University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Student Organizations and Activities
Policy Number: LR 504.10
Effective Date: April 1, 2010 (Review Date)
Student Organizations and Activities
The vice chancellor for educational and student services is responsible for student life on campus and has delegated the responsibility for coordinating and implementing non-academic University policies and regulations affecting student life, student organizations, and student activities to various offices. The Office of Campus Life (OCL) has the responsibility of coordinating the activities of all student organizations.
There is a wide variety of student organizations and clubs representing many fields of interest registered at the university. These groups offer opportunities for leadership and student development experiences; recognize scholarship and leadership achievements in broad fields of education, departmental fields, or recognition in specific fields of professional education at either undergraduate or graduate level; provide social experiences and opportunities to promote their common interest in such areas as religion, philosophy, ethics, social action, politics, recreation, hobbies, and other areas. For a complete list of RSOs contact OCL.
Social Greek Fraternities and Sororities
Social Greek fraternities and sororities are private organizations, national in scope and membership, with localized chapters. There is a reciprocal responsibility between the national organization and the local chapter whose charter legalizing its name and functions has been granted in good faith by the national fraternity to the chapter as custodians of the founding principles and purposes of the national fraternity. Fraternities, while functioning as free agents on the university campus, are based on the premise that they provide an experience for an individual which is compatible with and complementary to the mission and educational goals of the university. The university’s expectations, regulations, and relationship to fraternities vary from traditional student organizations, e.g., expansion procedures, membership selection requirements, advisors, and university expectations such as academic achievement, leadership development, service to others, social contributions, development of the individual, etc. Students interested in joining a social Greek fraternity and/or in establishing a local or national fraternity should contact OCL.
Regulations Governing Student Organizations and Student Activities
General Statement of Purpose, Benefits, and Types of Student Organizations
The university recognizes:
- The importance of organized student activities as an integral part of the total educational program of the university and that the acquisition of knowledge is not confined to the formality of the classroom;
- That college learning experiences are enriched by student organizational activity; and
- That student organizations provide a framework for students within which they may develop their own special talents and interests. Inherent in the relationship between the university and organized student groups is the understanding that the purposes and activities of such groups should be of significant value to the student as a member of the university community and should demonstrate that the group has as its purpose(s) to broaden the scope of general living, to extend knowledge of specialized areas, or to serve the professional, cultural, social, or recreational interests of the university community, consistent with the educational goals and objectives of the university.
The term “registration” is used to mean the granting of official status by the university to a group of students; such status permits them to function on the campus and to use institutional facilities, services, and benefits (specified) in the pursuit of their extracurricular activities. Registration of a student organization does not imply that the viewpoints of the organization are those of the university. A registered student organization does not become an agent of the university unless its specific purpose includes such a relationship with the university’s administration.
Registration by the university is accomplished by the formal registration process. The university has established certain criteria which the student group must meet, e.g., submitting a registration form, officer’s names, address, and telephone numbers, five (5) currently enrolled members, faculty/staff advisor, constitution and bylaws, etc. Any organization that meets these criteria obtains registration. Registration occurs once during the academic year at the beginning of the fall semester.
Types of Student Organizations and Benefits
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) may receive the following benefits:
- Use of university facilities within the established guidelines of university policies and regulations;
- Listing in appropriate university publications;
- Use of mailboxes allocated to student organizations; use of the business office for organizational accounts; eligibility to apply for student organization office space;
- Permission to conduct fund-raising activities as outlined in university rules and regulations; use of the University’s name in accordance with the established regulations; sponsorship of events and activities within the university policies and regulations; and
- Eligibility to apply for student activity fee money in accordance with the established procedures and guidelines.
There are many types of student organizations which may be registered to operate on campus which include:
- Honor recognition, and professional fraternities and sororities;
- Social fraternities and sororities;
- Governing bodies;
- Departmental clubs;
- Special interest groups, e.g., political, religious, cultural, recreational, etc.; and
Groups such as the Student Government Association (SGA), University Program Council (UPC), The Forum, Equinox, National Intrafraternity Council, Inc. (NIC), National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), and National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), are advised by a designated faculty or staff member, by virtue of his or her expertise, and are responsible to an administrative official or office. Such groups must abide by university rules, regulations, and policies for student organizations.
General Policies on Student Organizations
- A student organization may not conduct any activity on the university campus unless official registration has been granted by UA Little Rock.
- Student organizations shall not deny membership to any person on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, handicap, or national origin, although social fraternities and sororities may restrict membership by sex.
- Student organizations shall not engage in or condone any form of hazing, including but not limited to physical abuse, harassment of any person by assigning unnecessary, disagreeable, or difficult work, by banter, ridicule, or criticism, or by abusive or humiliating acts. (Refer to Student Violations: Hazing)
- Student organizations shall be vicariously responsible and liable for the conduct and actions of each member of the organization while acting in the capacity of a member, guest, invited guest, or while attending or participating in any activity of the organization.
