and I’m willing to use the space “as is?”

The simple answer is yes. If you’re not requesting a specific room set-up or other services provided by AVS or Facilities then your chances of being approved is greatly increased because the approval no longer hinges on available equipment or personnel needing to be available to perform those services. Using the room “as is” is simply stating that however the room was left by the previous user you and or your group are willing to work with that set up or change it around on your own. 

Are there any other approvals I need to get before reserving space?

No. But now that you mention it you should be aware of existing guidelines for using some of our spaces on campus like: ‘Hound Square, Kroll Atrium, Jay Walk, Faculty/Staff Dining Room, just to name a few. Guideline for those spaces and others can be found in the John Jay compendium. And don’t forget to submit a work order to the Facilities Department for your event. 

Are you kidding me? What’s a “work order” and why isn’t this captured when I’m making a reservation?

Good question. Reserving your space is just the first step in the process. If you are reserving a space that doesn’t need chairs, tables, heat, air conditioning, or unlocking, then I guess you don’t need to submit a work order. But if you will need any of those things then it’s probably a good idea to do so and that requires a work order. Steps to submitting a work order can be found in the “inside JJAY” compendium but if you’re a student this will need to be arranged through the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

What if I want a classroom? Are classrooms in the VEMS system?

No. Currently classrooms are not in the VEMS system. However, we are working with the Registrar on methods whereby classrooms will be made available on EMS for use during community hour (1:40pm – 2:55pm). Until then requests for academic space are to be directed to Cheryl D’Antonio at cdantonio@jjay.cuny.edu or Christine Baerga at cbaerga@jjay.cuny.edu.

What if I want to reserve the Gerald W. Lynch Theater?

Use of the theater comes with its own unique set of challenges, not the least of which is the expense associated with staffing each event. It is a 600 seat, fully-functioning,Broadway-style theater requiring a staff of ushers and Union stagehands to operate. Like most Broadway stages it has an elevator pit and a counter-weighted fly system that is dangerous to operate without proper training and supervision. Therefore use of the Theater is reserved for events requiring seating in excess of 250 people and needing the technical support only offered by a performing arts venue. If the above criteria is met the question as to who pays for the labor costs must then be resolved. This will require approval from the Vice President of Finance and Administration. 

That’s a pretty high hurdle to get over just to use the Theater, especially if I end up having to pay the labor costs. What if I just want to set up a table in the lobby? Don’t tell me I have to reserve table space as well.

Okay, I won’t. But you do. Table space on campus must be reserved to prevent the proliferation of tabling and to ensure entrances, hallways, and various passageways remain unencumbered and compliant with building and safety codes. Locations approved for table set-ups can be found in VEMS.

Next thing you’re going to tell me is that I have to reserve space for my poster display unit.

No, not so. But poster display units have been popping up all around campus in very large numbers and in an effort to control the proliferation and to ensure the posters placed in each display unit are up-to-date we are requesting that all display units be collected by their respective departments at the end of each week. So please collect your poster display units and return them to your department by end of day each Friday.   

What about general hours of operation on campus? How late can my event go and can I reserve my space for weekend use?

Yes. You can reserve your event space for weekend use but if your event requires AVS     and/or Facilities support it will be subject to available personnel and costs.

And what about the three-day weekends I’ve heard so much about? Does that really happen?

Yes. This is a real thing. The college is closed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning the last week in June through the first week in August. Do not schedule your event over the three-day summer weekends. 

I just want to decorate my event with helium balloons, confetti, and other normal party things that get taped to the wall or hung from the ceiling. Is this a problem?

Is it ever.  Helium balloons and confetti are not allowed on campus for fire and safety reasons, and anything taped to the walls can prove damaging to both paint and glass surfaces. The only tape allowed on campus for this purpose is painter’s tape which has low adhesive qualities and will mitigate any damage to wall and glass surfaces. Any   damage to wall and/or glass surfaces will be the responsibility of the user group. 

Anything else I need to know about?

Yes. Tons. Please refer to the handbook on Space Use Guidelines regarding Insurance      Requirements, Event Sponsorship Opportunities, Ticketing and Marketing Materials, Onsite Collection Policy, Signage, Fire Guards, Magnetometers (Metal Detectors), Tobacco, Drugs, Alcohol, Food Handling, and Sterno.

Okay, after all that…who do I contact if I’m still having trouble with my request?

For questions regarding reserving space for events, please contact Cheryl D’Antonio at cdantonio@jjay.cuny.edu or Christine Baerga at cbaerga@jjay.cuny.edu.