Student Organizations: Policy and Procedures

Any student organization desiring to take advantage of privileges afforded by the college must register with Student Involvement at The Point, 131 Marano Campus Center, 315.312.5420. Students interested in registering a student organization should contact the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement for specific information on the registration process.  All student organizations which meet college requirements for registration will be permitted to register. The college is committed to providing support and assistance to all properly registered student organizations. The initial step to receiving this support and assistance is the completion of the registration process.

1. General Policy

  A. Within the context of this policy, the term, “registered student organization” shall mean a student organization that has complied with the formal requirements for registration with the college as provided in Section 18 of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.

  B. The registration of a student organization results from compliance with these regulations and is simply a means by which the student organization may receive standard privileges granted when certain minimum requirements are met.

  C. Standard registration privileges are granted to all student organizations that annually complete the registration process.  These standard privileges include:

  • Use of college facilities and grounds
  • Use of college services
  • Sponsorship of events
  • Advertising or posting on college bulletin boards and in LakerLife
  • On-campus fundraising activities
  • Use of the phrase “at SUNY Oswego" or "at Oswego State”
  • Assistance from student involvement staff

  D. Registration does not generate a contractual relationship between the college and the student organization nor does it imply college approval of the student organization or its activities.

  E. Acceptance of registration by a student organization shall constitute an agreement by the organization, its officers, and members to observe and abide by the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, the Regulations and Procedures for Maintaining Public Order on Campuses of the State University of New York, all college policies and local, state, and federal laws.

  F. Registrations are only valid from the first day of each fall semester until the last day of the subsequent summer session.

  G. The president of each registered student organization shall be a student and be the official contact person for the organization and shall be accountable to the college for all actions and financial commitments of the organization.

  H. Student organizations that desire to be recognized (and potentially funded) by the Student Association and receive the rights and privileges of recognition must meet the requirements set forth by the Student Association.

  I. All references to “in writing” herein refer to communications delivered via either a printed letter, an e-mail, or message through Laker Life.

2. Registration of Student Organizations

  A. Creating a new organization


    1.  Students wishing to start a new organization will start the "New Organization Process" in Laker Life and then meet with a staff member from Student Involvement.
    2.  The student forming the newly proposed student organization may seek advisement and support from the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement and/or designees until a faculty/staff advisor is selected by the organization.

  B. Initial registration

    1. To be considered for registration, a student organization must meet certain registration requirements including the submission of the following registration documents:

  • A completed New Student Organization Kit
  • A completed Student Organization Registration Form
  • A copy of the organization’s constitution and bylaws
  • Where applicable, a copy of the organization’s charter issued by its parent organization
  • Where applicable, a copy of the current constitution and bylaws of its parent organization
  • Students wishing to create a new student organization will have access to the New Student Organization Kit in LakerLife beginning on October 1st and ending on the Friday prior to spring break

    2.  All registered student organizations are required to have an adviser who is directly affiliated with the college such as faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and non-student employees of Auxiliary Services, the Oswego college Foundation and the Student Association.  Student organizations seeking assistance in adviser selection should contact the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement and/or designee.

    3.  The following additional registration criteria are required of Greek letter social organizations:
       a.  Successful completion of all requirements for expansion as outlined in the Greek Expansion process
       b.  Proof of liability insurance naming the State of New York, State University of New York, and the college at Oswego as additionally named insureds
       c.  The minimum amount for the general liability insurance should be in the amount of $1 million
       d.  Greek letter social organizations must abide by the policies and procedures set forth in the Fraternity and Sorority Standards of Excellence program

    4.  A competitive sport club is a student group that organizes for the purpose of furthering their members' common interest in a specific athletic sport and to compete with other sport clubs in one or more competitions. The following additional registration criteria may be required of competitive sport clubs:

        a.  Proof of liability insurance naming the college, its employees and the State University of New York (SUNY) as additionally named insureds.
        b.  Competitive sport clubs are required to retain a coach/instructor who will be present at all practices, scrimmages, and competitions held on college grounds and facilities.  It is recommended that each competitive sport club select a coach/instructor, preferably from college faculty and staff, who has the appropriate training/credentials as determined by the governing body of its league/association.

    5.  The officers of student organizations that engage in selective membership practices (organizations not open to all students or organizations that have selective membership levels) are required to attend an information session(s) that explains specific risk management issues relevant to the selective nature of the organization, and disseminate that information to members.

