Policy Manual and Guide to Running
Student Organizations at CMU
This Registered Student Organization Manual is a guide, and resource to help students involved in co-curricular activities get the most out of those activities. The information contained within this Student Organization Manual applies to different facets of the participation in, and the leadership of, Registered Student Organizations, clubs and other organizations that constitute a large part of the co-curricular programs at Central Michigan University. As a means of experiencing the opportunities and benefits of co-curricular activities students are encouraged to form or join student organizations. An organization requesting status as a Registered Student Organization agrees to abide by all policies and conditions outlined in the Student Organization Manual. Central Michigan University provides benefits to student organizations (referred to as "Student Orgs") to assist them in conducting these activities; however, the provision of University benefits to Student Organizations should not be misinterpreted as meaning Student Organizations are part of, or controlled by the University, (exceptions: CMU Student Government Association; CMU Residence Hall Assembly; and CMU Program Board) that the University is responsible for the RSO's contracts or other acts or omissions, or that the University approves of the RSO's goals or activities. The Student Organizations are free to exist and operate either with or without University benefits.
This Student Organization manual describes the entire relationship between the University and Student Organizations, including all of the University benefits Student Organizations may receive, and all of the conditions for their receipt. This RSO manual is the only source of any control the University may have over the RSO or its activities, except to the extent, if any, the University chooses to exercise control over activities occurring on its property, or over matters covered by the University's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures. The Office of Student Activities and Involvement reserves the right to grant or deny RSO status.
What is a Registered Student Organization?
A Registered Student Organization at Central Michigan University is any group consisting primarily of students enrolled at CMU, and formed to contribute to those students' educational growth, recreation, and/or personal development. Most importantly, a Registered Student Organization is registered with the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.
Privileges of Registered Student Organizations
Registration of student groups is a privilege and is not intended to restrict the free association of students in non-registered groups. Upon registering, student organizations gain several privileges, including:
1. The use of University facilities and services for meetings and approved activities when available.
2. The opportunity to conduct approved fundraising projects on campus.
3. The opportunity to participate in and coordinate activities with other Registered Student Organizations.
4. The right to apply for a University mailbox when available and the use of a mailing address at Central Michigan University.
5. The opportunity to apply for funding through the Student Budget Allocation Committee (SBAC) for all campus projects, programs, and conferences.
6. The opportunity for participation in new student orientation and the annual Student Activities Fairs (MainStage & The Student Org Spotlight) as well as events like Get Organized and the Student Organization Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) banquet.
7. The opportunity to nominate candidates for Homecoming Gold Ambassadors.
8. The opportunity to participate in the student organizational leadership programs.
The Registration Process
In order to be eligible for the privileges and services available to student organizations, an organization must register with the Office of Student Activities and Involvement and have a minimum of three current Central Michigan University student members (University Center 101, 989.774.3016). Organization Re-registration must be completed by September 15th each year. Student Organizations will not be allowed to book space until this process is complete.
The Registration of Organizations is done online using OrgSync:
6. The president must complete the risk management form. (This is automatically emailed after the OrgSync upload is complete.)
7. Officers of Student Organizations officers must be in good academic standing (minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA required), free of disciplinary probation, and be registered for at least six semester hours of credit at CMU during their term in office. The Office of Student Activities and Involvement can access these records at any time. It is recommended that minimum standards for the membership of the Student Organizations should require that members have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and be free of disciplinary probation. Organizations are encouraged to set membership standards higher than 2.0 in an effort to strive for academic excellence.
In the event any of the requirements above for registration are not completed/met the student organization will not obtain "Registered" status. Other conditions for losing "Registered" status include, but are not limited to:
a. Organizations with outstanding university debt will lose recognition by the university until all debts have been resolved.
b. Campus Conduct issues may result in a loss of "Registered" status.
c. Failing to follow the organization's constitution.
Fraternity and Sorority Life
Fraternities and Sororities will be held to the same standards as all other student organization except in the situations that follow:
In order to be eligible for the privileges and services available to student organizations, the fraternity or sorority must be registered with the Office of Student Activities and Involvement and have a minimum of three (3) student members currently enrolled at Central Michigan University. In the event that the organization falls below the membership minimum, the organization will be given a probationary period of one (1) semester to increase to at least three (3) members. If the chapter fails to meet the membership minimum after the probationary period, the chapter will no longer be a recognized student organization. The organization will be considered “inactive” and will need to complete the registration process with the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.
