Indiana University Seal

Student OrganizationsSTU-01

Scope

Student organizations at Indiana University.

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Policy Statement

Student organizations at Indiana University will be considered and/or administered in one of three ways:

  1. Self-Governed Student Organization (SGSO)
    Most student organizations at Indiana University will be considered Self-Governed Student Organizations (SGSOs). The SGSO is an independent entity or independent association of individual students. The University recognizes the important role played by the SGSO in engaging students, creating a diverse co-curricular environment, fostering the expression of students’ ideas and interests, and adding to the unique identity of Indiana University. The relationship between the University and SGSOs is viewed as consistent with the University’s philosophy of education and student self-governance.

    To this end, SGSO leaders and members shall assume the responsibility for the organization’s activities and conduct. The University shall make available certain staff and resources in the campus student affairs office to answer questions regarding the relationship between the University and SGSOs and to provide education and services to support the effective functioning of SGSOs.

    Self-Governed Student Organizations have the following requirements:
    1. SGSOs must have a minimum of five members who are enrolled students at the IU campus.
    2. SGSOs must have an advisor who is either an employed IU faculty or staff member (undergraduate students may not qualify as an advisor).
    3. SGSOs must have officers who are enrolled students at the IU campus.
    4. The control and operation of the SGSO must remain with the students. Voting privileges may be granted only to enrolled students at the IU campus.
    5. Each SGSO shall be expected to define requirements for eligibility of its own officers and participants in the SGSO’s activities.
    6. Membership and participation in the SGSO must be free from discrimination based on age, color, disability, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
    7. Students must be free to join or leave an SGSO without being subjected to harassment or intimidation.
    8. Hazing is prohibited under the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.
    9. Sexual misconduct, including harassment and discrimination, is prohibited under the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and the university’s Sexual Misconduct policy.

    Self-Governed Student Organizations are considered separate organizations and must register annually and agree to and operate under the terms of the Self-Governed Student Organization Agreement (“SGSO Agreement”). SGSOs may receive a range of benefits by participating in the SGSO process and operating under the SGSO agreement, including eligibility to apply for and receive student activity fee funding; priority use of university facilities and services; an association with the Indiana University name through approved IU student organization branding elements; a network ID and email address; and the option of accounting management assistance where available.
    In part, the SGSO Agreement provides that:
    1. The SGSO is an independent entity or independent association of individual students, operates independently and is not an agent, servant, or employee of IU, and neither has the authority to act for the other or commit the other to any activity, transaction, or agreement;
    2. IU does not supervise, direct, or control the SGSO’s activities;
    3. IU controls its facilities and services, which may be provided to the SGSO under certain conditions;
    4. The SGSO will comply with the terms of the campus student organization handbook;
    5. The SGSO’s activities, whether or not sponsored or officially approved by the SGSO, do not and will not violate local, state, or federal laws;
    6. The SGSO’s objectives are educational, charitable, cultural, social, or recreational and not for personal or private financial gain of any member;
    7. The SGSO and its members are subject to the Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct;
    8. The SGSO shall not use IU’s trademarks, symbols, logos, or mottoes, but may use approved IU student organization branding elements;
    9. The SGSO shall not use IU’s taxpayer ID number or IU’s tax-exempt status;
    10. The SGSO will not be covered by IU’s insurance policies;
    11. IU will not be liable for any injury, harm, or damages arising out of the SGSO’s activities; and
    12. The SGSO will indemnify, defend, and hold IU harmless with respect to any claims made against IU in connection with the SGSO’s acts or omissions.

    An IU employee acting as an SGSO’s advisor in the normal course of employment would be indemnified by the university. SGSO agreements must be executed annually by the SGSO’s current officers to remain in effect.

    Some SGSOs engage in activities that involve inherent risk and these SGSOs may be asked to pursue additional registration requirements as recommended by a campus Student Organization Registration Committee (“Committee”). These requirements may include additional agreements and/or submission of a risk mitigation plan to the Committee for approval which identifies and assesses risks and plans for education, protection and mitigation. To the extent possible, IU will adopt uniform additional requirements for similar types of SGSOs throughout the university.

    SGSO’s that operate as a chapter or part of a larger parent organization, must still comply with applicable IU policies and the terms of their SGSO agreement. Where applicable IU policies and the terms of the SGSO agreement are in conflict with parent organization requirements, IU policies and the SGSO agreement supersede parent organization requirements.