    6.  Within five (5) class days of receipt of all completed registration documents and submission of additional registration requirements, the newly registered student organization will be approved in LakerLife and listed in the directory of registered organizations in LakerLife.

 C. Criteria for denial of initial registration

       1.        No student organization will be registered with the college if:

  • The student organization has not filed required sections of the New Student Organization Kit
  • The student organization has not filed complete and accurate registration documents
  • Additional registration criteria have not been met
  • The officers of a selective membership organization have not attended required information session(s) on risk management
  • The student organization is not in compliance with this policy on registered student organizations, the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, the Regulations and Procedures for Maintaining Public Order on Campuses of the State University of New York, or other written college policies and procedures
  • The student organization’s activities are inconsistent with the educational mission of the college
  • Where applicable, the student organization has not received official affiliation with its parent organization
  • The purpose of the organization is similar to one already registered
  • The student organization has been previously suspended or expelled from continuing registration at the college

     2.  If registration is denied by a staff member of The Point, the student applying for the potential student organization in Laker Life shall be notified of the decision in writing.

     3.  The applying student organization may appeal, in writing, to the Director of Campus Life within five (5) class days from the date of the notice of denial.  The decision of the Director of Campus Life is final.

     4.  If registration is denied, the organization must wait one calendar year from the date of denial to apply for registration by submitting a newly completed New Organization Kit in Laker Life.

  D. Annual renewal

In order to maintain continued registration, a registered student organization shall comply with the requirements outlined below. At any time, registration will be suspended or withdrawn, along with all standard privileges, until such time as these requirements are met.

       1.   The student organization must file the following registration documents with the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement, within the first ten (10) class days of the fall semester each year:

  • A completed Student Organization Registration Form
  • A copy of the organization’s current constitution and bylaws
  • Where applicable, a copy of the organization’s charter issued by its parent organization
  • Where applicable, a copy of the current constitution and bylaws of its parent organization

     2.  All registered student organizations are required to have an adviser who is directly affiliated with the college such as faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and non-student employees of Auxiliary Services, the Oswego college Foundation and the Student Association.

   Student organizations seeking assistance in adviser selection should contact the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement and/or designee.

     3.  The following additional registration criteria are required of Greek letter social organizations:  proof of liability insurance naming the State of New York, State University of New York and SUNY Oswego as additionally named insureds;

     4.  The minimum amount for the general liability insurance should be in the amount of $1 million.

     5.  The following additional registration criteria may be required of competitive sport clubs:

  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Competitive sport clubs are required to retain a coach/instructor who will be present at all practices, scrimmages, and competitions held on college grounds and facilities.  It is recommended that each competitive sport club select a coach/instructor, preferably from college faculty and staff, who has the appropriate training/credentials as determined by the governing body of its league/association.

     6.  The officers of student organizations that engage in selective membership practices (organizations not open to all students or organizations that have selective membership levels) are required to attend an information session(s) that explains specific risk management issues relevant to the selective nature of the organization and disseminate that information to the members.

     7.  Greek letter social organizations are to provide "Bid Lists" to the Student Involvement Advisor within three (3) class days of starting an affiliation (pledge) program. The "Bid List" will include the names of new members and contact information for them.  Within three (3) class days of the completion of the organization's affiliation program, the organization should notify the Student Involvement Advisor of the completion of their program, make all appropriate changes to their "Bid List" and identify anyone who did not complete the program.

     8.  Greek letter social organizations are to have all individuals participating in their affiliation (pledge) programs attend an educational program covering Greek Life and Hazing policies. This program will be a collaborative effort of the Student Involvement Advisor and the Greek Council. Any Greek letter social organization adding new members (pledges) after this program and/or starting their affiliation programs after this time must arrange a meeting with the Student Involvement Advisor or designee to review the Greek Life and Hazing policies with members and pledges.

     9.  Greek letter social organizations must abide by the freshman deferment, grade point average, and expansion policies of the college.

    10.  Greek letter social organizations must abide by the policies and procedures set forth in the Fraternity and Sorority Standards of Excellence program.

