Policies, code of conduct, and non-UMN use agreement

All guests of Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories are expected to read and comply with the station's policies and code of conduct. Because of our location within Itasca State Park, station users are also required to comply with all Minnesota State Park Rules. Non-compliance with IBSL policies, code of conduct, or State Park Rules may result in disciplinary action. In addition, station users are encouraged to view our Life at the Station tab for general guidelines and information about living at the station.

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Station Policies

Additional guests

Overnight guests of registered station users are not allowed. Anyone staying overnight at the station must be registered through IBSL@umn.edu and will be charged the daily station use fee.

Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs 

The consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited in public places on the Itasca campus, including all laboratories and classroom buildings, student bunkhouses, the Biome Center, Assembly/Dining hall, campfire areas, playing fields, parking lots, and ALL other public indoor and outdoor areas. In compliance with the UMN Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus and Drug Free University Policies, smoking is not permitted on campus and recreational use of THC containing products is not allowed. 


Checkout is by 10:00 am unless other arrangements have been made through IBSL@umn.edu. Prior to departure, you must: 

  • Place trash in outside collection bins near your cabin by 8am for pickup
  • Take recycling to the central collection bins near Cabin 2 
  • Sweep cabin; clean and put all dishes away 
  • Close windows and turn off lights

A $50.00 surcharge may be applied if your living quarters are left in an unsuitable condition.

Dining Hall 

Attend all meals you have arranged to take at the dining hall. If you must miss a meal, notify the dining hall at least 24-hours in advance on the signout sheet posted on the stairs between the Dining Hall and Assembly Hall. To be added to meals, email IBSL@umn.edu at least 24-hours’ in advance. All children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult through the buffet line. Special diet meals are reserved for only those who have made prior arrangements with station staff. 


Labs and classrooms are for designated users only. Users must follow all posted lab policies. If you have not reserved a lab/classroom, do not enter these spaces. They are not common spaces.

Park Regulations

We are inside Itasca State Park; all individuals at the station are subject to Park regulations. Park Rangers and local law enforcement patrol the station. Other than the Main Park Drive, the Park closes at 10pm, including the swim beach, picnic grounds, and all trails. State Park quiet hours begin at 10 pm and end at 8 am. See the MN DNR website for a full list of State Park regulations.

Pets and Service Animals

Pets, including support animals, are not allowed at the station due to allergen and cleaning considerations in our close communal living setting. Those who do not follow this policy will be asked to leave immediately, and those using station overnight lodging will be charged a $200 minimum cleaning fee. Trained service animals are permitted, but station staff must be notified before arrival so arrangements can be made. See the UMN Policy on Animals on Campus for definitions of support and service animals.


All vehicles are required to display a Minnesota State Park sticker. The speed limit on station roads is 10 MPH. Driving or parking on the grass is prohibited. Station vehicles may be driven only by those who have been authorized by IBSL staff.


Pontoons, motorboats, and John/V-hull boats are for field courses or research purposes only, and their use must be pre-arranged with IBSL staff (see the IBSL Pontoon and Motorboat Protocol for more information). Registered station users have access to canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. Use these watercraft at your own risk. Minnesota law requires one U.S. Coast Guard approved, properly sized, and easily accessible life jacket for each person on the boat. All children under ten are required to wear an approved life jacket when the boat is underway. While not required by law, we recommend that everyone wear a life jacket when on the water. All participants in station sponsored water activities will be required to wear a life jacket. Station boats are not permitted on the lake after dark. See our Health and Safety page for more information about waterfront safety.

Code of Conduct

Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories (IBSL) is committed to fostering research, education, and community engagement in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

We have strong connections to nature and to our community, and we are proud to curate a space for creative scientific thinking that naturally relaxes social anxiety. We value our environment, our community, open dialog, and scientific excellence. We value the unique backgrounds that IBSL users bring to the station. Our goal is to share and foster these values, irrespective of comfort level in wilderness, experience in science, funding success, citations, publications, etc. We also want Itasca to be as accessible as our resources will allow, no matter race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. 

We recognize, however, that there are multiple barriers that can limit who arrives at a ‘table we make round,’ particularly at a remote field station like Itasca. We know, from the collective experiences of field stations, that a remote station used to foster more relaxed social interactions is also prone to the formation of ‘in crowds’ and to slips in behavior. Because of this, IBSL strives to actively create a community of respect and prevent discrimination and harassment. 

