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Student Organization Policy

Chapter 8540

Issued August 14, 2017


Table of Contents

.010 Introduction

.020 Definitions

.030 Classification of Student Organizations

.040 Registration Requirements

.050 Use of University’s Name and Other Trademarks

.060 Process for Registering an Organization

.070 Process for Revoking Registration of an Organization

.080 Resources Available to Registered Student Organizations

.090 Requesting SGA Funds

.100 Relation to Student Conduct Policies

.110 List of Registered Student Organizations

.120 Questions


.010 Introduction

Student organizations are organizations that provide the opportunity for students to connect with other students who have similar interests. These opportunities may lead to leadership, personal growth, community services, professional development, and learning from others. Kansas State University recognizes that students should have an avenue to form and join organizations to support their own personal and educational goals. The purpose of registering with the University is to provide that opportunity for students, facilitate communications between the University and the organizations, and streamline interactions between the organizations and the University.

The Center for Student Involvement is the University office designated as the point of contact for registered student organizations. The Center facilitates the registration process, provides informational materials to inquiring students, and offers general programming on topics such as leadership development, which students in the groups may find helpful in running their organizations.

.020 Definitions

DEPARTMENT: An official college, department, or unit of Kansas State University (or the K-State Alumni Association (KSAA) or KSU Foundation (KSUF), as applicable and as defined and set forth below).

MEMBER(S): A member of an organization is any person who has met the organization’s requirements for membership and is considered a voting member of the organization. 

CENTER: The Center for Student Involvement.

DSO: Departmental Student Organization, as more fully described below.

ISO: Independent Student Organization, as more fully described below.

ONLINE PORTAL: The online portal available to REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS and requires authentication with an eID and password.

REGISTERED ORGANIZATION: A student organization that has completed and maintained the necessary requirements to register with the University through the CENTER.

STUDENT: Any person enrolled in at least one credit hour at Kansas State University during the current academic term.  During the time frame between the spring and fall semesters, a person enrolled in at least one credit hour during the immediately preceding semester shall be considered a student for purposes of this Policy.

STUDENT GOVERNING ASSOCIATION (SGA): The elected student leaders of Kansas State University Student Governing Association who are duly elected or appointed to positions in accordance with the Constitution, By-Laws and Statutes of the association.

STUDENT ORGANIZATION COMMITTEE (SOC): A committee of SGA with the purpose of making recommendations to the Assistant Vice President/Director of Student Life upon an appeal of registration decisions by CENTER staff.

.030 Classification of Student Organizations

There are two classifications of student organizations permitted to register with the University: Departmental Student Organizations (DSO) and Independent Student Organizations (ISO). This classification defines the organizations’ relationship with the University (or the KSAA or KSUF, as applicable and as defined and set forth below).

DSO: A Departmental Student Organization is a REGISTERED ORGANIZATION having a purpose that is critical to the mission of the University and that is sponsored by a DEPARTMENT. A DSO directly furthers the mission of the sponsoring DEPARTMENT, and the DEPARTMENT has supervisory responsibility—through a designated departmental employee—over the officers, operations, and activities planned by the organization. The KSAA and KSUF may be a sponsoring department of organizations whose purpose is directly related to the missions of the respective entity and the University and, for that purpose, shall be considered a DEPARTMENT throughout this Policy. The CENTER shall not be the sponsoring department of any DSO.

Key Indicators of DSO status: The following are considered key indicators that a student organization qualifies as a DSO. A DSO is not required to meet every indicator but collectively must reflect a substantial portion of the indicators and must meet certain indicators, as determined by the CENTER.

  • The organization plays a critical role in the day-to-day functions and mission of a DEPARTMENT.
  • The designated DEPARTMENT employee(s)’ position description(s) should include the duties related to the organization.
  • The MEMBERS may be official volunteers or employees (as applicable) of the University (or the KSAA or KSUF, as applicable) with regards to services they engage in.
  • The organization receives all or part of its funding from a DEPARTMENT, and all funds for the organization are maintained by the DEPARTMENT. A DSO may also receive funding from other sources so long as the funds are maintained by the DEPARTMENT and otherwise in accordance with University policies and applicable law.
  • The organization’s activities and services appeal to the University community beyond the MEMBERS of the organization.
  • The organization is included on the DEPARTMENT’s website.
  • The DEPARTMENT has authority to establish, maintain, or eliminate the organization.
  • The DEPARTMENT can recommend and require student leadership change.