     11. All Greek letter social organization New Member Education programs must occur under the guidance of and with approval from Student Involvement Advisor.  The Student Involvement Advisor will schedule the start and end dates for New Member Education, during which each organization’s affiliation activities must take place.  New Member Education will occur once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester in a pre-determined window of time, which will not exceed 8 calendar weeks; organizations cannot educate or initiate new members at any other time during the calendar year.

     12.  Greek letter social organizations choosing not to conduct a new member program in any given semester must complete the New Member Education Abstention Form notifying Student Involvement of the decision.

  E. Suspension of continued registration

     1.  Suspension of continued registration shall mean that the student organization’s registration, and all registration privileges, will be terminated for a specific period of time, not to exceed two calendar years.

     2.  The registration of a student organization, and all registration privileges, may be suspended by the college as a result of a college disciplinary hearing or while a Statement of Charges alleging misconduct by the organization is pending.

     3.  The Director of Campus Life or designee may suspend a student organization if:

  1. The student organization has not filed all required registration documents within the first ten (10) class days in the fall semester
  2. The student organization has not filed complete or accurate registration documents
  3. Additional registration criteria have not been met
  4. The officers of a selective membership organization have not attended required information session(s) on risk management
  5. The student organization has not provided timely notification of a change in officer(s), adviser, constitution, or bylaws
  6. The student organization is not in compliance with this policy on registered student organizations
  7. A statement of charges alleging misconduct by members of the organization, or sponsored by the organization (new member affiliation, etc.) is pending
  8. The student organization has been denied official affiliation with their parent organization.  In such cases, an application for registration shall not be considered until the action taken by the parent organization is no longer in effect

     4.  The president of the registered student organization and its adviser shall be notified in writing by the Assistant Dean of Students and/or the Director of Campus Life, or designee, of the suspension of registration and of the reason(s) for such action, the effective date of the suspension, the length of time for which registration has been suspended, and any conditions that must be met before registration will be reinstated.

     5.  A student organization may be found responsible, through the college’s student conduct process, for misconduct, and subject to sanctions resulting from that finding, including but not limited to suspension of privileges, conditions of registration, or restitution.

     6.  Organizations that are suspended from registration shall not operate on campus, hold events or activities in campus facilities, recruit members from the student body, post, advertise or communicate through campus computer networks or media, unless otherwise permitted by the decision of the hearing body.

 F. Expulsion from continued registration

      1.   Expulsion from continued registration shall mean that the student organization’s registration and standard registration privileges will be terminated for an indefinite period of time.

      2.   The student organization may be expelled from continued registration should the college determine that:

  1. The student organization is not in compliance with this policy on registered student organizations, the Regulations and Procedures for Maintaining Public Order on Campuses of the State University of New York or other written college policies and procedures
  2. The student organization’s activities are found to be inconsistent with the educational mission of the college
  3. Where applicable, the student organization has lost its official affiliation with its parent organization
  4. Organizations expelled from registration with the college shall not operate on campus, hold events or activities in campus facilities, recruit members from the student body, post, advertise or communicate through campus computer networks or media
  5. Any student who joins or affiliates with an expelled student organization is subject to college disciplinary action

  G. Withdrawal of continued registration

     1.  Registered student organizations that wish to withdraw their registration with the college may do so in writing to the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement.
     2.  Upon withdrawing their registration with the college, the student organization, along with its officers and members, will lose all of the privileges provided to registered student organizations.
     3.  Withdrawn student organizations may reapply for registration by complying with the Initial Registration procedures and satisfying any outstanding disciplinary sanctions and/or additional registration requirements requested of them to return as a registered student organization.
     4. Organizations that withdraw from registration shall not operate on campus, hold events or activities in campus facilities, recruit members from the student body, post, advertise or communicate through campus computer networks or media.

 H. Violations and reporting

Violations of college policy, the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, or the Regulations and Procedures for Maintaining Public Order on Campuses of the State University of New York, both on and off campus, by members of registered student organizations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  The nature and severity of an infraction(s) resulting from student organizational activities, traditions, and practices,  or infractions resulting from the actions of members or others within the property owned or rented by the organization or members of the organization, will determine the procedure for adjudication and appropriate sanction(s).  The result of an investigation may lead to disciplinary action against individual member(s) or officers representing the organization; in which case, notice to the individual members or officers will be provided by the college.

