560  Student Organization Registration and Recognition

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Student Affairs

Responsible Office:  Center for Student Involvement and Leadership
Responsible Officer: Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

I. Purpose

This policy sets forth the procedures for the registration and conduct of student organizations at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University).

II. Types of Student Organizations

Student organizations are either organizations sponsored by MTSU (such as student government associations, associated student body organizations, and professional and honor societies) or organizations officially registered by MTSU. Organizations that may be registered to operate on campus include the following: (a) honors and leadership organizations and recognition societies; (b) departmental organizations and professional fraternities and sororities; (c) social fraternities and sororities; (d) special interest groups (political, religious, etc.); and e) sports clubs (competes against sports clubs at other colleges and universities). Registration of a student organization by MTSU does not constitute and should not be construed as approval or endorsement by MTSU of the purposes or objectives of the organization.

III. General Policies on Student Organizations

A.  MTSU will not discriminate against or deny recognition to any student organization, or deny to a student organization access to programs, funding, or facilities otherwise available to another student organization, on the basis of any protected category set forth in Policy 25 Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Nondiscrimination, or on the basis of the protected speech of the organization. In addition, pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-7-156, MTSU will not discriminate against a religious student organization on the basis of the organization’s exercise of its rights under Section D. 2 below.

B.  No student organization may carry on any activity on the campus of MTSU unless the organization has been officially registered by MTSU.

C.  MTSU is not responsible for injuries or damages to persons or property resulting from the activities of student organizations, or for any debts or liabilities incurred by such organizations.

D.  Except as provided below, no student organization shall deny membership to any person on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability status, age, or status as a covered veteran.

1.  Social fraternities and sororities may have sex restricted membership;

2.  Pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-7-156(b), a religious student organization may determine that the organization’s religious mission requires that only persons professing the faith of the group and comporting themselves in conformity with it qualify to serve as members or leaders of the group.

E.  No student organization or individual shall engage in or condone any form of hazing. Hazing shall include, but is not limited to: any action taken, or situation created intentionally, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment or ridicule; any form of verbal or physical harassment or abuse; and engaging in public stunts, morally degrading or humiliating behavior or games, whether on or off campus. Excessive demands on a student's time so as to interfere with academic performance are prohibited. Threatening in any manner or form for the purpose of cajoling individuals into secrecy in regard to breaches (planned, threatened, attempted, or perpetrated) of hazing violations also is prohibited. Hazing activity that is in violation of any other MTSU policy, standard, rule, or procedure such as the misuse of alcohol, drugs, school property, etc., is strictly forbidden.

F.  Student organizations are vicariously responsible and liable for the conduct and actions of each member of the organization while acting in the capacity of a member or while attending or participating in any activity of the organization.

G.  No person, group, or organization may use the name of MTSU in any manner, provided that registered student organizations may use the name of MTSU following the name of the organization. No person, group, or organization may use the seal or any symbol of MTSU without the prior written approval of the President or designee.

IV. Criteria for Registration of Organizations

A.  Except as provided in Section III. D. above, any proposed student organization shall be open to all students of MTSU who otherwise meet membership requirements. Membership in the organization shall be limited to currently enrolled students of MTSU, provided that organizations may include faculty and staff of MTSU. Exceptions can be made provided they are approved by the President or designee.

B.  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 and goals, with a specific purpose to further those illegal aims and goals.

C.  The proposed organization must agree to comply with all policies, rules, and procedures established by MTSU and with all federal and state laws and regulations.

D.  The proposed organization must not: (a) have illegal aims and goals; (b) propose activities that would violate policies, standards, rules, or procedures of MTSU, or federal or state laws and regulations, or materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of MTSU; or (c) advocate incitement of imminent lawless action in a manner that is likely to produce such action.

E.  The proposed organization must have a minimum of five (5) charter members designated by MTSU and there must be a demonstration of continuous interest in the purposes of the organization sufficient to afford registration on a long-term basis. In the event there is not sufficient interest to warrant long-term registration, MTSU may grant temporary registration to an organization for a limited period of time.

F.  New organizations may be denied registration where the purposes are within the scope of a currently registered organization. No organization may use the same name, or a name that is misleading and similar to the name of a currently registered organization.

G.  The organization must provide for the distribution of all funds and assets in the event of dissolution.

V. Procedure for Registration of Organizations

A.  In order to become officially registered as a student organization, a group must meet the criteria set forth in Section IV. above and must complete the following:

1.  Register through the MTSU Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL).

2.  Provide the proposed constitution and bylaws of the organization, which must clearly contain the following: the name, purpose, proposed activities, and rules of membership of the organization; the officers, their terms, and methods of selection; the proposed nature and frequency of meetings and activities; and the financial plans of the organization, including any proposed fees, dues, and assessments.

3.  Provide the names and signatures of the charter members of the organization.

4.  Provide the names of the faculty adviser and/or the administrative staff person of MTSU who will advise the organization.

5.  Provide a statement of assurance of compliance by the organization that it will comply with all rules and regulations, policies and procedures of MTSU and with all federal and state laws and regulations.

B.  Copies of the foregoing documents and information must be submitted to the Director of Student Organizations and Service who shall make a recommendation regarding the registration of the proposed organizations to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, whose approval of the registration is necessary before the organization can be officially registered.

C.  The Director of Student Organizations and Service and/or Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, may require the advisor(s) of the proposed student organization to clarify any materials or information provided in the registration process, to resubmit the application or request with non-conforming materials or provisions deleted, or meet with the Director of Student Organizations and Service for the purpose of obtaining additional information concerning the purposes, aims, or proposed activities of the organization.

