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Life on the UMBC Campus
UMBC offers a stimulating intellectual environment that supports a diverse student body in achieving personal and educational goals. This chapter describes the environment in which students study, live and work.
The UMBC campus is ideally locatedå minutes from downtown Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), and it is only 30 miles north of the nation’s capital. Theatre, sports, museums, aquaria, zoos, botanical gardens, restaurants, historic monuments, national treasures, national and regional libraries, research institutes, operas and symphonies are all within a short drive of the campus.
With easy access to all that surrounds it, the campus itself is located in suburban Baltimore. Atlantic beaches are 2.5 hours away to the east, and Appalachian Mountain hiking and ski trails are 2.5 hours to the west, allowing students the opportunity to take advantage of diverse recreational areas.
The UMBC campus is a planned collection of more than 30 major buildings enclosed by a two-mile elliptical drive known as the “the loop.” Nine housing complexes and the dining facility are clustered on one side of the campus. On the other side, a series of modern academic buildings line an esplanade that leads to the center focus of the campus: the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery and The Commons.
The Commons is the perfect place to catch up with friends, meet with study groups or gather between classes. The services and programs presented in and by The Commons promote individual development, responsibility and social competency. They also augment the academic process, celebrate the diversity of the student body, emphasize excellence of service, and enhance campus life and school spirit through cooperative participation and collaboration. A high-tech, wireless facility, The Commons houses a restaurant, meeting rooms, a campus information center, Capital One Bank, a bookstore, Market Street food court, a game room and a cabaret. Offices located here include the Vice President for Student Affairs, Student Life, Commons Administration and Off-campus Student Services. The Student Events Board (SEB), the Student Government Association (SGA) and Graduate Student Association (GSA) also have offices in The Commons. Other student organizations make use of multiple work, storage and meeting spaces.
The Commons Information Center (CIC)
The Commons Information Center (CIC), conveniently located in the lobby, is the first place to go with questions. The CIC maintains information
on campus activities and programs, services and directories, and The Commons operating schedule. UMBCTransit and MTA schedules, local maps, calendars of events and other supplemental materials are available. Laptop computers, which only function within the facility, may be accessed at the CIC. Tickets for major events and organization activities are sold at the CIC; cash or Campus Dollars can be used.
The gameroom, an exciting “hot spot” on the second floor, provides billiards, table tennis, video games, board games, multiple large plasma-screen TVs, music and interesting events.
Commonvision is a state-of-the-art graphic design and specialty printing center. Available services include color or black and white copying; banners, posters and flyers; electronic advertising and video-screen design and high-quality color laser printing. Designs may be submitted by clients or created by talented staff designers. Check the Web at www.umbc.edu/commons/services/commonvision.
The UMBC Bookstore
The UMBC Bookstore, on Main Street, offers required and recommended textbooks and supplies for classroom use. Staff members make every effort to stock both new and used texts. Used textbook buy-backs occur several times each academic year. The store also carries study aids, technical and reference materials, school supplies, lab supplies, computer equipment and software at educational discounts, and UMBC clothing and gift items.
Retriever Activities Center (RAC) Arena
The Retriever Activities Center (RAC) Arena seats more than 3,500 spectators for athletic events, concerts and speakers. Chairback seating is in place in the lower concourse
of the arena. A 0.1-mile jogging track encircles the upper concourse, and both the natatorium (indoor pool) and outdoor pool are located at the north end of the facility.
UMBC’s outdoor facilities include the Stadium Complex, with an artificial-surface field for lacrosse, soccer and field hockey; a track and field complex at the stadium (capacity 4,500); the Soccer Stadium (grass surface); The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC; softball diamond and several practice fields. There are also lighted tennis courts located just outside the RAC.
UMBC is committed to the development of the whole person, both inside and outside the classroom. The Office of Student Life (OSL) provides cocurricular opportunities that will enhance students’ collegiate experience. Research shows that students who are active in student life have a more rewarding college career than those who are not involved; getting involved in cocurricular opportunities will make a difference. The Office of Student Life works closely with UMBC students, faculty and staff to promote and produce major campus events, including Welcome Week, Fall Frenzy, Family Weekend/Homecoming and Quadmania.
