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Policies & Regulations - Student Organization Administration Policy

The University of Maine herein establishes a system of recognition for student organizations to insure the rights of students to freely form associations; to maintain the right of the University to choose which student organizations it will recognize; to define the relationship between the University and the student organizations; and to insure that requirements for recognition, the privileges received through recognition, and the policies and procedures that govern student organizations are administered in a fair and equitable manner.

Only recognition in accordance with this policy sanctions the existence and operation of an organization on campus, although students may participate in off-campus organizations. Recognition criteria apply to all activities of recognized organizations, whether those activities take place on or off campus.

Recognition requirements apply to all student organizations. The University of Maine provides for two types of recognition: recognition and direct-funded certification.  A third provision is made for those organizations choosing not be recognized as noted below in section I.

I. Recognition

Recognition will be administered by and through a two-step process.  It will be the responsibility of UMaine (specifically the Division of Student Life) to pre-approve groups seeking recognition from student government.  Groups seeking recognition status must submit their application/documentation first to the Director of Campus Activities and Student Engagement.  After approval from the Director or his/her designee, the organization’s application/documentation will be forwarded to the appropriate student government for its review.  Approval is needed from both the Director and appropriate student government in order for a student organization to become a UMaine recognized student organization.  Otherwise, the group, although including UMaine students, is not acting under the auspices of the University of Maine or student government.

Organizations that do not wish to seek recognition status or are denied recognition status may seek affiliation status from the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee.  Affiliation status granted by the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee will allow the organization to have access to University programs, facilities and services but not recognition with or funding from student government.

Student government in this document refers to UMaine Student Government, Inc., Graduate Student Government, and/or any other applicable student government.

A. Requirements for recognition

In order for a student organization to become recognized and retain recognition status, the following conditions must be met to the satisfaction of the applicable student government. Student governments have the authority to revoke a recognition in accordance with this policy. This process is separate from action the University may take under the Student Conduct Code. In order to become recognized, the organization must

  • for initial recognition, submit the appropriate recognition application to the Director of Campus Activities and Student Engagement and then forward to the appropriate student government,
  • for continued recognition, submit an updated recognition form annually by October 15 and within two weeks of any changes in officers and/or the advisor.
  • accurately disclose the purpose of the organization and operate in accordance with its stated purpose.
  • submit a constitution and bylaws according to prescribed standards.
  • submit all changes in the constitution and bylaws within two weeks of any action taken.
  • follow the appropriate student government guidelines with respect to organization officers and membership.
  • adhere to University regulations and policies,
  • adhere to local, state, and federal laws.
  • conduct all activities in a manner consistent with the mission of the University.
  • not participate in any hazing activities and abide by UMaine Hazing Policy.
  • comply with the University of Maine’s nondiscrimination policy.
  • not participate in any physical disruption of the educational process or the peace, order, and discipline of the University.
  • not use the organization for the inappropriate financial enrichment of any officer, member, or affiliate.
  • use dues and other membership fees for the express and direct benefit of the organization and in fulfillment of its purpose.
  • not enter or attempt to enter into contracts which obligate the University of Maine without prior written authorization by the appropriate University official.
  • agree not to use University funds, including, but not limited to student activity fee monies, to finance administrative claims, or litigation of any kind against the University of Maine System, the University of Maine, or any of its trustees, officers, employees or agents.
  • designate employees of the organization as such and not as employees of the University and
  • comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding employment, and
  • adhere to the University of Maine equal employment and nondiscrimination policies and other UMaine policies related to classified and/or professional employees.
  • appoint a current University employee as advisor to the organization. (An organization that cannot find an advisor should contact the office of Student Organization and Leader Development in the Division of Student Life for assistance.)

