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Student Organization Policies
The following policy statement was approved by the University Activities Committee, hereafter referred to the Committee, during the Spring quarter of 1972 and serves as the policies by which organizations operate at Armstrong, hereafter referred to as the University. It was amended in the Spring of 2004 by the Committee to incorporate new philosophies and amend old guidelines.
Student organizations at the University exist as an integral part of the total educational program. Their general purpose is to contribute to the development and welfare of the students and to benefit the entire community. Student organizations are established and managed by students and are subject to the regulations of the University. As an integral part of the University community, they have certain responsibilities including, adherence to the organization's announced purposes and sound business management. Basic democratic operational procedures are expected of all student organizations. Student organizations must have an advisor and be approved by the University before they can function as recognized organizations of the University. The Director of Student Life and the organization advisor are available to advise and assist organizations, but the final responsibility for performance rests with the members themselves. In addition to other policies and regulations, organizations are responsible for complying with the following fundamental regulations:
Regulations for Active Organizations
I. Basic Regulations
- No student organization will be permitted to affiliate with any outside group or organization without approval of both the Student Activities Committee and the President of the University.
- All student organizations are under the year-round supervision of the University whether the University is in session or not.
- Activities are limited to students, faculty, and staff of the University and their families or guests for both on and off campus events.
II. Social Regulations and Conduct
- The organization's advisor, or a faculty or staff member approved by the Director of Student Life, must serve as a chaperone at all events both on and off campus.
- Sponsoring organizations are also responsible for making certain that the Student Code of Conduct is followed by individual participants for both on and off campus events.
- Student organizations are encouraged to use University facilities for social functions.
- Permission to use the Student Union, Jenkins Hall, Fine Arts and most campus facilities is requested through the R25 Reservation System by the organization's advisor. The use of facilities at the Armstrong Center must be reserved directly through the Center. Organizations are responsible for removing all signs, decorations and materials related to their event. Care should be taken to leave the facility in the same condition it was found. Failure to do so will result in the assessment of a fee to cover the cost of cleaning or resetting the facility.
IV. Financial Responsibilities
- The responsibility for organizational funds rests with the individual organizations. Each organization should plan to periodically audit its financial account.
- Denial of recognition of the group as an organization, and possible forfeiture of charter.
- Denial of use of the University's facilities and/or offices.
- Denial of social and other activities for a specified period. When any of the above actions are taken, the organization involved may appeal the decision, within 15 days to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Further appeal may be made to the President of the University in accordance with the Policies of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
RSO Policy for Outside Guests at University Functions
The University encourages meetings, programs and activities by recognized student organizations (RSOs) but must also ensure that such activities do not disrupt educational activities or violate Board of Regents policies. Therefore, no RSO may invite an outside guest, speaker, or organization to the campus without first obtaining approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee). For purposes of this policy, an outside guest, speaker, or program participant is any person who is not a student, faculty member or staff member of Armstrong State University, and who is invited to speak, appear or participate in a presentation or program.
Such requests must be made using the online Outside Guest Approval Form by an officer of the RSO no fewer than ten calendar days prior to the event and must include the name of the RSO, the proposed date, time and location of the proposed event, anticipated attendance, and the topic or activities of the program.
When deemed necessary or appropriate, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may stipulate conditions for approval. Such conditions may include but are not limited to: a statement on all event publicity that sponsorship does not necessarily imply endorsement by either the RSO or Armstrong; a requirement that the event be closed to all persons other than Armstrong Faculty, staff or students; or restriction of the event to a specific venue or area of campus.
This policy applies only to outside guests, speakers and program participants invited by RSO’s. Uninvited speakers should refer to Armstrong’s Freedom of Expression Policy.
Single Sex Organizations
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities at the university unless such programs and activities are specifically exempt from the law. The university is required to be in compliance with the provisions of Title IX. Therefore, compliance with Title IX is a condition to be a registered student organization at the university.
Since passage of this law and the publication of the implementing regulations, the U. S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has evolved a rather clear set of criteria for determining when single sex organizations are exempt from the provisions of Title IX. The criteria are as follows:
- the organization must have tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code;
- members must be limited to students, staff or faculty at Armstrong State University;
- the organization must be a "social fraternity" as defined by the Department of Education.
The Department of Education defines a "social fraternity" as a group that can answer "no" to all the following questions:
- Is the organization's membership limited to persons pursuing or having interest in a particular field of study, profession or academic discipline?
- Is the membership limited to individuals who have a high level of achievement in scholarship or any other endeavor?
- Are the members permitted to hold membership in other fraternities or sororities at the university?
If a group answers "yes" to any of the questions, it is not a "social fraternity" and is not exempt from the requirements of Title IX. Therefore, the organization must accept members of both sexes. Questions regarding this policy can be directed to the professional staff in the Student Union and Office of Student Life.