- Student organizations shall not serve as a conduit through which non-university groups, organizations, or persons may seek the use of university facilities.
- Only university departments and agencies of the university may use the name or seal of the university as a part of its name, however, a student organization may identify the campus unit, e.g. on the campus at UA Little Rock.
- A student organization or university group holding a fiscal legal relationship with the university is subject to university policies, procedures, and regulations pertaining to such organizations.
- All student participants and officers of organizations must meet the requirements of the constitution and bylaws. Officers must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 at the time of election and/or appointment, maintain the cumulative GPA of 2.00 while holding office, and must not be on disciplinary probation. The officers and the advisor of the organization are held responsible for seeing that these conditions are met.
- A student organization must have a faculty or staff advisor with the exception of national fraternities and sororities. National fraternities and sororities must have a faculty/staff advisor and an alumna/alumnus chapter advisor. Contact the OCL for more information.
- A student organization must keep the advisor informed of all activities of the organization and have all activities on and off campus entered on the master calendar kept in the DSC Information Center.
- The organization must provide for the distribution of all funds and assets in the event of dissolution.
- When a student organization has been inactive for one academic year, the group must follow the procedure for forming a new organization. (refer to OCL for fraternities and sororities.)
- The university assumes no responsibility for financial or contractual obligations associated with the organization. However, the university expects each organization to anticipate and meet promptly its financial/contractual obligations, and to have the approval of the faculty/staff advisor. Student organizations are urged to arrange for annual audits.
- No organization may use the same name or a name which is misleading and similar to the name of a currently registered organization.
- A student organization must keep its officers’ report, constitution, and bylaws current.
Criteria for Registration of an Organization
- Any proposed student organization shall be open to all students of the university who meet membership requirements. Normally, membership in the organization shall be limited to currently enrolled students although organizations may include faculty and staff of the university.
- A proposed organization must represent the interests of the members and the control of the organization must be within the local campus group. The organization must not have a knowing affiliation with an organization possessing illegal aims or goals with specific purpose to further those illegal aims and goals. List any affiliation with a national group and submit the constitution and bylaws. In addition, submit a local constitution and bylaws which include the name of the organization, purpose, goals and objectives, eligibility requirement(s) for membership, selection process and procedures of membership, name of officers or equivalent, and an amendment clause.
- The proposed organization must agree to comply with all policies, regulations, and procedures established by the Board of Trustees and the university, the Code of Student Conduct, and all federal, state and local laws.
- The proposed organization must not:
- Have illegal aims and goals;
- Propose activities which would violate regulations of the Board of Trustees, the university, federal, state, and local laws and regulations, or materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the university; and/or
- Advocate incitement of imminent lawless action which is likely to produce such action.
- No group will be recognized if their primary function is to serve as a subservient support group or auxiliary branch of another organization. Auxiliary groups to national fraternities and sororities are banned at UA Little Rock.
- The proposed student organization must have:
- A faculty or staff advisor (name, address, telephone number);
- Five (5) charter student members who are currently enrolled and whose interest in the purposes of the organization is sufficient to afford registration on a long-term basis (semester);
- At least two (2) officers or representatives (names, addresses, and telephone numbers);
- Constitution and bylaws (refer to number 2); and
- Submitted the forms for new organizations:
- Student Organization Registration Form,
- Student Organization Origination Form, and
- Nondiscrimination Form.
In the event there is not sufficient interest to warrant long-term registration, the university may grant a short-term registration to an organization. In some cases a group will organize with some short-term goal or purpose in mind, i.e., one which can be accomplished in less than a semester, such as passage of some legislation, particular cause, or event. The organization’s registration will expire on the date indicated on the registration form. Request for an extension of short-term registration may be made to the official who registers student organizations. Groups petitioning for short-term registration must adhere to the Criteria, Nature and Conditions of Registration, and General Policies on Student Organizations (a constitution and bylaws may be waived in lieu of the Student Organization Registration Form).
Procedures for Forming New Student Organizations
- Interested students should confer with a faculty or staff member who might be interested in advising the organization.
- Interested students should advertise the organizational meeting. For the purposes of organizing, permission will be granted by OCL for planning and advertising the meetings on campus for a limited period of time. Petitioning fraternities and sororities must contact OCL prior to any activity on campus.
- The proposed group can obtain the required registration forms for a new student organization from OCL. If there are questions regarding the criteria, general policies, or the nature and conditions of registration of new student organizations, groups should consult with OCL.
- The proposed group must complete and submit the necessary registration forms and procedures required for new student organizations to the official responsible for registering new student organizations.