An advisor must perform the following functions:

  • meet at least once a semester with the executive board or officer group and inform them of institutional matters;
  • attend full organization meetings periodically, but not less than once a semester;
  • advise delegations regarding trips to conferences, business meetings, and inform organization of the Student Travel Policy and/or the International Travel Policies;
  • respond to concerns from the members about officer elections, transition, and the group’s development;
  • provide background history and institutional insight as appropriate;
  • hold at least one goal-setting or assessment meeting for the executive board, officer group, or membership at least once annually and monitor and advise the group regarding risk management decisions and practices.

B. Privileges of recognition

Recognized student organizations are eligible to:

  • use the University of Maine as part of their name designation;
  • use University facilities, equipment, and services, as available and according to prescribed policies and procedures;
  • apply for funding from the applicable student government under the policies and procedures set forth in that student government’s constitution and bylaws;
  • request professional advising and other services from the Office of Campus Activities and Student Engagement;
  • collect reasonable dues and/or fees for service, sponsor fund-raising events, and solicit funds according to University policy;
  • receive awards or honors presented by the colleges to organizations and/or members;
  • be listed in University/student publications;
  • participate in University/student activities;
  • apply for student organization office space in the Wade Leadership Center;
  • distribute literature and organizational materials according to established University policies and procedures;
  • utilize the University mail service and to maintain a mailbox in the Office of Campus Activities and Student Engagement;
  • apply for a University C&I account and to request the services of
    other University departments;
  • request assistance from University Relations to promote organizational activities; and
  • post materials on designated University bulletin boards and web sites within the parameters of existing guidelines.

C. Suspension/Revocation of recognition

Any violation of the recognition requirements may result in suspension or revocation of recognition. The appropriate student government adjudicates recognition violations. These decisions may be appealed to a three-person committee appointed by the Vice President for Student Life, and the committee’s decision is final. This process is separate from action the University may take under the Student Conduct Code.

Organizations granted affiliation status by the Vice President of Student Life under section I A of this document may have their status suspended or revoked for specified violations by a three-person committee appointed by the Vice President for Student Life, and the committee’s decision is final.

II.  Direct-Funded Certification

There are a handful of student organizations that receive funding from student money collected by the University and directly transferred to student organizations. The University of Maine System Policy and Procedures Manual, Section 704.1, states “The Board of Trustees recognizes the educational value of student-administered funds for educational, cultural, social, and recreational purposes consistent with Board policy and law. The Board recognizes its ultimate responsibility for these funds and delegates to the Chancellor and the Presidents the authority to assure that student government funds are expended for University-related educational, cultural, and recreational purposes. Changes to the amount of the fee shall be requested by the recognized student governing body on each campus and authorized after

  • a referendum approved by the student body,
  • approval of the President, and
  • approval of the Chancellor for presentation and approval by the Board of Trustees.”

It is clear from Section 704.1 of the University of Maine System Policy and Procedures Manual that the Board intends for the University administration to provide sufficient oversight to these direct-funded organizations to insure that the funds are used properly. Furthermore, the University of Maine System Administrative Practice Letters sets forth guidelines that must be followed in the areas of financial record audits, administration of payrolls for any employees, bank accounts for funds, and proper fiscal control procedures. Accordingly, additional requirements and privileges must be afforded to direct-funded student organizations: the Maine Campus, WMEB Radio, the Student Government, Inc., Association of Graduate Students, ASAP Media, the Maine Journal and any other student organization which receives funds from any University entity.

All University of Maine student publications and student broadcast media organizations and activities are governed by and accountable to the Student Media Board, as a condition of their receiving any “Student Activity” or “Communication” fee monies. This Board is established and chartered in full recognition of, and with respect for, the legal and educational responsibilities and proprietary interests of the University, and for the long-honored principle of an editorially independent campus press and broadcast media. The Board is appointed by and accountable to the President of the University of Maine and his/her designee.