  2. University Student Organization (USO)
    A small number of student organizations will be considered University Student Organizations and will be treated as operating units of Indiana University. As such, USOs will be entitled to administrative services as a university unit and additional use of IU branding. However, USOs will have to comply with all university policies. Determination of status as a USO will be made by the campus dean or vice chancellor of student affairs and the campus vice chancellor for finance and administration and/or controller. Final approval of USO status will rest with university administration. Factors to be considered are: funding sources and organizations, IU staff support, management of risk, integration with university operations, and the historical and reputational relationship between the student organization and IU.

    As USOs are treated as operating units of Indiana University, there are key differences in designating a student organization as an USO:

    • USOs may not have an outside bank account and must use IU accounts.
    • Donations and gifts to the USO are counted as donations to Indiana University. Other revenue producing activities must follow the Establishing and Modifying Revenue Producing Activities (RPA) policy.
    • USOs may not have outside employees, any employees must be IU employees.
    • The affiliated IU campus, school, or department controls the funds, advising, risk mitigation, travel, and training for a USO.
    • USOs may use the Indiana University name and marks as well as those of the affiliated campus, school, or department.

  3. Non-registered student organizations
    Non-registered student organizations will not receive the privileges and benefits accorded SGSOs or USOs, however, they are free to assemble and associate in areas of the campus that are open to them as students of the University. Furthermore, they are welcome to reserve campus space for their events under the same terms and conditions as other third-party groups.

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Reason for Policy

Indiana University’s philosophy of education is one that supports student self-governance. IU also recognizes that co-curricular activities give students opportunities to develop leadership skills that will help prepare them for life after graduation. Consistent with this philosophy, student organizations may exist within the structure prescribed by IU or independent of IU. As each Self-Governed Student Organization (“SGSO”) is responsible for its own actions, the SGSO Agreement formally recognizes the independent relationship of SGSOs with respect to IU.

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Procedures

SGSOs shall register and execute the SGSO agreement annually prior to the organization participating in any activities in the fall semester and in accordance with procedures established by each campus student activities office.

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Definitions

University Student Organization (USO) - student organizations typically formed by Indiana University to serve an important function or to provide a certain opportunity for students. USOs are treated as operating units or agencies of IU within the administrative and fiscal structure of Indiana University and are subject to all university policies and procedures. Determination of status as a USO will be made by the campus dean or vice chancellor of student affairs and the campus vice chancellor for finance and administration and/or controller. Final approval of USO status will rest with university administration. Factors to be considered are: funding sources and organizations, IU staff support, management of risk, integration with university operations, and the historical and reputational relationship between the student organization and IU. 

Self-Governed Student Organization (SGSO) - student organizations that are not University Student Organizations; considered organizations separate from Indiana University that must agree to and operate under the Self-Governed Student Organization Agreement (“SGSO Agreement”) in order to use university facilities and services, and receive benefits associated with the Indiana University name. SGSOs that have received permission to use “Indiana University” in the organization’s names must do so only in a locational sense (i.e. “The XZY Club at Indiana University”).

Student Organization Registration Committee (“Committee”) – a committee on each campus established by the campus office of student affairs which will monitor the registration process for SGSOs.

Advisor - Registered student organizations at Indiana University are required to have at least one IU faculty or staff advisor who is currently employed by the University (undergraduate students may not qualify as an advisor). Advisors provide support, consistency, and advice to student organizations, but do not act as supervisors of the organization’s activities. The process of recruiting or replacing an advisor is the responsibility of the SGSO. The Dean of Students reserves the right to remove an advisor in cases of misconduct.

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Sanctions

Student organizations that are neither a University Student Organization nor a Self-Governed Student Organization operating under the terms of the SGSO Agreement will be considered unaffiliated student groups and will not be afforded the benefits and privileges accorded USOs or SGSOs. Violations of the IU Student Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct by either an individual or organization, will be dealt with according to university policies and procedures.

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Additional Contacts

Student Life Offices Email Phone Website
IU Bloomington iusll@indiana.edu (812) 855-4311 http://studentaffairs.indiana.edu/student-life-learning/ 
IUPUI (317) 274-3931  http://studentaffairs.iupui.edu/involved/index.shtml  
IU East (765) 973-8240  http://www.iue.edu/campuslife/  
IU Kokomo (765) 455-9203 http://www.iuk.edu/campus-life/index.php 
IU Northwest activity@iun.edu (219) 980-6794 http://www.iun.edu/student-activities/clubs-and-orgs/ 
IU South Bend sblife@iusb.edu  (574) 520-4587 https://www.iusb.edu/studentlife/index.php 
IU Southeast (812) 941-2316 https://www.ius.edu/get-involved/ 

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History

This policy was established in 2016

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