Procedures for Becoming a Recognized Organization
I. Procedure for Submitting an Application
- A finished copy of a proposed constitution must be submitted to the Office of Student Life, Memorial College Center (MCC), room 201. The constitution should embody principles hereafter set forth, should be in an acceptable form and should be free of grammatical, spelling and typographical errors.
The draft of the constitution should be accompanied by a brief statement incorporating the following (NOTE: This statement should not be made part of the constitution. It should be drafted on a separate page and attached to the individual copies of the constitution submitted.):
A. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two individuals who may be contacted by the Committee and who can be responsible for answering questions about the proposed organization and its constitution.
B. A brief assessment of the interest expressed by potential members of the organization, i.e. how much support you think the organization, if approved, will get from the student body.
II. The Form of the Constitution
In drawing up a constitution the applicants should bear in mind that the function of a constitution is to set forth the general ground rules for the conduct of the business of an organization. As it constitutes a fixed reference on permanent file of these rules, it should be so explicit in those areas which it seeks to govern as to leave no doubt as to its meaning, e.g., the titles and general duties of the organization's officers and the manner, time and procedures for conducting elections. On the other hand, the Committee considers that it unwise for the constitution to venture into legislative matters best left to the determination of more easily alterable by-laws which can be passed by an enlarged and more representative membership.
Because important changes in the policy and leadership of an organization frequently hinge on constitutional interpretation, it is strongly suggested that the constitution be framed in outline form for easy reference. For a convenient outline form the applicants should consult an acceptable authority such as the MLA Style Book or Kate Turabian's Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Thesis or Dissertations. The committee makes the following suggestions respecting form:
- Important and distinct topics such as, "elections," "amendments to the constitution," etc., should be designated by Roman Numerals and topic headings.
- Distinct sub-topic areas should be treated in separate paragraphs which may, but need not necessarily, be designated by Roman Numerals and topic heading. The Committee's suggestions regarding form should not be thought of as academic arbitrariness. It is sometimes important to an organization to be able to make explicit and exact references to its constitutional document. The form we have suggested is designed to facilitate this kind of reference.
III. Content of the Constitution
There are minimal requirements for the content of submitted constitutions. Without presuming to proscribe the inclusion of other topics not listed or to dictate the general order of presentation of topics, The Committee insists that the proposed constitution of any applicant organization include explicit provision for the following (items in italics are intended as explanations):
- Statement of the purpose of the organization. What are the core values of your group and what will it do?
- Provision for choosing an adviser. When and how will your advisor be selected. Are there special provisions or requirements that s/he must have?
- Qualifications for membership. Membership should be open to all qualified students with no exclusion due to race, creed or national origin. Any academic major or g.p.a. qualifications should be included in this section.
- Titles and duties of officers of the organization. This should be limited to definitions and enumerations of authority, not day-to-day operations which should be handled in the by-laws.
- Elections. The election of officers must be free, open, democratic, and periodic. In addition, there must be a provision for filling interim vacancies of offices. Aside from these, are there any special requirements your elections have?
- Funding and Financial Responsibility. The constitution must provide for a clear and distinct delegation of financial responsibility to one or more stipulated officers of the organization. When dues are to be assessed, the constitution must provide for the manner of assessment. The constitution must include a statement that all accounts, financial records and transactions of the organization are subject to audit or review by the Student Union and Activities Committee at their discretion.
- Meetings. The constitution must provide for a minimum number of meetings annually for the membership. The constitution must provide suitable guarantees that the membership will be given advance notice as to the time and place for conducting general meetings. The constitution must provide a means for calling special meetings when the situation warrants and for notifying the membership thereof. Beyond this, are there any special requirements for your meetings?
- Quorum requirements for conducting business. What is the minimum number of people required for your organization to conduct business? Typically it is a simple majority of the membership.
- The method of passing bylaws. Bylaws govern daily operating procedures while a constitution provides the outline of how an organization's does business. For help in understanding the difference, see the Student Government Association's constitution. In any case, you must determine how bylaws are passed. The By-laws themselves should not be included with the submitted constitution.
- Amendments of the constitution. See the above discussion on by-laws. Typically, constitutions are harder to amend than bylaws and usually require 2/3 majority support. The constitution must include a statement that any substantive amendments passed must also be approved by the Student Activities Committee.
- Committees. Are there any permanent committees? What are there functions, scope of authority, and responsibilities? How are they appointed, how are ad hoc committees selected.
Responsibilities of Applicants in Making a Constitutional Presentation
Responsibilities of the Student Activities Committee are such that it must confine it's attention to the consideration of substantive matters. Consequently, the Committee cannot be expected to contribute in any way towards putting an organization's constitution in proper form. The entire burden of producing a constitution in acceptable form rests with the applicant organization. This means the constitution, before it will be considered by the Committee, must embody the provisions established by the Committee.
The Committee meets with representatives of each organization desiring recognition by the University. After examining the constitution and after consulting the organization, the Committee votes as to whether the organization will be recognized. The President of the University has the authority to grant the final recognition to an organization.