III:01:01 Student Organizations

I. SCOPE

This policy is enacted pursuant to Tennessee Board of Regents' ("TBR") Policy 3:01:01:00 Student Organizations and sets forth the standards for the registration and conduct of student organizations at Middle Tennessee State University ("MTSU").

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; and (d) special interest groups (political, religious, athletic, etc.). 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 MTSU Policy I:01:10 Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Nondiscrimination, or the protected speech of the organization. In addition, pursuant to TENN. CODE ANN. § 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 age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability status, or status as a covered veteran.

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

2. Pursuant to TENN. CODE ANN. § 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 regulation 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 his/her 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, and/or spouses of students, faculty and staff, and provided further that professional organizations may include members of the professional and business communities as members.

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, regulations and procedures established by TBR and 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 regulations of TBR, 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 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 Office of Leadership and Service.

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 officers of MTSU who will sponsor 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 TBR and MTSU and with all federal and state laws and regulations.

6. Provide statements of assurance concerning non-discrimination and responsible use of alcohol.

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

C. The Director of Leadership and Service and/or Vice President for Student Affairs may require the sponsor(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 to appear at an institutional hearing for the purpose of obtaining additional information and testimony 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 rules and regulations 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, faculty advisers and sponsors on file with MTSU;

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

7. The President of the organization must attend either: (a) a retreat, THE PRESIDIUM, in the fall of each year; or (b) the Orientation for Student Organizations at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

VII. REPORTS

A. Each organization is required to complete an Organization Information Report and Statement of Assurance at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters during the Orientation for Student Organizations.

B. The Director of Leadership 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 Leadership 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.

VIII. FISCAL PROCEDURES

A. Each organization shall maintain a sound financial system related to the collection and disbursement of revenues 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.

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.

IX. PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

A. The use of any campus property or buildings by an organization shall be subject to the rules and regulations of TBR and MTSU concerning use of property and facilities, including, but not limited, to TBR Policy 1:03:02:50 Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities and MTSU Policy I:01:06 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 designated bodies and/or officials of MTSU. The organization is responsible for ensuring that all programs and activities (both on and off-campus) comply with state and local 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 TBR and MTSU concerning guest or off-campus speakers. See TBR Policy 1:03:02:50 Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities, and MTSU Policy I:01:06 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.

XI. PROBATION, SUSPENSION, AND WITHDRAWAL OF REGISTRATION

A. An organization may be placed on probation, be suspended, or registration may be withdrawn for any of the following reasons:

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

2. The organization ceases to operate as an active organization;

3. The organization requests withdrawal of registration;

4. The organization operates or engages in any activity in violation of rules and regulations of TBR, MTSU, or federal or state laws;

5. The organization fails to submit any required reports; or

6. The 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 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 Paragraph 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 or suspended, or registration is withdrawn pursuant to Section XI. A., the organization shall be afforded the opportunity for a hearing in the manner set forth in the MTSU Student Disciplinary Rules.

D. No student organization which has been suspended or its registration withdrawn pursuant to Section XI. A. 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 suspension or withdrawal of registration;

2. The student organization has remedied the violation that led to the 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 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 a student organization, have satisfied all outstanding financial obligations to the University.

Revisions: May 22, 2012; December 4, 2013.

Cross-references: TBR Policies 3:01:01:00 Student Organizations; 1:03:02:50 Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities; MTSU Policies I:01:10 Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Nondiscrimination;  I:01:06 Use of Campus Property and Facilities Scheduling.