UMBC’s academic departments and student affairs division present an array of special lectures, seminars, visual arts exhibitions and performances year-round. The Humanities Forum features regular presentations by noted scholars in a small group setting. The Social Sciences Forum presents topics and perspectives of vital interest to the social-sciences community and beyond. The Honors College hosts a visiting scholar each semester who delivers a public lecture. The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture and the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery offer exhibitions that
bring exciting works of visual art to campus. The Gallery also draws from the university’s extensive photography collections and from faculty and student work. Seminars frequently are offered in conjunction with these exhibitions. The theatre, dance and music departments offer frequent performances by students, faculty and other professional artists.
Student life at UMBC is all about students: students with talent, knowledge, aspirations, concerns, fears, hopes and dreams. Time spent at UMBC can be an amazing journey during which, at every stage, students become a little wiser, clearer about their values, more active and comfortable as part of the UMBC community, and better prepared to make a difference in the world. The more effort put in, the more fulfilling the experience. The Office of Student Life (OSL) helps students get involved, learn, have fun and, above all, create their own paths. Visit the Office of Student Life in Commons 336.
Student Involvement Center (SIC)
The Student Involvement Center (SIC) is the Office of Student Life’s one-stop shop for involvement and leadership opportunities. . The SIC’s professional staff and peer advisors help students to explore and link up with UMBC’s student organizations, identify community-service opportunities, make connections between academic work and campus activities, find resources for personal hobbies and interests or provide assistance with planning events. The SIC is a launching pad for UMBC adventures. Visit the SIC in Commons 2B24.
Joining or forming student organizations helps students form lifelong friendships, get funding and other resources to pursue interests, and make UMBC truly their own. UMBC’s nearly 200 student organizations include departmental councils, Greek letter organizations, cultural and ethnic groups, student media, honors societies, sports clubs, political and social advocacy groups, intellectual sports groups, religious organizations and service clubs. On-campus residents and commuting students both have an organization that makes getting comfortable, connected and involved at UMBC easier. Whether students are interested in animé or the Army, Catholicism or crew, debate or digital gaming, Linux or lacrosse, women’s studies or wrestling, there are others with whom to join.
Student Events Board (SEB)
SEB is the central student-run programming board that produces many of UMBC’s social, cultural and educational events. SEB’s programming lineup has included Third Eye Blind, Wale, Owl City, All American Rejects, Kanye West, N*E*R*D, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle, Ludacris and Good Charlotte. Visit SEB in The Commons 2B23 or at www.umbc.edu/seb, or call 410-455-3618.
Student Government Association (SGA)
Every UMBC undergraduate is a member of SGA. SGA’s elected and appointed officers take responsibility for reaching out to undergraduates and helping them to advocate for their interests and contribute to campus life. SGA also manages the Student Activity Fee, which supports programs, services and student organization activities. Students become part of the SGA by running in a campus-wide election or by applying for one of dozens of appointed positions within departments focused on academic affairs, environmental sustainability, finances, campus services and other issues. To learn more, visit Commons 2B20 or www.umbc.edu/sga.
UMBC is one of the most culturally diverse campuses in the nation. Those interested in learning more about the many cultures represented on campus and connecting with other students interested in cultural issues become involved with the Mosaic Cultural Center. The Center is many things at once: a collection of information and resources; a place for relaxation, friendship and conversation; a resource in developing cultural events and programs; and a support network for people from diverse backgrounds. The Mosiac Center encourages sharing experiences with other students and contributing to UMBC’s rich campus life.
Numerous opportunities exist to create, explore and enjoy art at UMBC. Students in theatre, dance and music frequently perform for campus audiences, as do faculty members and guest artists. UMBC is home to a community symphony orchestra and the Phoenix Repertory Dance Company.