VI. Nature and Conditions of Registration and Renewal

A.  Registration of a student organization for other than a temporary period will be on an annual basis only, effective until the beginning of the next fall term, and shall be subject to annual renewal by MTSU for each ensuing year.

B.  Annual renewal of registration of an organization shall be dependent upon the organization's demonstration of compliance with the following:

1.  It must adhere to the purposes, aims, and activities as stated in the approved constitution and bylaws;

2.  It must continue to meet all of the requirements for initial registration;

3.  It must have remained in compliance with all policies, standards, rules, and procedures of MTSU and all federal and state laws;

4.  It must submit all changes in the constitution and bylaws to MTSU for approval;

5.  It must maintain a current list of officers and advisers on file with MTSU;

6.  It must have submitted all required financial and other reports to MTSU; and

7.  All debts with the University must be paid in full unless the University has approved a payment plan; and

8.  The president or an officer of the organization must attend either: (a) a retreat, Presidium, in the fall of each year; or (b) the Orientation for Student Organizations at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

VII. Fiscal Procedures

A.  Each organization shall maintain a sound financial system related to the collection and disbursement of funds in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. An organization may be subject to audit by representatives of MTSU at any time and appropriate financial records shall be maintained for the purposes of audit. A sound financial system includes at a minimum the preparation of an annual financial report reflecting all revenues received and all disbursements made by the organization and financial reports identifying all fund-raising activities of the organization.

B.  Each organization shall designate an officer of the organization who is responsible for the collection and disbursement of funds and the maintenance of books and records and preparation of financial reports for the organization.

VIII. Reports

A.  Each organization is required to complete an Organization Information Report and Statement of Assurance annually during the Orientation for Student Organizations.

B.  The Director of Student Organizations and Service and/or Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs may require an organization to submit an annual financial report reflecting all revenues received and disbursed by the organization.

C.  The Director of Student Organizations and Service and/or Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs may require an organization to submit interim financial reports identifying all fund-raising activity of the organization.

IX. Programs and Activities

A.  The use of any campus property or buildings by an organization shall be subject to the policies, standards, rules, and procedures of MTSU concerning use of property and facilities, including, but not limited, to Policy 100 Use of Campus Property and Facilities Scheduling. All organizations registered pursuant to this policy shall be affiliated organizations for the purposes of the above-referenced policies.

B.  Except for routine meetings of the organization, no on-campus program or activity shall be engaged in unless approved by the appropriate staff member in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. The organization is responsible for ensuring that all programs and activities (both on and off-campus) comply with state and local laws and regulations and meet the risk management guidelines required by their national organization, if any.

C.  Any fund-raising activity shall be for the benefit of the organization as a whole or a charity. No funds shall be distributed to the officers or members of an organization for personal profit or gain.

D.  No guest speakers shall be invited to the campus except pursuant to policies of MTSU concerning guest or off-campus speakers. See Policy 100 Use of Campus Property and Facilities Scheduling.

X. Officers of Student Organizations

No student who is under academic or disciplinary suspension from MTSU shall be eligible to become, or maintain the status of, an officer of an organization. Faculty and staff who are not enrolled MTSU students cannot serve as officers.

XI. Probation, Suspension, and Withdrawal of Registration

A.  An organization may be placed on probation, be temporarily interim suspended, be suspended for a specific period of time, or have its registration withdrawn for any of the following reasons:

1.  fails to maintain compliance with the initial requirements for registration;

2.  ceases to operate as an active organization;

3.  requests withdrawal of registration;

4.  operates or engages in any activity in violation of policies, standards, or rules of MTSU, or federal or state laws;

5.  fails to submit any required reports; or

6.  organization and/or any individuals or entities affiliated with the organization, including but not limited to national organizations, housing corporations, or other entities acting in concert with or on behalf of a student organization, fails to satisfy any financial obligations to the University.

B.  An organization that is placed on probation may continue to hold meetings but may not sponsor any activity or program. An organization that is interim suspended or suspended may not engage in or sponsor any activity or program and may not hold meetings. Any organization that engages in operations in violation of this provision is subject to additional sanctions, up to and including withdrawal of registration. Where registration of an organization is withdrawn, it shall cease to exist as an organization.

C.  In the event an organization is placed on probation, interim suspended, or suspended, or registration is withdrawn pursuant to this section, the organization shall be afforded the opportunity for a hearing in the manner set forth in Policy 540 Student Disciplinary Rules.

D.  No organization which has been interim suspended, suspended, or its registration withdrawn pursuant to this section shall be reinstated or registered with the University unless the following criteria have been met:

1.  The student organization has complied with all conditions and requirements imposed by this policy and the disciplinary decision that resulted in the organization’s interim suspension, suspension, or withdrawal of registration;

2.  The student organization has remedied the violation that led to the interim suspension, suspension, or withdrawal of registration and put a written plan in place, which has been approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs, to prevent the reoccurrence of the event that led to the interim suspension, suspension, or withdrawal of registration; and

3.  The student organization and any individuals or entities affiliated with the student organization, including but not limited to national organizations, housing corporations, or other entities acting in concert with or on behalf of the organization, have satisfied all outstanding financial obligations to the University.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

References:  Policies 25 Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Non-discrimination; 100 Use of Campus Property and Facilities Scheduling; 540 Student Disciplinary Rules; T.C.A. § 49-7-106; 49-7-156(b).