Fraternity and Sorority Officers must be in good academic standing (minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA required), free of disciplinary probation, and be registered for at least six semester hours of credit at CMU during their term in office. The Office of Student Activities and Involvement can access these records at any time. Each chapter is required to achieve at least a 2.50 GPA each semester. The minimum standard for membership in fraternities and sororities is at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.
Services provided through OrgSync
Through OrgSync, Student Organizations have the ability to:
Upon registration, all student organizations receive an OrgSync portal with these benefits. The Office of Student Activities and Involvement can assist if you organization is interested in learning more about how to use this.
Student Involvement Center (SIC)
The SIC is a space for all organizations to gather and meet in a community like environment. Students should be respectful of other organizations utilizing this space. At no time may an organization reserve this space or ask another group to leave to accommodate their meeting. Student Organizations may not leave stuff in the SIC unless it is contained to an assigned storage cabinet.
Use of Student Involvement Center Mailboxes
If you would like to request a mailbox, please contact the Office of Student Activities and Involvement. Student Organizations should pick up their mail at least twice a week. To have mail sent to your mailbox, use the following address format:
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Storage Cabinets are available to student organization on a first come, first served basis. A wait list will be maintained when no cabinets are available through the Office of Student Activities and Involvement. Student Organizations may not store flammable materials, paint, aerosol cans, food, or other dangerous/risky objects in these cabinets.
The Student Budget Allocation Committee (SBAC)
The Student Budget Allocation Committee (SBAC) is a constitutional committee of the Student Government Association. Each year the SBAC is responsible for allocating funds, generated from the CMU promise and administered through the Campus Programming Fund, to Registered Student Organizations who request funds for programming and conferences. The committee is made up of student representatives representing the various types of student organizations (Greek Life, professional, multicultural, academic, etc.).
Learn more about SBAC policies and procedures here:http://cmich.orgsync.com/sbac
SBAC/Office of Student Activities and Involvement On-Campus Accounts
In order to comply with the policies and regulations of Central Michigan University, all funds and allocations received by student organizations from the Student Budget Allocation Committee (SBAC) will be issued as a reimbursement.
For further information on procedures and guidelines for using an On-Campus Account maintained by SBAC/Office of Student Activities and Involvement, contact the Administrative Clerk in the Office of Student Activities and Involvement (101 Bovee University Center, 774-3016).
Managing Organizational Accounts
With different types of funds available to organizations also comes the need to manage those funds. Depending on the funding source, the organization may have an off-campus checking account at a local bank, an on-campus account for a specific event maintained by SBAC and the Office of Student Activities and Involvement, or an on-campus account maintained by an academic/administrative department outside the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.
For RSO monies that are not from SBAC (University), it is recommended that Student Organizations open off-campus banking accounts. While the University does not regulate these accounts, it does make the following strong recommendations to student organization officers:
On-Campus Accounts Other Than SBAC/Office of Student Activities and Involvement
This type of account usually pertains to academic related student organizations that receive funding through vending accounts established by their respective departments. Monies from vending accounts are usually disbursed early in the academic year. Use of these funds must be coordinated through the main departmental office. Questions regarding procedures for using the account or disbursing funds should be directed to the appropriate departmental office.
Tax Information: For more information please http://www.irs.gov
Many student organizations believe that because they are essentially non-profit and are comprised primarily of students, that they are automatically tax-exempt. Registering your organization with the Office of Student Activities and Involvement does not cover you under Central Michigan University's tax-exempt number. Your organization is not "Tax-Exempt" unless you have applied for-and been granted that status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you think your organization may qualify for exemption from income taxes, visit the IRS http://www.irs.gov/charities/content/0,,id=96986,00.html
The RSO understands and agrees that the University and the employees and agents of the University will not be liable for any of the RSO's contracts, torts, or other acts or omissions, or those by the RSO's directors, officers, members, staff or activity participants. The RSO understands and agrees that neither it nor its directors, officers, members, staff, or activity participants are protected by the University's insurance policies or self-insurance plans, and that the University will not provide any legal defense for the RSO or any such person in the event of any claim against any of them. Advisors to RSO's generally will be indemnified by the University against claims and liabilities to which the advisor is subject because of fulfilling the role of advisor as described in the document, "Advisor Responsibility Statement". The indemnification will be subject to University rules and procedures governing the indemnification of University employees; performing the required and suggested functions described in the previously mentioned document will usually be seen as taken within the scope of a University Advisor's employment. Indemnification means that the University will, in the case of a lawsuit, provide a legal defense to the advisor.