Everyone at IBSL, including all researchers, instructors, students, employees, and visitors, are expected to adhere to the following Code of Conduct:

Expected Behavior

  • Act ethically and with integrity
  • Foster an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive community
  • Treat all with fairness and respect
  • Extend this same respect to the natural and built environment
  • Promote physical and mental health and safety 
  • Respect IBSL’s and fellow residents' personal property and space
  • Promote a culture of compliance with IBSL policies, State Park rules, and local, state and federal laws.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behaviors are unacceptable at all times -- not just when classes, fieldwork, and other professional activities are in session. 

IBSL will take disciplinary action for the following offenses:

  • Sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence*
  • Discrimination*
  • Retaliation
  • Physical or verbal abuse 
  • Hazardous behavior that endangers yourself or someone else
  • Creation of a hostile work environment and/or interfering with an individual’s participation in the program for which they are here
  • Unethical research, including falsification of data or information
  • Scholastic dishonesty
  • Unauthorized use, including misuse, of IBSL facilities, equipment, or services
  • Non-compliance with IBSL policies, State Park rules, or illegal behavior, including unauthorized possession, use, or sharing of weapons, drugs, or alcohol, theft, property damage, or vandalism

*For full definitions, see the University Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence (https://policy.umn.edu/hr/sexharassassault) and the University Discrimination Policy (https://policy.umn.edu/hr/discrimination).

Sanctions for Unacceptable Behavior

Sanctions will be commensurate with the nature and severity of the offense, whether violations have been persistent, and the impact of the offense on any other people involved. Sanctions may include one or more of the following:

  • Warning
  • Probation
  • Confiscation of goods possessed, used, or shared in an illegal or unauthorized manner
  • Restitution
  • Reassignment of work activities
  • Paid or unpaid leave of absence
  • Suspension or expulsions from IBSL facilities (e.g., lodging) or its equipment (e.g., vehicles)
  • Termination of employment

Reporting misconduct**

Report suspected or alleged misconduct to any or all of the following:

**If you report suspected or alleged misconduct, the University of Minnesota has a policy that will protect you from retaliation. Note that all University employees are required to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX office.

The following actions are considered minor infractions. Repeated occurrences will be considered major infractions and will not be tolerated:

  • Disregard for quiet hours
  • Smoking inside any building
  • Dangerous/reckless driving
  • Disregard for the physical property of others
  • Inconsiderate and offensive behavior
  • Entering restricted areas, such as the kitchen or unoccupied cabins
  • Microaggressions based on age, color, disability, genetics, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, nationality, parenthood, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Group Cancellation Policy

For groups eating in the dining hall with 10 or more people, there is a 21-day cancellation policy.

Dining hall reservations canceled 21 or more calendar days in advance will not be charged. However, if you cancel less than 21 days before your stay, you will be expected to pay for 50% of your expected dining hall bill. Similarly, if your group size decreases with less than 21 days' notice, you will be charged for the full rate of your initial group size.

Group leaders are responsible for informing IBSL@umn.edu of cancellations within their groups, and communicating this policy to their participants.

Facility Use Agreement and Proof of Insurance for Non-UMN visitors

All non-University of Minnesota groups must sign a Facilities Use Agreement and provide proof of insurance prior to occupancy at the station. This proof of insurance must show general liability coverage with limits of not less than $1,000,000, naming Regents of the University of Minnesota as an additional insured. Email ibsl@umn.edu to prepare the Facilities Use Agreement, and consult with your organization to procure the appropriate proof of insurance.

Facility Use Agreement

The Facility Use Agreement (FUA) details:

  • all cabins and lab and/or classrooms spaces that are reserved for a non-UMN visitor or group
  • station fees due to the station based on the number of visitors
  • meals arranged to be provided by the station's dining hall

Non-UMN visitors should attempt to accurately describe their rental need and group size for the preparation of the FUA. However, all visitors will be charged for actual space usage at the station, and the agreed upon number of meals to be provided by the station dining hall prior to the 3-week deadline, in accordance with the station's published rates.

Acceptable Proof of Insurance Options

  • Certificate of Insurance: Many organizations have Commercial General Liability Insurance. Groups from an organization that carries their own insurance may provide a Certificate of Insurance evidencing general liability coverage with limits of not less than $1,000,000, naming Regents of the University of Minnesota as an additional insured. 
  • Letter of Self-Insurance: State and other governmental agencies that are self-insured can provide a letter stating that fact, and the coverage limits for such insurance, on departmental letterhead to satisfy the proof of insurance requirement.
  • Tulip coverage: If a group does not have its own coverage, it may purchase Tenant User’s Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP). This program is designed for third-party facility users who need to purchase general liability insurance for an event. TULIP is a General Liability policy that protects both the facility user and the University. The policy provides coverage for bodily and personal injury or property damage arising out of the use of University premises by external users. Tulip Coverage Instructions