Student Organization Policy and Procedures
(Adapted, in part, from the Louisiana State University Agricultural and Mechanical College Student Organization Handbook)
Registration of a student organization does not imply control of, support for or agreement with the organization's purposes, goals or philosophy. Participation in student organizations is voluntary.
For official university rules and regulations consult the Student Conduct Code, university policy statements and permanent memoranda. Information included is subject to change. Student organizations should consult the university website for updates on policies and procedures, and always consult with the appropriate university personnel when clarification is needed.
REQUIREMENTS OF BECOMING A REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATION
A group of 10 or more currently enrolled students may form a registered student organization by following these steps:
- Complete a registration form
- Secure a full-time faculty/professional staff advisor
- Develop a constitution and bylaws to govern the organization and ensure an electronic version is on file with the director of student activities
- Limit group membership to students, faculty and staff at LSUS
- Extend membership without biases prohibited by applicable law, including but not limited to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, disability, marital status or sexual preference
- Agree to conduct organization affairs in accordance with institutional regulations
"Provisional authorization" may be granted to an organization interested in forming. Other rules and regulations regarding campus organizations are outlined in these guidelines and may be found in the University Policies and Procedures section of the LSUS website. Other questions may be directed to the director of student activities.
BENEFITS OF BECOMING A REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATION
A registered student organization has the privilege of using on-campus facilities, raising funds, sponsoring speakers and public performances and distributing literature. Other benefits include:
- The official registration by Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the privilege of associating itself as a registered student organization at LSUS.
- Use of the University Center's meeting rooms free of charge (restrictions apply) and use of the facilities, most of which are discounted for student organizations.
- Inclusion in the student activities' database, which serves as a resource center for those seeking involvement in student organizations.
- The stability of a written constitution (and bylaws).
- A full-time faculty/staff advisor available for counsel and support.
- A free mailbox for the registered student organization in the University Center.
- Invitations to join in the Week of Welcome, Fall Fest, Welcome Back Bash, Spring Fling or other organization events.
- Information on events on campus and how to sponsor, fund and seek additional funds for your events.
- Access to the Leadership Resource Library, which contains leadership resource materials, icebreakers, programming and activities magazines in the University Center Office.
- Membership and representation on the Student Organization Council.
INFORMATION THAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE CONSTITUTION
From: Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised(10th ed.), p 13, I . 1-16.
Ordinarily, every constitution contains articles covering these subjects:
- Name of the organization
- Its Object (Purpose)
- Executive Board (if needed)
- Parliamentary authority to be followed by the organization
- Amendments (prescribing procedure for making changes to the constitution)
- Registration Renewal
It is possible that the particular nature of an organization may require additional basic rules that should be added to the above list for that organization.
RE-REGISTERING A STUDENT ORGANIZATION
Every registered student organization must re-register by the first Friday in October and any time any of the officers or advisor(s) change. The steps to re-register an organization are as follows:
- Obtain the registration forms from the University Center Office or online
- Update the authorized officers or representatives form
- Ensure that the authorized officers or representatives form is signed by the president and advisor
Failure to return the forms by the deadline results in the organization's loss of privileges to use university facilities until the registration form is completed.
LSUS HONOR SOCIETY POLICIES
LSUS Honor Societies are organizations that recognize students who excel academically or as leaders among their peers, often within a specific academic discipline. Many honor societies invite students to become members based on the scholastic rank) and/or grade point averages of those students, either overall, or for classes taken within the discipline for which the honor society provides recognition. As a result, honor societies are different from student organizations and will be considered a registered honor society at LSUS when the below registration policies are complete.
Registration Requirements of Student Honor Societies:
Each honor society must meet the requirements of registration:
An honor society must complete and turn in a registration form to the Student Activities Office in the University Center by the second Student Organizations Council (SOC) meeting of the year. (First Friday in October)
An honor society must list its current student members.
An honor society must have a full-time faculty or staff advisor.
An honor society must have 2 copies of its current National Honor Society’s constitution on file in the Student Activities Office, a hard copy and an electronic copy.
