On-Campus Cable Television Channel Allocation and Operation


This policy applies to the closed-circuit television system on the Fairfax Campus.


George Mason’s closed-circuit television system serves the campus community by offering entertainment and informative programming, and by providing an opportunity for learning and experience.  The cable channel allocation policy will guide the campus community in requesting to use a channel, whether for short- or long-term use.


“Campus Cable System” is the closed-circuit cable television system provided on the Fairfax Campus to: residential students who pay a user fee which is included in room and board fee; campus offices and units that install the service and pay a monthly subscriber fee to George Mason; and cable-ready jacks and television sets in selected public areas.

“Local Origination Channels” are channels 7 through 38 on the campus cable system and are available to be programmed by George Mason.

“External Entertainment Channels” are channels distributed as 39 through 78, purchased from Cox Communications on a contract basis.

“Channel holders” are those offices, units, or student organizations approved for operation of a local origination cable channel.


A. The Office of University Life

The Office of University Life is responsible for management of the system, including channel selection, channel allocation, and administrative oversight.

Eligibility for Local Channel Allocation

All Mason locally generated channels are reserved for use by the members of the George Mason community: faculty, staff, and students.

Under the following local channel allocation policy, a channel can be assigned to an academic unit, university office, or recognized student group; a student organization would first apply to be part of Student Media.  The unit requesting a cable channel must demonstrate the means to program the channel appropriately, install the equipment, and maintain the channel.

Application Procedure

A request should be submitted to the Vice President for University Life for consideration by a review committee.  The written proposal should include:

a) The organization responsible for the cable channel;

b) Description of how the programming opportunity on the campus cable meets the group’s mission and the mission of the university;

c) An explanation of how the proposal meets the needs of the campus audience;

d) An outline of the programming proposed; and

e) Description of how the channel holder intends to meet technical requirements.

The review committee will be appointed by the Vice President for University Life and include two student representatives from Housing and Residence Life, a staff member from GMU-TV, and a representative from University Life.  Review committees will be established as requests warrant.

Operations and Review

Channel holders should anticipate an annual review process.  Student groups, as part of Student Media, will have annual budget review and leadership elections; non-student groups will follow guidelines from the Vice President for University Life.

B. The Office of Housing and Residential Life

The Office of Housing and Residential Life, in collaboration with the Residential Student Association, will be responsible for review and selection of programming on the entertainment channels, according to the terms of the contract with the cable provider.

C. Information Technology Services, Enterprise Infrastructure

The cable distribution head-end is physically located in the Johnson Center, with maintenance and technical support provided by the Information Technology Services, Enterprise Infrastructure.


A. Guidelines for Program Content

George Mason University is a learning community committed to freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas.  That opportunity comes with the responsibility to treat all members of our community with respect and civility, and maintain a safe and free campus environment.

The channel holder is responsible for content on its channel. Some important principles to consider:

1. Programming should not substantially duplicate another local channel.

2. All programming must take the audience into consideration, and be defined by the needs and interests of the campus audience.

3. Channel holder must provide original programming in addition to any syndicated or pre-packaged programming in order to meet the needs of the campus audience.

4. An interested channel holder might consider sharing a channel with another unit in order to provide consistent programming throughout the day.

5. Costs must be borne by the channel holder since cable fees are included in the Room and Board cost approved by the Board of Visitors annually and do not allow for a pay-per-view structure.

6. Channel holder must develop guidelines for content decisions, taking into account University policies, including those found in official University Policies, Student Handbook, and other policies, as well as applicable local, state, and federal laws.

7. Channel holder is responsible for clearances for use of all material.

a) The University’s contract for ASCAP, BMI and SESAC licensing requires a separate fee for cable origination; local channel holders may need to share in cost.

b) Some outside programming has restrictions about public viewing. However, all channels are received at all campus cable drops and are therefore available for public viewing.

c) Releases for appearances must be collected and maintained by the channel holder.

B. Technology Requirements

In addition to its responsibility for content, the channel holder must satisfy technical requirements. The channel holder:

1. Must provide and house in its own space the equipment necessary for remote origination of programming.

2. Is responsible for routing the signal to the cable head-end in the Johnson Center via fiber; this requires transmitter/receiver units installed by ITS.

3. Must provide personnel to troubleshoot technical problems.

4. Is responsible for producing its local programming. Production facilities and resources on campus are limited, and the channel holder is responsible for training and overseeing its production staff.

5. Is responsible for meeting industry standards for the audio and video signal.


Violations of the conditions set forth in this policy may result in the suspension of the privilege.


All amendments to this policy are to be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for University Life.


This policy is effective August 1, 2003.  This policy shall be reviewed by the Vice President for University Life annually, and revised if necessary, to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date approved: July 28, 2003

Revised February 17, 2017