Student and faculty artwork appears in The Commons and at the Albin O. Kuhn Library along with works from a variety of visual artists through a partnership with the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture. Several UMBC student organizations study and produce art in such forms as creative writing, dance and film. In addition, UMBC’s location and transportation service make it easy for students to take advantage of cultural and artistic opportunities throughout the Baltimore-Washington region.
Religion and Spirituality
More than a dozen student organizations are devoted to the study and practice of religion on campus. Students have and create opportunities to conduct prayer services, produce religious festivals, host discussions and meditate in a quiet environment. Those wishing to study and worship with peers or explore religion and spirituality find support at UMBC.
UMBC’s campus life holds exciting opportunities for the aspiring journalist, radio personality or creative writer. The Retriever Weekly, UMBC’s campus student newspaper, covers student life and learning on campus, as well as regional and national issues. Students are responsible for reporting, photography, production, ad sales and management. Copies of The Retriever Weekly are distributed through stands located across campus.
WMBC, our Web-based campus radio station, provides an on-campus, local and international audience with original music programming, sports broadcasts, scholarly presentations, talk shows and public-service announcements.
The creative arts journal, Bartleby, offers students a chance to develop their skills and publishes works in attractive, bound volumes.
Office of Student Life staff and student Leadership Consultants sponsor fall and winter leadership retreats, workshop series and the Black and Gold student leadership awards ceremony. These programs are open to all students. Participants gain a greater understanding of their own personality and values, interpersonal dynamics, cultural issues, management challenges and social change strategies, and develop the confidence to succeed in formal and informal leadership roles. For more information stop by The Commons, Suite 336, call 410-455-3462 or visit www.umbc.edu/studentlife.
Off-campus Student Services (OCSS)
Non-residential students who commute or live in close proximity to the campus are connected through off-campus living and learning networks, referral services, community resource materials and student-peer advisement programs located at the Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS) Resource Center. Commuter Assistants and professional staff are experts at helping students get involved in campus life, finding the latest in campus and community information, organizing study groups and developing community-building programs to connect new, returning or transfer students to the campus.
OCSS Resource Center services include:
- Off-campus housing locator/roommate referral
- Social and learning communities for first-year commuters
- Student-based outreach programs
- Commuter Connection
- Transfer Student Network (TSN)
- Peer Advocates
- Priority Parking and Carpooling Resources
Additional information about these and other off-campus students’ resources are available from OCSS in The Commons Room 309, online at www.umbc.edu/ocss or by phone at 410-455-2770. Off-campus housing links can be found at www.umbc.edu/och.
Transfer Student Network (TSN)
Regardless of the type of institution from which students transfer, the Transfer Student Network (TSN) offers them tools to help navigate life at UMBC. Several student success seminars, social gatherings and academic support resources are presented throughout the year. OCSS also offers an online TSN Blackboard site through which transfer students can share interests, form study groups and communicate with a faculty mentor and community assistants.
Vets 2 Vets
Student veterans and active duty military personnel are supported by the Vets 2 Vets program as they make the transition from “soldier to student.” Vets 2 Vets offers opportunities for social networking and peer mentorship as well as workshops and special events. Additionally, Vets 2 Vets works in collaboration with campus departments, the veterans student organization and the Maryland Vet Center to offer resources and support to UMBC Veterans.
UMBCTransit, the campus shuttle bus system, focuses on the needs of local, off-campus students. Its goal is to provide those students with maximal access to campus for classes, study, research and social events. Regular lines serve large apartment complexes in Catonsville and Arbutus and connect UMBC with MARC train station in Halethorpe and BWI. Weekend service extends to the Westview-area shops, Arundel Mills mall and connecting service to the Greenbelt Metro station. Special trips to Baltimore and other local points of interest expand student leisure options. Charter services are available for student organization events. For more information please visit us at www.umbc.edu/transit or call 410.455.2454
Sports and Recreation
All UMBC teams compete on the NCAA Division I level. UMBC is affiliated with both the America East Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). The Intercollegiate Athletic Program offers the following teams:
- Men’s and women’s basketball
- Men’s and women’s cross country
- Men’s and women’s lacrosse
- Men’s and women’s soccer
- Men’s and women’s swimming and diving
- Men’s and women’s tennis
- Men’s and women’s track and field
Pep band, dance squad, cheerleaders and student trainers are all part of the athletic department.