The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17, United States code, Public Law 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be utilized publicly. Neither the rental nor the purchase or lending of a videocassette or DVD carries with it the right to exhibit such a movie outside the home, unless the site where the video is used is properly licensed for copyright compliant exhibition.
This legal copyright compliance requirement applies to colleges and universities regardless of whether or not an admission fee is charged. The movie studios own the copyrights and their agents are the only parties who are authorized to license sites such as colleges and universities.
Under no circumstances should a RSO show a movie on campus without first purchasing and securing the rights to show a movie on campus. Please plan accordingly as the cost of obtaining these rights will vary and will take some time to secure the proper licensing.
Please be advised that the motion picture companies can take legal action against the RSO and/or it’s officers if they feel their copyrights are being violated. To avoid the possibility of embarrassing publicity and fines, obtain legal advice and counsel if your group is uncertain about your responsibilities under copyright law.
More information may be found at: www.swank.com/college/copyright.html
The RSO agrees to follow and to include in its bylaws or constitution CMU's Non-Discrimination policy, which states:
An RSO may not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or weight.
a) Social fraternities and sororities may select members based on gender. (See Regulations under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972).
b) As long as no student is excluded from participation, separate club sports may be offered based on gender where selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or the activity involved is a contact sport. (See Regulations under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972).
c) As long as no student is excluded from participation, music organizations may make requirements based on vocal range or quality, which may result in a chorus or choruses of one or predominately one gender.
A registered student organization whose mission is to support a particular set of beliefs may use its mission as a criterion for selection of membership or leadership. The beliefs on which membership or leadership will be limited must be set forth in the constitution of the RSO. No student who affirms support for the mission can be denied membership or leadership. If a belief-based RSO exercises this provision, it may not discriminate on the basis of, nor inquire about the beliefs of individuals in order to limit participation of others in its open meetings and activities.
Question: Why does the University allow RSOs to limit membership on the basis of beliefs?
Answer: The University believes that students have the right to define the purposes of a group they wish to form. They have a right to operate that RSO consistent with those purposes. RSOs should not be limited to those that express a majority point of view. For example, an RSO for students committed to Muslim beliefs should not be at risk of being taken over by a group of students opposed to Muslim beliefs. The Gay Straight Alliance should not be at risk of being taken over by a group of students who believe that gay, lesbian and bisexual conduct is sinful. The College Republicans should not be at risk of being taken over by a group of students whose political views are directly opposed to those of the College Republicans.
Question: Does the University expect that many RSOs will choose to restrict membership or leadership in their Constitutions?
Answer: No. The overwhelming majority of RSOs do not have, as the central purpose, a set of beliefs that would limit membership. An RSO organized around a particular sport or recreational activity is very unlikely to feel the need to limit its membership to persons who enjoy and support that sport or activity. Other RSOs will be unwilling to state that the purpose of their organization is exclusionary.
Question: Can an RSO restrict membership only to persons of a particular race, gender or sexual orientation?
Answer: No. RSOs may limit membership based on beliefs, not status. For example, if an African American expresses beliefs consistent with the belief system of a "skin head" group, he/she must be allowed to join. If a woman affirms her beliefs that women must be subservient to men, and she wants to join a male supremacy group, she must be allowed to join. Since membership may be limited only on the basis of beliefs, persons may not be excluded from membership based on assumptions about identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political persuasion, religion).
Question: Can an RSO refuse membership to a person on the basis of that person's conduct?
Answer: Sometimes. The RSO could look at conduct inconsistent with the beliefs of the individual and the RSO. For example, if the woman described above spoke at a rally for women's rights (advocating that women were not subservient to men), the RSO would have the right to exclude her from membership. If the conduct is clearly inconsistent with the beliefs of the RSO, a person could be refused membership or a leadership position.
Question: How does an RSO state in its constitution the beliefs on which its membership or leadership will be limited?
Answer: An RSO that wishes to restrict membership or leadership on the basis of certain beliefs must state what those beliefs are. The beliefs may be stated in the Constitution of the RSO. If the belief statement is long, the RSO Constitution may refer to the beliefs document and attach a copy to it.
Question: How general may the belief statement be?
Answer: The statement must be quite specific in describing the mission or central purpose of the RSO, so that the connection between the mission and the restriction of membership or leadership is clear. It is the actual, expressed beliefs of the RSO that are the criterion, not the personal preferences of members. For example, many religions condemn sexual activity outside of marriage, whether between persons of the same sex or opposite sexes. However, many of those same religions allow, or encourage, gays and lesbians, or sexually active heterosexuals, as members. An RSO could discriminate in its membership on the basis of actual beliefs and requirements of the religion, and not on their preferences or the personal views and attitudes of current members.
