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Policy Regarding Use of the Oval

The front entrance of Stanford University and the Oval.
Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

The Oval is the official visual entrance to the Stanford University campus.  Given its historic and aesthetic status, the University maintains this special open space and endeavors to preserve its natural beauty and environmental integrity.

Private Property

Stanford University is private property and the Oval represents the formal academic image of the university, leading directly to its departments, classrooms and other academic space, faculty and graduate student offices.  Because of its location, historically, aesthetically, and academically, the University prohibits formal or informal events of any kind taking place in the Oval. Gatherings such as demonstrations/rallies/dances, may take place in White Plaza. Weddings and memorials are not allowed in the Oval, but may under certain circumstances take place in Stanford’s Memorial Church.

Pedestrian Zone

The Oval is considered a pedestrian zone and appropriate use of its space includes walking, jogging, reading, relaxing and other limited recreational use of the lawn area – such as quiet, very small picnics and frisbee exchange – unless or until such use damages or otherwise harms the property. No group or organized sporting events are allowed such as cycling, volleyball or soccer for example.

Prohibited Uses

Cooking food or use of any grill/barbecue or open flame is strictly prohibited on or around the Oval. Fireworks or the use of other incendiary devices represent a safety hazard to the area and are therefore prohibited. Amplified sound from items such as music boxes, musical instruments, or the use of bullhorns or amplified speakers is also prohibited.


Only authorized Stanford service vehicles are permitted inside the Oval areas. The Oval does not provide public parking.  Only university permitted parking access in the marked areas surrounding the outer perimeter of the Oval is permitted. Specific, limited vendor deliveries are allowed with permission.

Tour Busses

Commercial tour busses of any kind are strictly prohibited in the Oval at any time. Tour bus operators found in violation of Stanford parking policies on the Oval and/or failing to adhere to university tour bus policies will be cited and may be banned from Stanford property.  Tour bus protocols, parking locations, and fee information can be found on the Stanford Transportation website.


For further information regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Special Events & Protocol, University External Relations at 650-724-1387 or