ISO: An Independent Student Organization is any REGISTERED ORGANIZATION that is not a DSO, and meets the minimum requirements for an ISO listed in this Policy. An ISO is not operated by or affiliated with the University, and University employees are not permitted to act as advisors to ISOs within the context of their University employment. Except as specifically identified by a separate written agreement signed by an approved University signatory after approval by the Office of General Counsel, the University does not control or accept responsibility for the activities nor endorse the programs or MEMBERS of ISOs. ISOs and their operations remain independent and distinct from the University. Participation in ISOs is not considered as part of or equivalent to any education program or activity operated by the University.

.040 Registration Requirements

All DSOs and ISOs must meet all of the following registration requirements in order to register and remain registered with the CENTER:

  1. Must annually submit a registration form. During the spring semester, the CENTER will announce to organizations the procedure and time frame for the annual registration process.  An organization that fails to register annually by the deadline will not be considered a REGISTERED ORGANIZATION until it completes the process and otherwise meets all registration requirements.
  2. Must maintain at least five STUDENT MEMBERS.
  3. All STUDENT MEMBERS of a REGISTERED ORGANIZATION are to be listed in the ONLINE PORTAL.
  4. Must submit with its registration form a constitution that will govern the organization. Constitutions may be as elaborate or as simple as the organization chooses, provided it has the following minimum requirements: a purpose, membership requirements, officers of the organization, meeting processes and notification protocol, process for removing MEMBERS/officers, and process for amending the constitution.
  5. May not have the primary purpose of individual instruction, charging fees, compensating an instructor or other University employee, or to operate as a for-profit business.
  6. An organization with the same purpose as an existing REGISTERED ORGANIZATION will not be allowed to register. The CENTER will examine every instance of similar purpose to determine if enough difference exists to permit more than one organization. If the groups are determined to have a substantially similar purpose, the CENTER will refer the students to the existing organization.
  7. May not have a purpose that would violate or advocate the violation of any University policy, local, state and federal law.
  8. Comply with applicable University policies, including but not limited to this Policy.
  9. All REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS must acknowledge and abide by the following:

The established policy of the Board of Regents prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, physical handicap or disability, status as a Vietnam Era Veteran, sexual orientation or other factors which cannot be lawfully considered, within the state universities. All fraternal and campus-related organizations shall follow this policy in the selection of their members, except the prohibition against sex discrimination shall not apply to social fraternities or sororities which are excluded from the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681 et seq.).

The right of organizations to establish standards for membership is acknowledged, provided that all students are afforded equal opportunity to meet those standards.  Just as all students have the right to choose those with whom they would associate on the campus, an organization shall have the right to select its members subject to these principles. Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as imposing a requirement which would violate the principle of selection on the basis of individual merit.

In addition, this policy does not prohibit a student organization that is organized around shared religious beliefs from requiring leaders or members to adhere to the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs, comply with the organization's sincerely held religious beliefs, comply with the organization’s sincere religious standards of conduct, and be committed to furthering the organization’s religious missions, beliefs, observance requirements and standards of conduct as defined by the organization or the religion on which the association is based.

In addition to requirements applicable to all REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS, DSOs also must meet the following registration requirements:

  1. The DEPARTMENT sponsoring the DSO must sign an annual form verifying its sponsorship of the organization.
  2. The constitution of a DSO must state that the DEPARTMENT has final say in matters of the organization.
  3. Membership must be restricted to 100% students.
  4. All funds and property of the DSO must be maintained by and belong to the DEPARTMENT.
  5. The DEPARTMENT must designate (an) employee(s) of the DEPARTMENT, with experience relevant to the purpose of the DSO, to support, develop, and direct the organization as part of the employee’s University (or KSAA or KSUF, as applicable) employment.
  6. MEMBERS carrying out activities as part of the DSO may sign volunteer agreements with the University, as, if, and when applicable (or with KSAA or KSUF, as applicable).
  7. DSOs may not be community living organizations. DSOs may not be governing bodies of ISOs or other community living organizations (ISOs or otherwise), or otherwise directly associated with ISOs or other community living organizations (ISOs or otherwise).
  8. DSOs may not be religious organizations, political or partisan organizations, or organizations that are independently incorporated or officially part of an entity independently incorporated. 