An organizational meeting is defined as "any scheduled or non-scheduled gathering, formal or informal, of an organization, including gatherings of standing ad-hoc committees, for the purpose of discussing or deciding upon any issue." Because some groups receiving University funds are considered public organizations, it is recommended that meetings remain open to the media. Concerns and written regulations pertaining to the Open Meetings Act should be referred to the Office of Student Life (111 Bovee University Center, 774-3016).
Individual and organizational conduct is supervised by the Office of Student Life, utilizing the SOC Rules of Conduct, university policies, and generally accepted community standards of conduct. It is the responsibility of organizations to inform their membership of the rules of conduct in the SOC. In order to maintain an attractive work/meeting area and businesslike atmosphere for all student organizations, as well as support service to students visiting the Center, the following guidelines must be followed:
1. Organizations are required to maintain 10 office hours per week. Utilize the space provided your organization because there are other student organizations that do not have the "luxury of having office space. Encourage members to use the office and take pride in it. If a organization is not utilizing the space effectively, they will be removed (i.e., lose their office space). The organization's office hours must be posted and a copy of the schedule must be submitted to the Office of Student Life, Bovee U.C. 111.
2. Each organization is responsible for maintaining a neat and organized office. Food items, trays, trash, boxes, etc., must be removed after they are used. Should this become problematic, the organization may lose its office space.
3. Notify the Office of Student Life's Administrative Clerk at 774-3016 in writing if there is a problem with the facility or if University services are needed (repairs, equipment, locks, etc.).
4. Respect and communicate with other organizations, with regard to any problems that may occur. If repeated problems exist, individuals and organizations may be referred to the Office of Student Life for possible discipline and sanctions.
5. No posters, bumper stickers, or flyers may be attached to painted surfaces or public area walls or on doors leading to or from the SOC because it may damage the furniture or painted surfaces. No posters, bumper stickers, or flyers may be posted on the outside of the doors for the offices of Program Board, Residence Hall Assembly, and Student Government Association. When posting items to painted cabinet spaces in the work station, use soft magnets designed for such surfaces. You may also use poster putty. No tape may be used on these surfaces. On fabric surfaces, you may use tacks or pins; tape should not be used on these surfaces either.
6. Cabinet and drawer space should not be overfilled. If the door of the cabinet can not shut, it is overfilled and items should be removed from the cabinet. When not accessing items from the cabinet or working at the station, cabinet/file drawers must be closed; keeping doors closed will ensure better security for items and help extend the life of the furniture.
7. Windows are not to be covered up. Windows were placed in the offices of Program Board, Residence Hall Assembly, and Student Government Association for security purposes. Covering windows presents an unnecessary and unacceptable security risk for students and visitors to these offices and the SOC.
8. Organizations with new office spaces or who have been moved to different work stations may obtain keys for their work stations from the Administrative Clerk in the Office of Student Life.
9. For fire safety, Americans With Disability Act compliance, and general respect, all aisle ways should be kept free of chairs, cabinets, and other equipment. Please be respectful and keep your area and the SOC conducive to user-friendly and safe conditions.
10. No furniture should be brought into the SOC. Likewise; furniture located within the SOC is not to be removed from the SOC. Please respect other organizations by not removing furniture from their workstations. The Office of Student Life provides furniture needed in the SOC; if you have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding furniture in the SOC contact the Office of Student Life Administrative Clerk.
11. A conference area is provided for student organization use in the center area of the SOC. This space is offered to all organizations, without regard to whether they have workstations in the Center.
12. Discipline for violations of the Rules of Conduct for the SOC will be enforced by the Director of Student Life or designee.
Rose Arena and Multipurpose Room East & West are scheduled for athletic practice and contests by the Athletics Department. Student organizations may reserve space at unscheduled times through University Events.
Student Organizations may request a responsable amount of meeting space. Any questions with this policy should be directed to University Events at 989-774-3355.
The department of public relations and the licensing program regulate, promote and protect the use of the CMU name and identifying marks, both on and off campus. Central Michigan University has registered its marks with the State of Michigan and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This protects the integrity and identity of the University. At the same time, royalties collected through the licensing program help to support the athletics program and scholarships. By ensuring that the products bearing CMU marks are of high quality and good taste, we further promote the reputation of Central Michigan University. Proper use of the university's name also stimulates public awareness and support.