- The official will review the organization forms and required documents to determine if the criteria for registration of a new organization have been met. The official will notify the group if it has or has not met the criteria for official university registration. In case the group has not met the criteria, the official will notify the group of the deficient criteria and inform it that forms and documents can be resubmitted at a later date.
- Procedural requirements for colonizing a national Greek social fraternity or sorority on the campus are more rigorous and deviate from the standard procedures for most student organizations seeking university registration/recognition. Greek expansion procedures and guidelines will be followed as mutually determined by the university and either NPHC, NIC, or NPC. Inquiries pertaining to these organizations should be made at OCL.
- Male or female social groups interested in petitioning a national fraternity or sorority are not eligible for university recognition without prior approval from NPHC, NIC, or NPC, and the OCL.
University Registration of Honor, Professional, and Recognition Societies
An honor society is an association of primarily collegiate members and chapters whose purposes are to encourage and recognize superior scholarship and/or leadership achievement either in broad fields of education or in departmental fields at either the undergraduate or graduate level (General, Departmental).
A recognition society is an organization which confers membership in recognition of a student’s interest and participation in some field of collegiate study or activity with more liberal membership requirements than are prescribed for general and departmental honor societies.
A professional fraternity, e.g., Professional Interfraternity Conference, Professional Panhellenic Conference, is a specialized fraternity which limits membership to a specific field of professional education.
A proposed honor, recognition, or professional society/fraternity is required to have:
- The approval of the appropriate college dean, and VCESS
- If departmental, the dean and department chair, and
- A faculty or staff advisor.
All such proposed organizations must comply with procedures unless otherwise stipulated in the Student Handbook for forming new student organizations, i.e., general policies on student organization, criteria for registration, nature and conditions of registration, and all policies and regulations pertaining to student organizations.
Maintaining Active Status: Nature and Conditions of Registration
- Registration of a student organization for other than a short-term period will be on a yearly basis. The registration form is due in OCL by the end of the fourth week of classes for the fall semester. The organization is responsible for keeping the information on the registration form current.
- Semester renewal of registration of an organization shall depend on the organization’s demonstration of compliance with the following:
- Submit the registration form by the registration deadline.
- Continue to meet all other criteria for registration of student organizations.
Termination of Registration
The Student Affairs Committee reserves the right to cancel registration or impose sanctions against any student organization which fails to observe the criteria and policies outlined in the section pertaining to student organizations. Furthermore, it shall be assumed that an organization no longer exists and its registration automatically shall be cancelled whenever it ceases to actively function as evidenced by:
- Due notice of its dissolution, or
- Failure to submit the Registration Form, and
- Failure to meet the general policies on student organizations or the criteria for registration of student organizations.
Student groups and organizations planning and carrying out their activities and conducting their affairs bear the responsibility for doing so in accordance with university regulations, the Code, and federal, state, and local laws. Failure to accept the responsibilities of group membership may subject the organization to permanent or temporary suspension of charter, cancellation of university registration and support, e.g., use of facilities, etc., probation, or other appropriate action.
The group may be held liable when:
- Sufficient prevention measures have not been employed, e.g., confiscation, non-admittance, removal, or other controls, and
- Action to refer individual cases to appropriate authorities or judicial boards is not taken by the group. This liability shall be tempered only by the extent and effectiveness of dealing with such violations during and immediately following the activity. Members and non-members of a group at the event or activity are included in the expectation of the group’s responsibility, and appropriate measures must be employed to prevent or deal with problems and violators.
Greek Governing Bodies Dealing with Group Infractions
The NPHC, NIC, or NPC Judicial Boards and chapter standards boards have the opportunity and are expected to deal with individuals or groups allegedly in violation of their governing body bylaws and policies, university rules and regulations, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws.
Each group or organization is expected to refer such individuals or groups to the appropriate university authorities, i.e., the dean of students, for referral to the judicial system or the DPS for removal, arrest, or judicial action. Should such judicial referrals appropriately fall to the major governing group’s judicial board, i.e., NPHC, NIC, NPC, the decision of the board is expected to be relevant to and consistent with the nature of the violations.
The group or organization must show good faith in dealing with the individual(s), especially their own members allegedly in violation of university regulations or laws. The degree to which the group or organization carries out this overall responsibility will influence the extent to which it may be held liable for the actions of the individual(s). (Refer to University Appeals Procedure and Operating Policies and Hearing Procedures for Nonacademic Offenses.)
Definition of an Organization’s Activity and When the Organization is Considered Responsible
An activity is considered to be related to an organization and the organization is held responsible for violation of university rules, regulations, laws, and the Code when one or more of the following circumstances exist:
- One or more of its officers or authorized members, acting in the scope of his or her general responsibilities, commits the violation.
- One or more of its members commits the violation after the action that constitutes the violation is approved by majority vote of those members of the organization present and voting.
- One or more members of a committee of the organization commit(s) the violation while acting in the scope of the committee’s assignment.