Once the honor society has fulfilled all of the registration requirements, it is considered a registered honor society and is entitled to the benefits a registered organization is offered.
REPRESENTING A STUDENT ORGANIZATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY
Only the officers listed on the Authorized Representative Sheet may represent the organization in official relations with the university. Only these members are permitted to make room reservations, schedule events, reserve tables or banner space and conduct other business on behalf of the organization.
ORGANIZATIONS USE OF THE NAME OF THE UNIVERSITY OR LSUS INDICIA
The Media and Public Relations Office promotes, protects and regulates the university's name and identifying marks. These marks include the name, logos, seal and all identifying marks, symbols and slogans associated with LSUS. Prior written permission is required through the Media and Public Relations Office for use of the university's name or marks for anything other than official university purposes. The following applies to student groups and organizations.
A registered student organization may use the university name in its title, publications or letterhead to show its status as a registered student organization at LSUS, but may not use the name in a manner as to create confusion between it as an organization and the university itself nor in a manner that would in any way constitute an endorsement, approval or underwriting of any organization, product, activity, service or contract by Louisiana State University in Shreveport. The general rule is that the university name cannot precede the name of the organization. Examples include: Permissible: Pilot Club at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Pilot Club at LSUS. Not Permissible: Louisiana State University in Shreveport Pilot Club, LSUS Pilot Club. If a sport club uses the word "team" within its title, it may only do so when the words "sport club" precedes the word "team" in order to separate sport clubs from athletic teams: Permissible: Pilot Sport Club Team at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Not Permissible: LSUS Pilot Team. The correct reference to LSUS is by Louisiana State University in Shreveport or LSUS. "Louisiana State" is not acceptable.
Registered student organizations or club teams may not use the university seal or logos on letterheads, business cards or other identifying materials. A sport club team may, however, utilize a university mark as part of its uniform, provided the item is not issued or made available by sale or otherwise to anyone other than team members. Registered student organizations may receive permission to utilize a university mark for special use, such as a commemorative item that is for members use only. Contact the Media and Public Relations Office for review of such proposed use.
Should an item bearing the registered marks of the university be sold to anyone other than the membership of a registered student organization or sport club team, it becomes a commercial use of the mark and is subject to a license agreement. For example, if the Pilot Club at LSUS decides to use the marks of the university on its uniform, it may do so only subject to approval by the Media and Public Relations Office.
GUIDELINES A STUDENT ORGANIZATION MUST FOLLOW WHEN REPRESENTING THE UNIVERSITY IN AN OFFICIAL CAPACITY
Registered student organizations, which represent the university in intercollegiate competition, public performances, fund raising projects, printed literature or any other endeavor, whether on or off-campus will be subject to the Student Conduct Code.
ORGANIZATION'S USE OF CAMPUS MAIL
Registered student organizations are allowed to use university mail service for free when sending mail from one campus address to another campus address. Student organizations must pay for postage in advance if mailing items to an off campus address.
- Clarify his/her role as advisor to the group members as he/she sees it; once understood, there should be fewer problems due to misunderstanding regarding roles and responsibilities.
- Be aware of and follow university policies that govern registered student organizations.
- Encourage and assist the group in setting organization goals and activities.
- Be available to the officers of the organization for consultation.
- Encourage the officers to maintain accurate records.
- Stay up-to-date on what is occurring within the organization.
- Assist the officers in understanding their duties and organizing programs.
- Advise and consult organization officers on budgets and other financial affairs.
- Attend a Student Organization Council training meeting on an annual basis.
- Promote involvement and discussion.
- Attend meetings as often as possible.
- Promote diversity within the organization.
- Teach the art of leadership.
- Help bridge the year-to-year change in officers.
- Maintain objectivity in group decisions, activities or goals.
- Provide continuity to the organization's policies, programs and traditions.
- Have a genuine interest in and concern for students and their growth.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS
The University Center staff maintains current information on each registered student organization, its officers or authorized representatives, its purpose and its advisor. A student interested in contacting an organization can find that information by contacting the UC staff. Each year a list of current organizations is published giving the names of the groups according to nine categories.
