Cultural Events

Approval Criteria


Guidelines for Cultural Events

The Faculty Conference defined Cultural Events as "approved events chosen from areas such as plays, films, art exhibitions, dance, and musical performances, or from lectures of general appeal." Over the years, the Cultural Events Committee developed a set of guidelines to assist in making decisions and interpreting this definition.

All approved events will meet the following criteria and expectations:

  1. A significant portion of the event must have a cultural component as defined by the guidelines.

  2. Events must be sponsored by a Winthrop faculty/staff member, campus administrator, college or department.

  3. Participants in events must demonstrate a fundamental respect for all persons in accordance with the Code of Conduct and the University's Mission Statement.

  4. Event organizers are encouraged to contact Counseling Services when planning an event that may be emotionally triggering to those in attendance. The Cultural Events Committee may at its discretion require the event organizer to secure a floater counselor prior to the approval of such events.

  5. Events will be selected from one of four categories:

    Lectures, panel discussions, and forums of general appeal are selected based on the speaker's ability to generate new ideas and discussion on topics of broad significance. Lectures that receive approval will have the following attributes:

    1. A speaker with relevant experience and credentials. Speakers will typically have an advanced degree (e.g., an M.A. or Ph.D.) in an appropriate field, though extensive experience and reputation may substitute for formal credentials (a strong case must be made for this exception). Students may co-present if their level of involvement amounts to no more than half of the presentation.

    2. A subject of importance and/or uniqueness (e.g., new ideas).

    3. A topic that relates to the humanities, the arts, society and culture, and world culture(s). Events covering topics in business, sports, science, and mathematics should be placed in a broader social, artistic, or cultural context.

    4. Topics in potentially controversial subject areas (e.g., politics, religion, etc.) must allow for a discussion of a broad spectrum of views. These discussions should be moderated by a Winthrop faculty or staff member with demonstrable expertise in the area. These events will ideally (though not always) feature a panel of two or more qualified speakers with diverse perspectives.

    5. Lectures and discussions should last reasonably long enough for deep learning to occur. These events will typically last at least one hour with a minimum of 15 minutes for audience Q&A.

    Films must meet the following criteria:

    1. They must be viewings of culturally, historically, or artistically significant films, or foreign language films. Films that are readily available to students (e.g., mainstream films) must also qualify under the category of Lectures, Panel Discussions, and Forums).

    2. They must be preceded by a robust 30-minute lecture or followed by a structured 30-minute Q&A and discussion on the subject matter of the film led by a qualified speaker.

    Note: For information on copyright and the proper use of digital media, visit the Dacus Library website.

    Readings of poetry and fiction will be selected based on the reader and/or writer’s reputation and credentials. Readings by individual students must be under the faculty direction or have guidance from a faculty member with expertise in the subject area.

    Performances in music, theatre and dance will be selected based on their ability to broaden a students’ appreciation for the performing arts. The reputation and qualifications of the performer(s) will be taken into consideration. Performances in music will be selected on their ability to broaden a student’s musical experience. Performances in musical genres which are part of current popular culture will not be selected unless they qualify under the Lectures, Panel Discussions, and Forums category.

    Performances by individuals or groups of students should be under faculty direction or supervision and have guidance from a faculty with expertise in the area.

    Performances in music, theatre and dance sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts are approved through the Dean’s Office (for more information on CVPA events, e-mail

    Guided discussions of exhibitions of visual art or material culture will be selected based on the reputation and credentials of the artist(s) and/or the individual leading the discussion.

    Exhibitions of visual art by individual students or those sponsored by student organizations should be under faculty direction or have guidance from a faculty member with expertise in that area.

    Guided discussions of exhibitions of visual art or material culture sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts are approved through the Dean’s Office (for more information on CVPA events, e-mail


In general, the following types of events will not be approved:

  • Public service announcements or general information sessions.

  • Traditional career and vocational education events (e.g., career fairs/networking events, resume workshops, etc.).

  • Workshops and training sessions for everyday life skills (e.g., personal financing, time management, etc.).

  • Programs designed specifically for children. Events must be age-appropriate for college students.

  • Private on-campus events. Events which take place on campus (including the Winthrop Coliseum) must be open to all students.

  • Events structured in such ways that prevent attendance from being adequately monitored (e.g., tabling events and halftime shows at sporting events). Outdoor events must take place in an easily monitored area such as the Winthrop Amphitheatre.

  • Marketing events or events that serve primarily to promote a good or service (e.g., trade shows, fundraisers, political rallies, etc.).