UMBC students are admitted free to all athletic events upon presentation of a valid ID.
The Retriever Activities Center (RAC) provides the UMBC campus community with extensive opportunities for recreational activities.
Many students find relaxation in the RAC, where a range of recreational activities — including competitive intramural sport activities, open recreation and pool time, free group fitness sessions and various club sports are sponsored. Other amenities of the RAC include locker room facilities for both men and women and an expanded lobby with a pro shop and ticket booth. Students have access to all of these activities at no additional charge, but they must bring a valid UMBC student ID during each visit to gain access.
Intramural activities allow students of various skill levels and interests to compete with other UMBC students. Competitive intramural activities include soccer, softball, flag football, tennis, basketball, floor hockey and volleyball.
Entry forms, rules and sign-up times are available in the Office of Recreational Sports (RAC 321) and through the Web site www.umbc.edu/recsports.
The RAC also serves as home to nearly two dozen club sports, allowing students of more advanced skill levels to engage in intercollegiate competition. Popular sports include men’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s rugby, crew, ice hockey, fencing, sailing and martial arts. Open recreation time allows all students the opportunity to engage in fitness-related activity. The RAC includes a cardio-balcony with 48 pieces of state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment ranging from treadmills to Stairclimbers.
The 3,000-square-foot fitness studio is capable of hosting activities such as group fitness, wrestling, fencing and martial arts. A synthetic surface and divider curtains allow the RAC gymnasium to host up to three activities simultaneously, including tennis, volleyball, batting cage, floor hockey and basketball.
The weight room features 27 Body Master weight machines, 20 free-weight stations with plates and dumbbells, and mtvU. The pre-existing area of the RAC contains three full-court basketball courts or two volleyball courts; a 0.1-mile indoor track and a natatorium with an eight-lane, 25-meter pool and separate diving well.
Outdoor recreation facilities include tennis courts; softball, flag football and soccer fields; volleyball; an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor 400-meter track.
Schedules and other additional information can be obtained from the front desk of the RAC, by calling 410-455-8888 or from the Web site www.umbc.edu/recsports.
Living on Campus
Living on campus helps students become more closely involved in the many academic, social and recreational activities that are integral to the university experience. UMBC offers housing convenient to classes, campus activities and university resources. Included as part of the on-campus living experience are the programs, services and leadership opportunities provided by the residential life staff.
Suites, singles, triples and four bedroom apartments are available. All rooms are carpeted and feature self-controlled heating and air conditioning. Campus and local phone service, cable television and connections to a computer network are included. Conveniences include laundry, ice and vending machines. All of the residence halls and apartments provide a co-educational living environment and several academic livinglearning communities are available. 24-hour service desk coverage is provided in the residence halls.
Susquehanna, Chesapeake, Patapsco and Potomac Halls are suite-style living arrangements with two double rooms connected by a shared bathroom. Typically, students share a bathroom with no more than 3 other students. In Erickson and Harbor Halls, students live in suites that also have a shared living room/common area. Lounges on each floor provide additional places for study or socializing with friends. A resident assistant (RA), a fellow student specially selected and trained, is available on each floor to assist students in adjusting to college life. RAs also work with students to provide social and educational programs that help students get to know one another, develop important life skills and have fun, too.
West Hill, Terrace and Hillside communities are available to students beginning their second year and to students who are admitted to the university as transfer students. The apartments are open continuously from the beginning of the fall semester until the end of the spring semester. These garden-style apartments accommodate students in four-bedroom apartments featuring single bedrooms, a study/living room, kitchen and bathroom. Each apartment has self-controlled heating and air conditioning and students share the monthly utility charges. Apartment kitchens are equipped with refrigerators, stovetops and either microwaves or oven units. RAs live in each community to assist students and help plan activities. The apartment communities are co-ed, containing apartments for women and men within the same building. Accommodations for students with disabilities who need special accommodations are available in both residence halls and apartments. Through a private partnership, housing is also available at Walker Avenue Apartments to full-time resident students in privately managed apartments. Two-, three- or four- (single) bedroom units with kitchens, washers and driers make these apartments an attractive option for upper-class and graduate students looking for year-round housing.