A. Requirements for Direct-Funded Certification

In order for a direct-funded student organization to be certified, it must:

  • meet the requirements for recognition except for items 1. and 2., that pertain to the method of application, and
  • in place of recognition item 1., make initial application to one of the student governments for recognition leading to certification. This initial application is not required for organizations already in existence when this policy is adopted or updated. If the student government approves, it will schedule the necessary referendum. If the referendum passes, the organization must next apply to the Vice President for Student Life (VPSL) and the Sr. Vice President for Administration and Finance  (VPAF) for certification as a direct-funded organization. If both approve, the VPAF will prepare the necessary paperwork for the approval of the President, the Chancellor, and the Board of Trustees for the establishment of, addition to, and/or increase to the mandatory fee(s). When approval of the fee is final, the VPAF will insure that the organization officials are aware of the necessary procedures and documentation for sound business practices and fiscal management.
  • in place of recognition item 2., submit a copy of an annual audit in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4. below.  Include with this audit a one or two-page summary of activities from the previous year and any changes in operation anticipated for the coming year. This information should enable the VPAF to report to the President and to the Chancellor whether the organization is in compliance with provisions of the University of Maine System Policies and Procedures Manual Section 704.1 and the Administrative Practice Letters.
  • maintain any University accounts as required and have an audit performed annually by a recognized auditing firm. A copy of the completed audit shall be submitted to the University of Maine System Internal Audit Department, the University of Maine Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Vice President for Student Life, the appropriate student government and, when applicable, to the organization being audited.
  • submit to periodic audits performed by the University of Maine System Internal Audit Department. Any advice on means of improving fiscal control and operational management practices must be reconciled with Internal Audit within 60 days to the satisfaction of the Vice President for Administration and Finance. Failure to comply fully will allow the University to take appropriate action up to and including cessation of the collection and/or disbursement of funds to that organization.
  • require all students elected and/or appointed as officers, committee chairs, and/or other leadership positions to be enrolled in a degree program and carrying six (6) or more credit hours as an undergraduate or three (3) or more credit hours as a graduate student in the semester(s) in which they serve and possess at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA for the semester(s) they serve and the immediate semester preceding their selection to a leadership position.
  • if employing individual(s), comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding employment.
  • if employing individual(s), adhere to the University of Maine’s equal employment and nondiscrimination policies and practices.
  • comply with procedures of all Administrative Practice Letters and with policies established by the Director of Budget and Business Services in maintaining accepted business practices and responsible fiscal control.
  • insure that all published material by the organization complies with current and applicable laws.
  • assure that any redistribution of funds be made on a content-neutral basis as required by law.

B. Privileges of Direct-Funded Certification

A certified direct-funded organization will be:

  • eligible for all of the privileges of Recognized organizations.
  • assisted in the collection of fees from students and in distribution of funds to the organization by the University Bursar.
  • eligible to use permanent space in University facilities pending availability and to use University utilities.
  • eligible to hire College Work-Study Program students.

C. Suspension/Revocation of Direct-Funded Certification

Because of the unique responsibilities assigned to the President of the University for these organizations and because direct-funded certification is a privilege and not a right, the President may suspend or revoke certification or withhold certain privileges from any direct-funded organization that fails to comply with these requirements. Furthermore, in view of participation of Student Government, Inc. and the Graduate Student Government or other applicable student government in setting the fees for these organizations, student governments may recommend to the President that certification be suspended or revoked from any organization that the appropriate government believes fails to comply with these requirements. This process is separate from action the University may take under the Student Conduct Code, however, this process will afford due process and fundamental fairness to any organization whose direct-funded certification is considered for suspension and/or revocation.  For more information about the steps of this process, contact the Director of Campus Activities and Student Engagement or his/her designee.

Distribution and Availability of this Policy Document

A copy of this Student Organization Administration Policy and any future changes to this policy will be distributed to University vice presidents, academic and student affairs deans and directors, the Association of Graduate Students, the Student Government, Inc., all direct-funded certified organizations, and through the student governments to all recognized student organizations. The Vice President for Student Life and the Vice President for Administration and Finance and applicable student governments will keep a copy of an up-to-date version of this policy available for ready reference by any of the University of Maine’s students or employees.

Reviewed and updated July 2013


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