- A majority of the members of an organization, acting with apparent authority of the organization, commits the violation.
- A student may be disciplined for a student violation even though the organization of which he or she is a member is penalized for the same violation or for a violation growing out of the same factual transaction.
- The parent organization shall be responsible for the actions of pledge classes or other subgroups carrying official status. Events planned where non-members are invited are also the responsibility of the organization.
Student Organization Disciplinary Procedures
- Any registered student organization may be placed on probation, suspended, restricted, have its registration withdrawn, or other sanctions appropriate to the violation by the dean of students or designee after a hearing before the committee or board having original jurisdiction in accordance with the provision of fundamental fairness (due process) or upon a choice by the organization for informal adjudication by the dean of students or designee. Such actions may be taken for any one of the following reasons which are not all inclusive:
- The organization fails to maintain compliance with the General Policies on Student Organizations and Criteria for Registration of an Organization.
- The organization operates or engages in any activity in violation of the rules and regulations of the university, the Code, bylaws and policies of the governing bodies, or federal, state, and local laws.
- The student organization shall be afforded all the rights of fundamental fairness (due process) as outlined in the Code, and for violations of university rules and regulations, or federal, state, or local laws.
- Initial Action:
- Violations of university rules and regulations, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws, shall be reported to the dean of students or designee. Where a violation involves organizational governing bodies’ rules or violations of the constitution or bylaws, a report shall be made to the president or appropriate officer of the governing body. This person will report to the appropriate advisor in the OCL and the advisor will take appropriate action in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and policies of the governing body. In cases of violations of university rules and regulations, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws, the dean of students or designee shall hold a preliminary interview to determine if formal disciplinary action is warranted.
- If the dean of students or designee determines there is a probable cause to suspect a violation of university rules and regulations, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws, he or she shall arrange a conference with the organization’s officers and individuals to notify them of the alleged charges, to allow them to present their version of the alleged violation, and to review the rights of due process with the student organization officers.
- In the absence of unusual mitigating circumstances, an initial conference should be held within five (5) class days of the date of the charge.
- Failure of the officers and individuals involved to agree to a meeting or appear at a conference will result in a decision being rendered without organizational input and possible disciplinary action.
- After notifying the officers and individuals of their rights and explaining the hearing procedures set forth in the Code, the dean of students or designee may solicit a plea of violation or non-violation and shall solicit from the officers their choice of a hearing alternative. Once the selection has been knowingly made, the choice will be binding on all parties.
- Organization Governing Body: For purposes of this Code, organizational governing body shall mean any student governance body made up of representatives from several organizations with a constitution and bylaws. Examples include, but are not limited to, NPHC, NIC, and NPC.
- Alternative Procedures: Where the alleged violation involves university rules, regulations, or policies, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws, the organization may have its case heard in one of the following ways:
- Through a hearing conducted by the dean of students or designee if violation is admitted;
- Through a hearing conducted by the judicial branch of the organizational governing body where applicable;
- Through a hearing conducted by the appropriate judicial board or committee where no governing body exists for the organization;
- If the alleged violation may result in withdrawal of registration or suspension of the organization during the term of the registration or for the next semester or calendar year, the hearing shall be heard by the appropriate committee or board. (Refer to Behavioral Standards Committee, Student Affairs Committee, and Greek Governing Bodies Judicial Procedures.)
- Organization Sanctions: Upon a proper determination that an organization has violated any rules or regulations, of the university, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws, the following organization sanctions may be imposed either singly or in combination:
- Reprimand. A written reprimand may be given to any organization in violation of university policy, the Code, or federal, state, and local laws. It signifies that the organization is to take necessary actions to bring it into compliance and to avoid further violation. Failure to do so will result in more severe penalties.
- Restitution. Any organization that has committed an offense against property may be required to reimburse the university or other owner. Any such payment shall be limited to actual cost of repair or replacement
- Restriction. Such restrictions may include but are not limited to, loss of privilege of meeting in or using university facilities, denial of right to participate in intramural sports or other campus events, denial of social functions, other restrictions consistent with the nature of the offense.
- Probation. An organization placed on probation is deemed not to be in good standing with the university. Its continued registration is conditioned by adherence to the rules, regulations, and provisions of the Code. Organizations on probation may continue to hold meetings, but may lose selected privileges including but not limited to access to university facilities and social privilege. The organization must obtain advance approval from the dean of students for all activities
- Suspension or Withdrawal of Registration. Any organization which is suspended or has had its registration withdrawn may not engage in or sponsor any activity or program and may not hold meetings. When registration is withdrawn, the organization shall cease to exist.
- Other appropriate sanctions applicable to the violations.
Source: UALR Student Handbook, 2009
Approved By: VCESS, April 1, 2010
Custodian: Office of Campus Life