Eligibility and Application for On-campus Housing
To be eligible to live on campus at UMBC, a student needs to be admitted and enrolled as a full-time student at UMBC. Application for admission to UMBC and application for housing are two separate application procedures.
It is important to apply early for housing. Incoming freshmen who apply and return their deposits for housing by May 1 are guaranteed housing. Students already living in the residence halls or apartments, and whose university bill is paid by the specified date, are guaranteed a space in campus housing for the next academic year.
Various academic departments sponsor residential living-learning programs. These residentially-based academic programs ensure that students engage with faculty, staff and other students in intellectual discussion outside of the classroom. Information on these programs is available through the following offices: Residential Life, Undergraduate Education and Undergraduate Admissions. Established living-learning programs include: Aspiring Teachers; Shriver (community service focus); Intercultural Living Exchange; Humanities; Visual and Performing Arts; Center for Women and Information Technology; Women Involved in Leadership and Learning; Exploratory Majors and Honors.
There are five conveniently located facilities that serve the entire campus community.
Open seven days a week during the academic year for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night meals, Monday through Friday, and for brunch and dinner on weekends.
Outtakes Quick Cuisine C-Store is located in True Grit’s and provides guests with a wide variety of snacks, convenience items, beverages, ice cream, candy and more. This location is open 23½ hours, seven days a week. It closes from 2:00 to 2:30 am daily.
The Commons Food Court
There are a wide variety of choices in The Commons. The Market Street food court, open Monday - Thursday from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am to 2:00 pm during the academic year, offers a wide range of choices, including Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, Jow Jing Asian and Olo Sushi, Au Bon Pain, Gelahto, Fresh Fusions, and Outtakes Food to Go.
Mesquite Ranch BBQ and Grill, on the mezzanine level, is open 7:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 7:30 am to 1:00 am on Friday and 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. Mondo Subs is open Monday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm and Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
The Skylight Room, located on the third floor offers restaurant-style seating during the weekdays from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm
The University Center
Chick-fil-A and Starbucks Coffee are located in The University Center. Open Monday through Thursday 7:30 am to 7:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am to 3:00 pm
The Library Lobby Pura Vida Café
Organic Fair Trade Coffee can be purchased at the Pura Vida Café in the lobby of the AOK library, open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Friday, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday and 11:00 am to 10:00 pm Sunday.
Administration Building Coffee Shoppe
The Coffee Shoppe, located on the ground floor of the Administration Building, open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm and features great entrees at Chef's Table, wonderful sandwiches at Wheat Street Deli and Dunkin Donuts Coffee. Additionally, our signature Outtakes Food to Go options can also be found here.
Cars on Campus
All students, residential and non-residential, may have a car on campus. Freshmen on-campus residents are required to park at satellite parking during the heaviest parking times of weekdays. Students will receive a parking permit and a copy of UMBC’s Parking and Traffic Regulations in the mail after registering, or they may pick them up at Parking Services. Faculty and staff who drive to campus also pay the same parking permit fee and can obtain a parking permit and Parking and Traffic Regulations from the Cashier’s Office. Regulations are enforced on all university calendar days. Posted and restricted areas are enforced at all times.
UMBC employs a force of sworn police officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A campus escort service is available from dusk to dawn to accompany students around campus and to and from their residence halls. Emergency bluelight phones, located around the campus, are directly connected to the UMBC police station.
For emergencies, please call 410-455-5555, or from the campus, dial extension 5-5555.
Student Judicial Programs
Student Judicial Programs support the university’s dedication to student success and its educational purposes and goals by publishing, enforcing, drafting and interpreting standards of student behavior and related policies and procedures. The office also facilitates student and community developmental and ethical growth opportunities promoting personal integrity, civility,
self-responsibility, citizenship and appreciation for diversity and works to maintain a safe and productive environment supporting the university’s educational purpose and the students’ educational goals. Finally, Student Judicial Programs promotes the privileges and responsibilities associated with a student’s affiliation with the university.