Prior written permission is needed from the licensing program for any use of the University name or marks for anything other than official University business. This also applies to student groups and organizations that wish to use the University's name in conjunction with their group or activity. The licensing waiver is available online at http://www.cmich.edu/licensing.
Registered Student Organizations cannot use "Central Michigan University," "Central Michigan" or "CMU" or anything that makes reference to the University as part of their official name or title. Any use of the University's name as part of the RSO's name is to be in the form of "The XYZ Club at Central Michigan University." This may be used when an RSO is registering for a club tournament or intercollegiate competition where the sponsoring organization requires that the participating members of the RSO be enrolled at CMU and members of a recognized RSO at the University. "The Central Michigan University XYZ Club" is not acceptable and cannot be used. In addition, there are special rules for use of the logos, seals, and names associated with Central Michigan University. Trademarks are the exclusive property of the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees. Reproduction of these trademarks for resale or other commercial purposes must have University authorization.
The RSO shall explain its relationship with the University when dealing with third parties by including the following statement (or another similar statement approved in advance by the Office of Student Life) in the RSO's letters, contracts, publications, and other such written materials (except intra-university and intra-RSO correspondence):
"Although this organization has members who are Central Michigan University students, the organization is independent of the University, and the University is not responsible for the RSOs contracts, acts, or omissions."
Using the University's name on written documents
A Registered Student Organization or sport club team may use the University's name in its title, publications or letterhead but may not use the name in a manner that in any way would constitute an endorsement, approval or underwriting of any organization, product, activity, service or contract by Central Michigan University.
Using the University's name on merchandise
A Registered Student Organization or sport club team may use the university's name and marks on t-shirts and other products as long as prior approval has been obtained from the licensing coordinator. The university will waive the payment of the royalty fee if the group meets the requirements of the policy and obtains a royalty waiver.
Use of University Trademarks
In the Spring of 1989, the Board of Trustees decided to stop using the Indian head symbol and spear as logos for Central Michigan University. Use of the Indian head symbol and/or spear by a Registered Student Organization is prohibited. We must respect our Chippewa neighbors and American Indian culture. Because we use the name of a contemporary people, every effort must be made to avoid behavior, which demeans, belittles, or promotes stereotypes of Chippewa and American Indians. CMU students should realize that what we do and say in association with our use of the Chippewa name affects others.
Registered Student Organizations cannot use "Central Michigan University," "Central Michigan," "CMU" or anything that makes reference to the University as part of their official name or title.
All logos, seals, names, symbols and slogans associated with Central Michigan University are trademarks and are the exclusive property of the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees. Reproduction of these marks for resale, or other commercial purposes, must have University authorization. The University Public Relations Office is responsible for protecting the use of CMU's trademarks and for licensing commercial use of these marks.
Commercial use is considered to be:
Items for Resale
Selling products (such as cups, sweatshirts, balloons, boxer shorts, etc.) bearing CMU trademarks, for all of the following purposes constitutes commercial use:
- Sales to campus and private retailers
- Sales to individual customers
- Sales at CMU athletic events through concessions
- Sales on campus by student groups with vending permits
- Sales for fund-raising projects
Items, which bear the trademarks of the University and those of a commercial business, such as a restaurant, which are either sold or given away, are promotion and are considered commercial.
Activities Exempt from Licensing
The following activities are exempt from licensing:
1. In-House Use of Trademarks
Registered Student Organizations, registered through the Office of Student Life, student sports teams and residence hall organizations (i.e., official student organizations) may use trademarks of CMU for "in-house" purposes such as on stationery, posters, signs and banners dealing with the on-campus activities of the organization, provided such use reflects positively on the University and that the logos are reproduced accurately.
2. Sales Restricted to Campus Events
Official student organizations may sell or give away products (such as t-shirts) bearing the marks of CMU combined with the names and/or logos of their organization or activity if such merchandise relates directly to an on-campus activity sponsored by that organization. Examples of such projects include:
- Homecoming Steering Committee
- Floor X, Wheeler Hall, CMU
- Greek Week 1998, CMU
Procedures for Receiving Approval
The licensing office must grant approval to all outside vendors using the trademarks of the University, even if they are producing it for a CMU affiliated group. If your organization is involved in any of the activities deemed commercial, the vendor from whom you purchase merchandise must be licensed. If your project falls into the exempt category, we must issue a waiver to your organization and the vendor. Contact the Licensing Office at 774-7330 or at West Hall, 204A.