In addition to requirements applicable to all REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS, ISOs also must meet the following registration requirements:

  1. Students must constitute greater than 50% of the total MEMBERS.
  2. Have no outstanding debt with the University at the time of registration. If an ISO's debt to the University remains unpaid for 90 days or more, the University may suspend its registration until the debt is paid.
  3. An affiliation with an inter/national, regional, or local organization is not a requirement for ISOs. However, if an ISO is affiliated with a(n) inter/national, regional, or local organization or body that has governance or other supervisory authority over the ISO, and the ISO loses that affiliation by reason of de-recognition by that governing or supervisory organization or body, then upon proof of that de-recognition, the ISO shall also be deregistered by the University.
  4. Any ISO that provides community living, or is otherwise a member of or governs a group that provides community living, must submit to the CENTER documentation that demonstrates it has registered as a not-for-profit business entity with a state government or otherwise demonstrate that it is officially part of another incorporated entity that is registered as such with a state government. If an ISO is currently registered with the CENTER and begins providing community living after the time of registration, it shall, within two weeks, submit to the CENTER documentation that demonstrates it has registered as set forth above. ISOs shall have six (6) months from the effective date of this Policy to achieve compliance with this requirement.
  5. ISOs are prohibited from expressing or otherwise implying that they are the University or that they are part of the University. ISOs also are prohibited from expressing or otherwise implying the University’s sponsorship, endorsement, approval, or underwriting of the ISO, its products, activities, or services. Upon any demonstrated public confusion or other misperception about an ISO’s relationship with the University, the ISO through its officers must expressly and publicly clarify, to the extent reasonably possible, that the ISO is an entity separate and independent from the University.

.050 Use of University's Name and Other Trademarks

Requirements and limitations on the REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS’ use of the University name and other trademarks are set forth on the REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATION page of the University brand guide, available on the University’s Communications and Marketing website, and are incorporated into this Policy by reference.

Compliance with these requirements and limitations shall be considered requirements of registration under this Policy, in addition to any other legal obligations that apply.

.060 Process for Registering an Organization

Any student wishing to register an organization may contact the CENTER for assistance in registering. The staff is available to discuss all requirements, processes, and resources for registering.

The process for registering a new organization or re-registering an existing REGISTERED ORGANIZATION with the CENTER is as follows:

  1. Complete the electronic registration form available through the ONLINE PORTAL. Groups must submit all relevant information as set forth on the form, and must complete any training about student organizations as set forth on the registration form.
  2. A DSO’s sponsoring DEPARTMENT must respond to an electronic notification agreeing to sponsor the registering organization.
  3. Representative members of new organizations must meet with staff of the CENTER before registration will be approved.
  4. Electronic notification of registration will be sent to organizations after the required steps are completed and the information processed and confirmed. In most instances, registration can be completed in less than a week, but certain situations may delay registrations. All groups are encouraged to plan ahead and allow reasonable time for the CENTER to process the registration.

.070 Process for Revoking Registration of an Organization

If an organization fails to meet any registration requirement at the time of registration, the CENTER will not register the organization and will provide an explanation to the person(s) filing the registration of what requirement(s) is/are not met. If the CENTER has information that demonstrates that a REGISTERED ORGANIZATION has failed to maintain any registration requirement, the CENTER shall notify the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION president of record of the failure to maintain requirement(s) and provide three business days for the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION to respond in writing demonstrating its compliance with the registration requirements. If a DSO fails to maintain registration requirements, notices and written decisions also will be given to the applicable DEPARTMENT designated employee. 

After three business days, the CENTER shall consider all documentation and responses from the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION. The CENTER shall decide whether and which registration requirements are/were not met and the appropriate action (if applicable), including a warning, a probation, or a revocation, permanently or for a period of time specified, of the registration of the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION. The CENTER shall provide its decision(s) in writing to the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION within a reasonable amount of time, preferably not to exceed thirty (30) days. When applicable, the CENTER’s written decision shall also include a description of what the REGISTERED ORGANIZATION must to do to file an appeal. The CENTER’s decision shall be immediately implemented, regardless of any intent to appeal.

An organization (a current or former REGISTERED ORGANIZATION that was the subject of a decision of the CENTER, as set forth above) may appeal the CENTER’s decision(s) by submitting a letter in writing, along with any relevant documentation, within five (5) days of the CENTER’s written decision, to the chair of the SOC explaining every ground of why the appealing organization believes the CENTER’s decision was erroneous. The SOC shall consider the letter and documentation in making its determination. Within a reasonable time, and preferably within fourteen (14) calendar days during the academic year and preferably within 60 days during the summer semester, the SOC shall then submit a written recommendation of whether to grant or deny the appealing organization’s appeal with corresponding reasoning to the Director of Student Life, who shall make the University’s final determination in writing on the matters appealed. In making that decision, the Director of Student Life shall consider this Policy, the CENTER’s decision, the appealing organization’s written submissions and documents, and the SOC’s written recommendation.