Academic/Professional: Academic and professional organizations provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss and share information related to a specific academic field, topic or interest. These organizations offer a network between students with a common interest.
Governing: Governing organizations are primarily involved in coordinating campus activities and supporting the function of campus-wide populations. These governing bodies serve as representatives for the student body.
Greek: Greek life is composed of social fraternal or sorority organizations. Social fraternal organizations are composed of all male members. Social sorority organizations are composed of all female members. Both social organizations encourage academic achievement, leadership and community service. Membership is by invitation only, but recruitment is open to all students.
Honorary: Honorary organizations recognize high levels of academic achievement and generally require a demonstrated interest in a particular career or academic discipline. Organizations may also recognize achievement in leadership or community service.
Religious: Religious organizations assist in the spiritual development, instruction and fellowship of students.
Service: Service organizations focus on outreach efforts for the campus as well as community projects. Service organizations are a way to give back to the community and gain experience in your field.
Special Interest: Special interest organizations encourage students to discuss and share information regarding a particular area of interest.
Sport: Sport organizations encourage participation in sport activities. They also aid in the development of skills, knowledge and support of a particular sport or leisure activity.
NAME CHANGE TO A REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATION
To change the name of an organization, a student officer must submit the following information to the director of student activities:
- Updated registration form
- Updated constitution that reflects the change of name
TAX ID NUMBER AND CHECKING ACCOUNT FOR REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATION
Registered student organizations in need of a checking account must first apply for a tax identification number through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS Form SS-4). A student officer can apply online at http://www.tax9er.com/tax_id_number/. Once the tax identification number has been assigned, a student officer must fill out the appropriate forms with a local bank to receive the checking account. Registered student organizations at LSUS are encouraged to use Campus Federal Credit Union.
WEB PAGES FOR REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Student organizations desiring a website should create and fund their own separate from the LSUS site. However, LSUS student organizations interested in providing relevant information for posting on LSUS's student organizations website, (www.lsus.edu/studentorganizations) may contact the University Center Office at 318-797-5393.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
- It is the responsibility of the members of student organizations to know and abide by all university policies pertaining to fund raising.
- Registered student organizations wishing to hold a fund raising event must have approval from its president, faculty/staff advisor and the director of student activities. It may be necessary for some organizations to have additional approval from departmental deans or directors.
- Fund raising is defined as any event, program or activity in which money or items are collected (ex. donations, ticket sales, sale of items, collection of canned goods, etc.). Gaining monetary compensation by providing a service to LSUS is not considered a fund raising activity.
- Fund raising events may not disrupt or impair the normal operation of the university. The university reserves the right to determine the time, place and manner of fund raising. As a matter of operational policy, the university has restricted fund raising on campus to exclude academic buildings and their environs. Other buildings may have additional policies governing fund raising activities.
- Raffles, lotteries and similar games of chance are considered to be gambling. Illegal gambling is prohibited by state law and by the Student Conduct Code.
- Student organizations may not engage in fund raising activities in which the student organization merely serves as the agent of a non-LSUS entity to sell its products or provide services for it.
- No student organization may promote or sell alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may not be served at any student organization event.
- The use of university facilities by registered student organizations must be at no direct cost to the university. Registered student organizations must reimburse the university for the cost of facilities, janitorial services and direct costs incurred to the university by making the facility available for the student-sponsored fund raising event. Dependent upon the policies of the campus facility in use, the university reserves the right to assess charges for facilities when an admission fee is charged to participants of an event.
- Student organizations may not use the LSUS logo or other indicia without prior approval from the Media and Public Relations Office. This approval includes, but is not limited to, T-shirts, hats and calendars.
DISTRIBUTION OF PRINTED MATERIAL ON CAMPUS
Please see page 59 of this document for guidelines.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS CONDUCT CODE
This code defines how the university will consider an alleged violation of university regulations by registered student organizations.
Registered Student Organizations: Registered student organizations include all organizations that have fulfilled all of the requirements established by the university for official registration and whose membership involves LSUS students. The term "organization" or "student organization" means officially registered student organizations.