The office oversees the UMBC judicial system, which is an internal administrative process used by the university to resolve allegations of misconduct made against our students. UMBC students are responsible for knowing and abiding by all university rules and regulations. The Code of Student Conduct lists specific rules and processes used to adjudicate incidents of misconduct. The university is committed to providing a safe and productive environment. To that end, the university responds firmly to misconduct involving drugs, alcohol, weapons, hate crimes, assaults and sexual assaults, and harassment and sexual harassment.
University Health Services (UHS)
University Health Services is staffed by skilled, caring professionals who help students focus on their health and wellbeing. Nationally certified nurse practitioners are the heart of clinical services. Board-certified physicians from the University of Maryland Medical System provide primary care, consultation and emergency on-call services. Health educators work hand-in-hand with clinical staff to provide the information that students need to take care of themselves. (See confidentiality requirements.)
UHS clinical services are designed to provide holistic, high-quality primary and urgent-care services. These include diagnosis and treatment of acute illnesses and injuries; treatment and monitoring of chronic illnesses under the direction of a private physician; immunizations, including chicken pox, MMR, Td, meningitis and hepatitis A and B; preventive and routine gynecological care; allergy shots under the direction of a private allergist; and limited laboratory testing and pharmacy services.
Students are encouraged to make appointments to be seen at UHS. Walk-in visits are permitted but might require more time.
UHS charges for visits, procedures and lab work using Baltimore-area “usual and customary fees.” UHS is a participating provider with many health insurance companies. Co-pays, if applicable, will be collected and insurance companies billed for the balance of charges for services provided. A “prompt pay” discount is available to students who lack health insurance or who wish to pay for services at the time of a visit. UHS fees may be paid by UMBC Campus Card or charged to a student’s account maintained by the Bursar’s Office.
Spring and fall semester hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Winter and summer sessions are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Twenty-four-hour emergency services are available by calling University Police at extension 5-5555 or 911 off campus.
UHS is located on the ground floor of Erickson Hall, Center Road. For more information, call 410-455-2542.
University Counseling Services (UCS)
UCS provides professional psychological services designed to support the academic, personal and career goals of UMBC students. Services include short-term, group and substance abuse counseling. UCS refers students to area mental health providers when long-term counseling or counseling for services outside its scope of expertise is needed. (See confidentiality requirements.)
Workshops and Career Issues
UCS offers self-help resources and success workshops on topics related to academic achievement and personal growth, including anxiety, stress management and procrastination. Career counseling helps students choose or change majors and career paths.
All UCS services are provided or supervised by licensed mental health professionals. A consulting psychiatrist provides psychiatric services to clients referred for consultation by a UCS counselor.
Typical Concerns for Contacting UCS for Therapy:
- Problems adjusting to college life
- Desire to understand and feel better about oneself
- Feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping
- Inability to make decisions
- Procrastination or time management
- Academic anxiety
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulties in interpersonal relationships, including family
- Loneliness or depression
- Sexual orientation or identity concerns
- Alcohol or drug concerns
- Body image concerns or eating disorders.
Scholarships for Returning Women
UCS administers scholarships for returning women. Contact UCS for information on or deadlines for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Scholarship or the Rosalie Tydings Business and Professional Scholarship.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evening hours may be available by request. After regular business hours, a counselor on call may be reached by calling University Police at 410455-5555.
UCS is located in the Math/ Psychology Building, room 201A. For more information, call 410-455-2472.
Confidentiality: UMBC policy, consistent with Maryland State Health and Mental Health Laws and Regulations for health and mental health professionals and facilities, requires confidentiality of information shared with staff of UHS and UCS. Information concerning individuals who have been seen at UHS and UCS may not be released on campus or off campus without the prior written consent of the individual (or parent or legal guardian if younger than age 18), except in certain legally defined circumstances.