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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Student Organizations : 3:01:01:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Student Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities


The following policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents, applicable to all institutions governed by the Board, provides minimum standards for the registration and conduct of student organizations at the institutions.


  1. Scope
    1. Each institution is authorized to establish additional policies and procedures affecting student organizations which are consistent with the provisions of this policy.
  2. Types of Student Organizations
    1. Student organizations may be either organizations sponsored by the institution, such as student government associations, associated student body organizations, and professional and honor societies, or organizations officially registered by the institution.
    2. Organizations which may be registered to operate on campuses include the following:
      1. Honors and leadership organizations and recognition societies;
      2. Departmental organizations and professional fraternities and sororities;
      3. Social fraternities and sororities; and
      4. Special interest groups (political, religious, athletic, etc.).
    3. Registration of a student organization by an institution shall neither constitute nor be construed as approval or endorsement by the institution of the purposes or objectives of the organization.
  3. General Policies on Student Organizations
    1. No student organization may carry on any activity on the campus of an institution unless the organization has been officially registered by the institution.
    2. No institution shall be 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.
    3. No student organization shall deny membership to any person on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, handicap or national origin, provided that social fraternities and sororities may have sex restricted membership, subject to the following exceptions:
      1. No TBR institution that grants recognition to any student organization shall discriminate against or deny recognition to a student organization, or deny to a student organization access to programs, funding, or facilities otherwise available to another student organization, on the basis of:
        1. The religious content of the organization's speech including, but not limited to, worship; or
        2. The organization's exercise of its rights pursuant to subsection 2.
      2. 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.
    4. No student organization or individual shall engage in or condone any form of hazing.
      1. Hazing shall include, but is not limited to:
        1. Any action taken, or situation created intentionally, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment or ridicule;
        2. Any form of verbal or physical harassment or abuse; and
        3. Engaging in public stunts, morally degrading or humiliating behavior or games, whether on or off campus.
        4. Excessive demands on a student's time so as to interfere with academic performance are prohibited.
        5. 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.
        6. Hazing activity which is in violation of any other institution regulation such as the misuse of alcohol, drugs, institution property, etc., is strictly forbidden.
    5. Student organizations shall be 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.
    6. No person, group or organization may use the name of the institution in any manner, provided that registered student organizations may use the name of the institution following the name of the organization.
    7. No person, group or organization may use the seal or any symbol of the institution without the prior written approval of the president or director of the institution, or his or her designee.
  4. Criteria for Registration of Organizations
    1. Any proposed student organization shall be open to all students of the institution who otherwise meet membership requirements.
    2. Membership in the organization shall be limited to currently enrolled students; provided that organizations may include faculty and staff of the institution, 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.
    3. A proposed organization must represent the interests of the members, and the control of the organization must be within the local campus group.
    4. 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.
    5. The proposed organization must agree to comply with all policies, regulations and procedures established by the Board and the institution, and with all federal and state laws and regulations.
    6. The proposed organization must not:
      1. Have illegal aims and goals;
      2. Propose activities which would violate regulations of the Board or the institution, or federal or state laws and regulations, or materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the institution; or
      3. Advocate incitement of imminent lawless action which is likely to produce such action.
    7. The proposed organization must have the minimum number of charter members designated by the institution, and there must be a demonstration of continuous interest in the purposes of the organization sufficient to afford registration on a long-term basis.
      1. In the event there is not sufficient interest to warrant long-term registration, an institution may grant temporary registration to an organization for a limited period of time.
    8. New organizations may be denied registration where the purposes are within the scope of a currently registered organization.
    9. No organization may use the same name, or a name which is misleading and similar to the name, of a currently registered organization.
    10. The organization must provide for the distribution of all funds and assets in the event of dissolution.
  5. Procedure for Registration of Organizations