  I. Standards for registered student organizations

     1.  Changes in officer(s), adviser, coach, constitution or by-laws: Notification of any change in officer(s), adviser, coach, constitution, or bylaws shall be filed with the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement, and/or through updating the organization’s Laker Life page by the president of the student organization within five (5) class days after such change takes effect.

     2.  Membership

  1. Within the context of this policy, the term “college community” shall mean the students, faculty, and staff of the college and the employees of Auxiliary Services, the Oswego college Foundation and the Student Association.
  2. Membership in registered student organizations shall be open to all constituents of the college community who are willing to subscribe to the stated aims and to meet the stated obligations of the registered student organization.
  3. Membership in student organizations recognized by Student Association shall be open to all student activity fee paying students of the college and who are willing to subscribe to the stated aims and to meet the stated obligations of the registered student organization.
  4. Membership in registered student organizations shall be open to all, as described in b. and c. above, without regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability, except in the cases of academic honor societies, designated sports clubs and Greek letter social organizations which are exempted by federal law from Title IX Regulations concerning discrimination on the basis of sex.
  5. Membership in social and service fraternities and sororities can only be granted to undergraduate students who affiliate through the means delineated in the Student Organization Procedures.  The College does not acknowledge secondary or special status memberships (honorary memberships, little brothers/sisters, etc.) for undergraduate students to these organizations.  Social and service fraternities and sororities will limit participation in and solicitation of new member affiliation programs to students who have completed 12 credit hours at SUNY Oswego and maintained a Grade Point Average of 2.25 or higher.  Transfer students who have matriculated at another institution of higher education (in an academic year following their graduation from high school) and completed 12 credit hours or more may apply for participation in new member affiliation (pledging) programs.
  6. Membership selection criteria must be relevant to the goals and objectives of the student organization and congruent with college educational purposes.
  7. Members of registered student organizations must be provided notice and an appeal process for actions taken against them by the organization.  A model for such due process is available from the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement and/or the Student Association’s Supreme Court.
  8. Only constituents of the college community may hold membership in a registered student organization.
  9. Only students may serve as executive officers in a registered student organization.
  10. Students who act as agents to promote student organizations that have been denied registration, or who make use of college facilities and services to benefit student organizations that have been denied registration, will be considered in violation of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.

     3.  Financial management and accountability: The registered student organization is solely responsible for any obligations entered into by the organization or any debts incurred by the organization.

     4.  Organization advisors
        a. All registered student organizations are required to have an advisor who is directly affiliated with the college such as faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and non-student employees of Auxiliary Services, the Oswego college Foundation and the Student Association.  Student organizations seeking assistance in advisor selection should contact the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement.
        b. The general purpose of an organization advisor is to provide insight and guidance that assists a student organization in furthering its purpose and enhancing the meaningfulness of organization membership.
        c. Registered student organizations are strongly encouraged to take full advantage of the valuable role an advisor serves.
        d. As a general rule, the advisor should counsel the organization in the exercise of responsibility, be familiar with the organization’s programs and be familiar with college policies and procedures.  Advisers do not have authority to control the policies of an organization.
        e. Specific written duties or expectations of an adviser shall be mutually agreed upon by the adviser and the student organization.  These responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide continuity for the student organization by assisting with the transition of officers
  • Be reasonably informed of the purpose and activities of the student organization
  • Assist the student organization in complying with this policy, registered student organizations, Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, and other written college policies and procedures
  • Accompany and/or assist, as needed, organization officers in their dealings with college or outside public on behalf of the organization
  • Be reasonably informed of the student organization’s financial matters
  • Assist the student organization in setting goals and objectives
  • Be available to the organization’s officers and members for consultation
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Accept the student organization’s invitation to join their Laker Life page after the president lists them on the “Student Organization Registration Form” in LakerLife
  • Assist in other responsibilities mutually agreed upon between the adviser and the student organization

        f. Advisors to registered student organizations involved in campus governance are appointed by the Dean of Students after consultation with the organization’s student officers and other interested parties, as appropriate.  Other registered student organizations may select a new adviser as the need arises.  Notification of a change in adviser shall be filed with the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Involvement, The Point, 131 Marano Campus Center, by the president of the student organization within five (5) class days after such change takes effect.  Additionally, the president of the student organization needs to invite the new advisor to join the organization’s page in LakerLife.
        g. In carrying out their responsibilities, organization advisors shall be protected from liability in accordance with the Public Officers Law of the State of New York.