University Regulations: The term university regulation is used to include all regulations, rules, resolutions, policies, bylaws, practices and procedures established and promulgated by the Board of Supervisors, the LSU System and the LSUS administration.
Dean of Students: The term "dean of students" or "the dean" refers to both the person holding that position as well as to the department known as the "Dean of Students Office." The dean may delegate the authority to perform any of the duties assigned to him or her in this policy statement.
Misconduct: The term misconduct is used to include any official or unofficial act or omission by a student organization or its members that is contrary to the provisions of a university regulation and/or a local, state or federal law or regulation.
Groups wishing to register with the university must adhere to the requirements for becoming a registered student organization. By becoming a registered organization a group agrees to abide by all university regulations as well as local, state and federal laws.
Conduct Regulations for Student Organizations
Officers and members of student organizations are expected to know and abide by all regulations for student organizations and for students in general.
Some recognized student organizations are affiliated with state, regional, national or international organizations. Many of these governing groups have developed position statements on hazing and other forms of misconduct. The university may report alleged violations of university regulations by student organizations to the organization's governing body or affiliated organizations.
Student Organizations and the Student Conduct Code
The university's established procedure for considering alleged violations of university regulations by individual students is outlined in the Student Conduct Code. The fact that alleged individual student misconduct grows out of participation in an activity sponsored or engaged in by a registered student organization does not negate the individual student's accountability under the provisions of the Student Conduct Code. The fact that individual students are held accountable for actions taken while participating in an organization's activity does not negate the accountability of the organization for its actions. Although the administrative procedure of the code is not to be used to hear charges of misconduct against registered student organizations, the university does hold student organizations accountable for acts or omissions taken by the organization that violate the misconduct provisions of the code.
Filing a Complaint
Allegations of misconduct by registered student organizations should be made to the dean of students. Such allegations may be made orally; however, a written statement is preferred. The statement should contain all pertinent information available to the person or persons making the allegation.
Upon receipt of an allegation of misconduct by a registered student organization, the dean of students will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if there is a reasonable basis for the filing of formal charges of misconduct against the student organization. The dean may conduct a personal interview with the person or persons making the allegation of misconduct, the officers of the student organization deemed relevant to the inquiry by the dean of students and/or other individuals, including members of the organization who might have pertinent information relating to the alleged misconduct.
Filing of Formal Charges
If the preliminary investigation indicates that there is reasonable cause to believe that misconduct has occurred on the part of a student organization, formal charges will be made on behalf of the university by the dean of students. These charges will be specifically stated in a letter addressed to the president of the organization. This letter shall also include a time, date and place for a hearing conference with the Student Affairs Committee. The president of the organization will be contacted by the dean of students to schedule a prehearing conference.
The purpose of the prehearing conference is to determine how the formal charges against the organization are to be considered. The prehearing conference provides an opportunity for the organization to discuss the charges with the dean of students. The organization must be represented at this conference by one or more of its officers. The faculty advisor and other advisors may attend the prehearing conference in an advisory capacity only; however, one of the student officers must be designated as the official spokesperson for the organization.
An Administrative Action
In the event the official spokesperson of the student organization wishes to waive the organization's right to a formal hearing and is willing to accept the formal charges as being valid, the dean of students may act on the charge administratively. If an administrative action is desired, a form requesting that the charge against the organization be considered administratively must be signed by the official spokesperson of the organization. After this form is signed, the dean of students shall have the authority to administratively impose a sanction consistent with the provisions of this policy statement.
Student Affairs Committee Procedure
If an organization does not choose to resolve a case with an administrative action, the dean will refer the matter to the Student Affairs Committee for resolution.
The dean of students will be responsible for presenting the university's reasons for bringing charges against the organization. Witnesses may be called by the university to testify in support of the charges.
An officer shall be chosen by the organization to serve as spokesperson for the organization in the hearing. An organization may have up to three members attend the hearing. With the exception of the spokesperson, organization members who are to be witnesses shall not be present during any other witnesses' testimonies. The spokesperson may have the assistance of the faculty advisor and/or one other advisor to assist him or her during the hearing. The spokesperson shall have the right to: be present during all phases of the hearing except the committee's deliberation on procedural and evidentiary matters, findings of fact and potential sanctions; to present evidence and witnesses on behalf of the organization; and to have reasonable cross-examination of witnesses.