    1. In order to become officially registered as a student organization, a group must meet the criteria set forth in section IV., and must provide to the institution a minimum of the following:
      1. An application or request to form the organization on the form designated by the institution.
      2. The proposed constitution and bylaws of the organization, which must clearly contain the following:
        1. 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.
        2. The names and signatures of the charter members of the organization.
        3. The names of the faculty adviser and/or the administrative officers of the institution who will sponsor the organization.
        4. A statement of assurance of compliance by the organization that it will comply with all rules and regulations, policies and procedures of the Board and the institution and with all federal and state laws and regulations.
      3. The designated number of copies of the foregoing documents and information must be submitted to the office of the designated body or bodies of the institution authorized to review and make recommendations concerning proposed organizations.
      4. Recommendations regarding registration of a proposed organization must be forwarded by the designated body or bodies of the institution to the president or director of the institution, or his or her authorized designee; and registration by the president or director or his or designee is necessary before the organization can be officially registered.
      5. Any official or body responsible for reviewing or registering proposed organizations may require the sponsors 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 a hearing for the purpose of obtaining additional information and testimony concerning the purposes, aims or proposed activities of the organization.
  6. Nature and Conditions of Registration
    1. 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 of the institution, and shall be subject to annual renewal by the institution for each ensuing year.
    2. 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 the institution and all federal and state laws;
      4. It must submit all changes in the constitution and bylaws to the institution for approval;
      5. It must maintain a current list of officers, faculty advisers and sponsors on file with the institution; and
      6. It must have submitted all required financial and other reports to the institution.
  7.  Reports
    1. Each institution may require any or all organizations to submit an annual report concerning its programs and activities during the preceding year. If required, this report shall be reviewed by the designated bodies or officials of the institution, and shall be a requirement for renewal of registration.
    2. Each institution may require any or all organizations to submit an annual financial report reflecting all revenues received and disbursed by the organization, and/or an interim financial report or such a report concerning any fund-raising activity of the organization. If required, this report shall be a requirement for renewal of registration.
  8. Probation, Suspension, and Withdrawal of Registration
    1. An organization may be placed on probation, be suspended, or registration may be withdrawn by the designated authority of the institution 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 request withdrawal of registration;
      4. The organization operates or engages in any activity in violation of rules and regulations of the institution, or federal or state laws; or
      5. The organization fails to submit any required reports.
    2. An organization which is placed on probation may continue to hold meetings but may not sponsor any activity or program.
    3. An organization which is placed under suspension may not engage in or sponsor any activity or program, and may not hold meetings.
    4. Where registration of an organization is withdrawn, it shall cease to exist as an organization.
    5. In the event an organization is placed on probation or suspended, or registration is withdrawn on the basis of section VIII.A.4., the organization shall be afforded the opportunity for a hearing before the appropriate institutional representative or committee.
  9. Officers of Student Organizations
    1. No student who is under academic or social suspension from the institution shall be eligible to become, or maintain the status of, an officer of an organization.
  10. Fiscal Procedures
    1. 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 the institution at any time, and appropriate financial records shall be maintained for the purposes of audit.
    2. 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.
  11. Programs and Activities
    1. The use of any campus property or buildings by an organization shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the Board and the institution concerning use of property and facilities.
    2. All organizations registered pursuant to this policy shall be "affiliated organizations" for the purposes of any Board, or institutional policies concerning use of campus property and facilities. (Reference Policy No. 1:03:02:50)
    3. 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 the institution, and each institution may require prior approval for off-campus programs and activities.
    4. Prior to approval, the institutionmay require a specified number of officials or security officers for any event, activity or program.
    5. Any fund-raising activity on campus shall be for the benefit of the organization as a whole or a charity, and no funds shall be distributed to the officers or members of an organization for personal profit or gain.
    6. No guest speakers shall be invited to the campus except pursuant to policies of the Board and the institution concerning guest or off-campus speakers. (Reference Policy No. 1:03:02:50)


SBR Meetings, September 29, 1978; December 7, 1979; September 30, 1983 March 23, 1984, September 21, 1990; Revised pursuant to Public Chapter 283, September 20, 2013. 

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Mickey Sheen