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Recognition of Student Organizations Policy

Approved by Executive Council on April 7, 2015

Policy Number Policy Owner
9013.1 Center for Student Involvement

1.0    Purpose

All student organizations seeking to operate at SUNY Plattsburgh (“College”) must be recognized by an approved student governing entity or the College.  Recognition ensures that the organization is adhering to appropriate standards and conveys privileges upon the organization.  This policy and accompanying procedure outlines the steps that organizations must take in order to be recognized.  

2.0    Revision History

Date Version Change Ref Section
4/7/2015 1.0 New Document  
10/9/2015 1.1 Minor Revisions  
1/11/2017 1.2 Minor Revisions  

3.0    Units and Persons Affected

All students, faculty, staff, and community members

4.0    Policy

In order to operate on SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus, organizations with student membership are required to receive recognition from an approved student governing entity or the College and to have that recognition reaffirmed annually.   

Recognition conveys a number of privileges including the following:

  • Utilize “SUNY Plattsburgh” in their organization name;
  • request funds through the appropriate funding process;
  • utilize campus facilities;
  • utilize certain campus services (e.g. Printing and Duplication or Campus Dining Services);
  • publicize themselves through any of the following methods:
    • hanging posters on campus posting spaces;
    • advertise on Angell College Center Marquee;
    • posting messages on computer lab screen savers; or
    • other appropriate means.

The decision to grant recognition lies with the appropriate student governing entity or the College.  However, all prospective organizations are required to first submit their documentation to the Committee on Student Organization Recognition (“COSOR”).  This committee will review the application, make a determination of which entity is most appropriate to recognize the organization based on the following criteria (in descending order):

  • Student organizations that include non-students (faculty, staff, or community members) as members or officers must be recognized by the College through the Vice President for Student Affairs;
  • sports clubs must be recognized by the College through the Office of Recreational Sports;
  • fraternal organizations must be recognized by Interfraternity Council (“IFC”), Inter-Sorority Association (“ISA”), the Committee on Fraternal Affairs, and finally the College;
  • organizations that are intrinsically linked to the residence halls must be recognized by the College through the Office of Housing and Residence Life;
  • student organizations comprised of, and open to all, Student Association members must be recognized by the Student Association;
  • all other organizations must be recognized by the College through the Vice President for Student Affairs.

In addition, the COSOR will review the organization to determine if it has a unique purpose, the liability posed by the organization, its risk management plan, and the resources requested.  Based on this information, the COSOR will provide recommendations to the appropriate governing entity.  In the event that the committee determines that the organization should be recognized by the College, the COSOR will make a recommendation to the Vice President for Student Affairs.   All recognized organizations are expected to comply with the policies as stipulated in the current edition of the Student Club, Organization, and Intercollegiate Athletic Conduct Manual.  Recognized organizations are also expected to comply with all applicable College policies including, but not limited to, the Signage and Wayfinding Policies and Procedures and current College naming conventions (e.g. SUNY Plattsburgh, not Plattsburgh State University).  In addition, no organization is permitted to utilize the official college logo or any element of the brand identity.  All unrecognized organizations are prohibited from operating on the campus. All monies used to support recognized organization activities must be deposited in an account administered by the College or an agency account administered by College Auxiliary Services.  Under no circumstances may personal accounts be utilized to conduct recognized organization activities. All student organizations recognized by the College as of February 2015 are considered recognized and do not need to apply for recognition.  However, such organizations will need to seek reaffirmation as stated in section 7.9 of this document beginning Fall 2015.  Please note that this policy does not apply to organizations solely comprised of faculty and/or staff or non-student community members.  

5.0    Definitions

    5.1    Committee on Student Organization Recognition – A committee to be chaired by the Director of the Center for Student Involvement and comprised of faculty and staff representatives, and at least one student representative whose responsibility it is to review new student organizations, make recommendations to recognized student (where appropriate), and approve/renew College-recognized student organizations

    5.2    Fraternal organizations (Fraternities and Sororities) – Values-based support system organizations aligned with chartered national organizations built on the common principles of friendship, scholarship, leadership and service  

    5.3    Governing entity – Includes all student governing entities and the College 

    5.4    Recognition – The process by which a student governing entity or the College officially approves of an organization

    5.5    Residence hall organizations – Organizations whose existence is intrinsically linked to on-campus residence halls (e.g. Residence Hall Councils)

    5.6    Sports clubs – A club formed for the purpose of participating in athletic sporting events.  Does not include intercollegiate athletic teams

    5.7    Student governing entity – Includes the Student Association, the Inter-fraternity Council and the Inter-Sorority Association 

    5.8    Student organizations – Any club, society, chapter, or other group that includes students attending SUNY Plattsburgh

6.0    Responsibilities

    6.1    Center for Student Involvement – Responsible for providing guidance and support to individuals looking to start or renew a student organization and maintaining a master list of all currently recognized student organizations including their date of recognition, the body recognizing the organization, and the main point of contact for that organization.  This list will be updated annually.

    6.2    Housing and Residence Life – Responsible for approving and governing residence hall organizations  

    6.3    Recreational Sports – Response for approving and governing sports clubs

    6.4    Student Association – Responsible for appointing students to participate in the COSOR, reviewing COSOR recommendations, and governing organizations recognized by the Student Association in compliance with their bylaws  

    6.5    Vice President for Student Affairs – Responsible for making a final determination to grant recognition to student organizations and all organizations seeking to be approved by the College  

7.0    Procedures      7.1    Individuals who are interested in forming a student organization should consult with the Center for Student Involvement.

    7.2    After consulting with the Center for Student Involvement, these individuals should complete the appropriate forms, and submit them to the COSOR.

    7.3    The COSOR will review the application and make a determination of the following:

        7.3.1    The appropriate entity to recognize the organization;

        7.3.2    whether the organization has a unique purpose;

        7.3.3    The liability posed by the organization and whether an acceptable risk management plan is in place;

        7.3.4    whether adequate resources are available to support the organization.

    7.4    If the COSOR determines that more information is needed to make a decision, it will request the information in writing from the individual listed as the point of contact for the prospective organization.  The point of contact is responsible for providing all information requested.  The COSOR will not review again until all requested information is provided. 

    7.5    If the COSOR determines that a governing entity other than the College is the most appropriate to recognize the proposed organization, COSOR will forward the applications materials along with a recommendation from the committee as to whether that entity should consider recognizing the proposed organization. The appropriate governing entity will make the final decision as to whether it will grant recognition.

        7.5.1    In the case of Fraternal organizations, the appropriate governing entity for fraternities is the IFC while the ISA acts as the governing entity for sororities.  It should be noted, though, that recognition of these organizations also requires approval by the Committee on Fraternal Affairs and finally the granting of a charter by the College.  No fraternal organization is considered recognized until the charter is granted.

    7.6    If the COSOR determines that the College is the most appropriate body to recognize the organization then it shall make a recommendation to approve or not approve to the Vice President for Student Affairs.  

    7.7    The Vice President for Student Affairs will review the recommendation and make a determination whether to grant recognition.  The outcome will be conveyed in writing to the point of contact.  

    7.8    The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs is final and may not be appealed further.  

    7.9    At least once a year, all recognized organizations will be required to reaffirm their recognition by complying with the specific procedures developed by the governing entity in question.  Organizations that fail to comply with the procedures will have their recognition revoked.

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