The Director of Student Life shall provide his/her written decision on the appeal to the appealing organization within a reasonable amount time, preferably not to exceed thirty (30) days from receipt of the SOC’s recommendation. The Director of Student Life’s decision is a final decision of the University and not subject to further review within the University.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, for DSOs, the CENTER may choose to work directly with the sponsoring DEPARTMENT to assist the DEPARTMENT in ensuring the DSO achieves and maintains compliance with registration requirements, including but not limited to those required to maintain the DSO classification.

.080 Resources Available to Registered Student Organizations

The following resources are available to all REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS.

  • ONLINE PORTAL: All REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS are provided space on the ONLINE PORTAL as a part of their registration.  Groups may use this space to track and communicate with MEMBERS, store files for sharing, list and promote events and many other useful tools.
  • Facility use: A REGISTERED ORGANIZATION is eligible to use facilities on campus to host meetings and events. Cost and other specific requirements may differ among departments and are subject to availability.
  • Promotion: A REGISTERED ORGANIZATION is allowed to promote on campus their organization and upcoming events and activities.  All promotions must be in accordance with the CENTER's Sales, Solicitation and Advertising Policy (PPM 8580) and other University policies.
  • Events: All REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS have the opportunity to participate in CENTER events and workshops and use the space in the CENTER for group activities, subject to availability and approval.
  • Email: All REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS may be allowed to establish an email account with a domain name established by the University and licensed for use by the ISOs that can be used for REGISTERED ORGANIZATION communications.

By granting ISOs access to these resources or others, the University does not assume control or responsibility for the ISO’s activities, nor does it endorse the programs of ISOs. ISOs and their activities and operations remain independent and distinct from the University.

The following resources are available only to DSOs.  If a DSO loses its classification for any reason, the DSO must immediately discontinue using these resources.

  • Motor Pool: A DSO may be eligible to use motor pools for travel if qualified and as applicable under motor pool policy.
  • Foundation Accounts: Subject to the KSUF policies, a DSO may establish an account with the KSUF. The use of a KSUF account must follow all KSUF policies.
  • Tax Status: DSOs may use the University’s tax ID number, tax-exempt status and University's not-for-profit status in conducting its activities.
  • Website: A DSO may establish a University website (www.k-state.edu/studyclub) by submitting the necessary requests and attending any required trainings.

All activities, including the use of these resources, must be under the approval of the DEPARTMENT.

.090 Requesting SGA Funds

Any REGISTERED ORGANIZATION may be eligible to request funds from SGA for its activities. Eligibility and further requirements are set forth in SGA bylaws, as amended from time to time, but this Policy shall control in the event of any conflict with SGA bylaws or other governing documents.

A DSO receiving funds from SGA shall have the money transferred to a University account where the money shall be distributed in accordance with University, department, SGA policies and the legislation distributing those funds.

An ISO receiving funds from SGA shall receive the money in the form of an award presented to the ISO. The ISO is solely responsible for use of the funds in accordance with the terms of the award, which may be considered in SGA decisions about whether to grant future awards. ISOs shall be required to sign an award agreement prior to receiving any funds.

By SGA granting an award of funds to ISO, the University does not assume control or responsibility for the ISO's activities, nor does it endorse the programs of ISOs. ISOs and their activities and operations remain independent and distinct from the University.

.100 Relation to Student Conduct Policies

All student conduct matters reported to the University shall be governed by and reviewed under applicable University policies and practices, including but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, the Threat Management Policy, the Critical Incident Response Team Process, and the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Stalking, and Procedure for Reviewing Complaints. All policies are subject to the jurisdictional provisions set forth therein. The University also may, but is not required to, report matters of which it has knowledge to local, regional, and/or inter/national organizations or other governing body affiliated with a REGISTERED ORGANIZATION, to the police for criminal matters, and to other applicable entities. Additionally, nothing in this Policy shall be construed to prevent the University from taking appropriate risk management measures it deems necessary (in its sole and absolute discretion) based on a person's or persons' conduct.

.110 List of Registered Student Organizations

View a public list of REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS.

.120 Questions

Any questions regarding this Policy or requirements for REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS should be directed to the CENTER, 114 K-State Student Union, 532-6541. Questions about specific REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS should be directed to those organizations.