Decisions of the Student Affairs Committee on the issue of a violation of university regulations shall be based solely upon the evidence introduced during the hearing. Legal rules of evidence do not apply to hearings under this policy; the Student Affairs Committee may admit and give effect to evidence that possesses probative value and is commonly accepted by reasonable people in the conduct of their affairs. The Student Affairs Committee chair may exclude irrelevant, material, and unduly repetitious evidence. A vote that the charged violation was committed shall be rendered by a committee member only if the member finds that the greater weight of the credible evidence supports a finding of violation. A majority vote of the committee members present shall be required for a finding that a violation was committed.
If the organization is found in violation, the Student Affairs Committee shall, by majority vote, arrive at a sanction that the members consider commensurate with the seriousness of the violation. In arriving at an appropriate sanction, the panel may consider evidence of past violations by the organization as well as any recommendations from the dean of students.
All sanctions imposed on student organizations by the university will be administered by the dean of students. The following penalties may be assessed singly or to follow consecutively (e.g. a group may have their registration rescinded and be allowed to return to the university on probation at the completion of the time of rescinded registration.) Sanctions assessed will list the length of the probation and/or rescission (unless indefinite), the specific privileges to be forfeited, and any and all other conditions established as a part of the sanction.
- A Letter of University Reprimand - will not include forfeiture of privileges.
- University Probation - may stipulate the forfeiture of specifically listed social and/or other privileges for a period of not less than three months, or more than three calendar years, and may also require specific performance during probation.
- Total Probation - this is the most severe sanction that the university may impose upon a student organization, short of rescinding university registration. Total probation shall be for a stated period of time not to exceed one calendar year and prohibits the organization from: sponsoring, co-sponsoring or participating in any and all social, intramural, athletic or other similar activities on or off-campus; the solicitation of any new members or pledges; and the initiation of any new members. Total probation may also include the forfeiture of other specifically listed privileges. It may also require specific performance by the organization during the period of probation.
- Rescission of University Registration - this represents the most serious penalty that may be imposed on a registered student organization. It involves the revoking of the university's registration of the organization for a stated or an indeterminate period of time. If the organization also holds a charter from a national organization or association, the university may also request that the national organization or association revoke the organization's charter.
Additional Administrative Procedures
There shall be a written record of the substance of the proceedings of all hearings and all other action taken administratively under the provisions of this policy statement. Penalties imposed by the dean of students or the Student Affairs Committee shall be administered by the dean of students.
The decision of the Student Affairs Committee shall be final, subject only to the organization's right of appeal to the vice chancellor for student affairs or his/her designee. All appeals must be in writing and should contain the specific bases of the organization's appeal. Appeals may be requested for the following reasons:
- Procedural errors that substantially affected the outcome of the hearing;
- New information that was not available at the time of the hearing;
- Evidence that the sanction is grossly disproportionate for the violation(s);
- Evidence that it was wholly unreasonable for the Student Affairs Committee to have found that the greater weight of the credible evidence supported a finding of violation.
The organization must present their appeal to the vice chancellor for student affairs no later than seven days from the date of the Student Affairs Committee decision. At the same time, the organization must provide a copy of their appeal to the dean of students who will have seven days from the date of the appeal to provide a response for the vice chancellor for student affairs' consideration. The vice chancellor for student affairs will render a decision after considering both the appeal and the response.
Interim Suspension of Activities
When in the sole discretion of the university, an allegation against a student organization gives reasonable cause to believe that the organization represents a threat to the safety, security or welfare of the university community and/or an obstruction to accomplishing the university's lawful mission, immediate action may be warranted. Under such circumstances, the dean of students has the authority to temporarily suspend all or some activities of the accused organization until the other provisions of this policy statement are implemented. In the case of Interim Suspension of Activities, the university will make reasonable efforts to implement the procedures outlined above for considering a complaint as quickly as is feasible under the circumstances.