The University of Pittsburgh herein establishes a system of registration for student organizations to ensure the rights of students to freely form associations, to define the relationship between the University and student organizations, to maintain the right to choose which student organizations it recognizes, and to ensure that the requirements for registration, the privileges received through registration and the policies and procedures that govern student organizations are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner.
The student organization registration process has two categories, Independent and Sponsored.
- Registration Status
Independent Status: Independent student organization status is accorded to student organizations that meet the standard conditions for Independent status. Membership in an Independent student organization and participation in its activities are voluntary and all risks of personal injury, property damage or other losses that occur incidental to membership or participation in activities are assumed solely by the student organization, individual member(s) and other participant(s).
Independent student organizations are not official components of the University. Independent status does not permit the organization to act in the name of the University, to represent the University, engage in any contractual obligation in the name of the University nor represent the organization as being an official part of the University. Independent student organizations are permitted to have external affiliations and may be part of an incorporated external organization. The off-campus activities of Independent student organizations are the sole responsibility of the organization, officers and members, unless expressly approved in advance by the University.
Sponsored Status: Sponsored student organizations meet the standard conditions for Independent status and have an official association and working relationship with an operating unit of the University. The nature and extent of the association and working relationship are determined solely by the chief administrator of the operating unit. (See Additional Requirements and Privileges for Sponsorship) The activities and programs of Sponsored student organizations are not considered official programs of the operating unit unless expressly approved by the chief administrator or designee.
National social fraternities and sororities must meet the standard conditions for Independent status and the Sponsorship requirements to officially operate on campus. The Sponsorship of national social fraternities and sororities is governed by additional policies and procedures approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Students and administered by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
- Requirements for Registration
- Complete the online registration application via the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) website.
- Accurately disclose the purpose of the organization and operate in accordance with its stated purpose.
- Disclose any external affiliations; provide the constitution and bylaws of any such organization with which it may be affiliated; and certify that all conditions for affiliation meet the registration standards of the University.
- Submit a constitution according to standards with the registration application. (See Constitution Requirements)
- Submit a membership list with the names of ten (10) currently enrolled Pitt students with the registration application.
- Organizations must secure a full-time faculty or staff member at the University to serve as advisor.
- After approval of registration, maintain an active membership of a minimum of ten (10) currently enrolled Pitt students.
- Provide accurate membership rosters and signed Agreement to Participate waivers for all members and participants in organization activities as directed. *Competitive and Recreational Sport Clubs must maintain a full membership roster and each member must complete, sign and date an Agreement to Participate as a condition of participation in club activities each year through CollegiateLink.
- Maintain a membership comprised of at least 75% currently enrolled Pitt students.
- Maintain at least three (3) student officers in good academic and social standing.
- Limit voting, officer positions and formal leadership roles to currently enrolled Pitt students.
- Submit a re-registration application during the re-registration period that follows the organization’s standard officer elections.
- Submit all changes in constitution and bylaws, officers and advisor within one week of the change to the SORC if change occurs outside of one of the defined re-registration periods.
- Agree to and comply with the Notice and Acceptance of the Assumption of Risk.
- Agree to and comply with the Publications Code for Student Organizations.
- Adhere to University policies and procedures and local, state and federal laws.
- Conduct all activities in a manner consistent with the educational mission of the University.
- Conduct all activities in a manner that contributes to the intellectual, ethical, psychological and personal growth of its members.
- Refrain from advocating, inciting or participating in any material interference or physical disruption of the University.
- Refrain from the use of deceptive recruitment practices and the use of coercion, manipulation and proselytization techniques as a means of recruitment.
- No illegal discriminatory criteria may be used as criteria for membership including those listed in the University of Pittsburgh’s non-discrimination policy. These factors include race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, or status as a veteran. All groups, except those exempt by law, must permit male and female membership. Sport clubs involving physical contact or in which participation is based on competitive skill may limit participation in competition to one sex; provided that, for any for any such sport club engaged in a non-contact sport, unless there is a sport club available for members of the opposite sex, the club must permit try-outs for each sex. Membership can be limited by factors unrelated to status or beliefs and which are also not illegal. Membership can be limited by school, college, department, major and grades, etc. No hazing or illegal discrimination will be used as a condition of membership in the organization.
- Refrain from participation in hazing activities.
- Refrain from using the organization for the financial enrichment of any officer, member or affiliate.
- Refrain from directly or indirectly using University resources for the express benefit of external affiliates.
- Use dues and other membership fees for the express benefit of the organization and in fulfillment of its purposes.
- Maintain University accounts as required. (Visit the SORC Business Office in 833 William Pitt Union for more information.)
- Refrain from maintaining outside back accounts if funded by activity fees, and refrain from using the name of the University on private bank accounts.
- Refrain from entering or attempting to enter into contractual obligations for the University without prior authorization by designated University staff.
- Except as otherwise expressly permitted herein, organizations shall not use any University trademark, trade name, service mark and/or logo.
- Refrain from directly or indirectly using University resources in support of any candidate for public office. Please see the Notice on Political Campaign Activity.
- Refrain from soliciting funds outside the University without the express approval from the Office of Student Life.
- Student organizations shall not do anything that would jeopardize the University’s licensure, accreditation or tax exemption.
- Privileges of Registration
- Eligible to use University facilities, equipment and services according to policies and procedures.
- Eligible to apply for funding from the respective student government under the policies and procedures set forth in the appropriate student government constitution and bylaws. Each student government has guidelines that define which student organizations are eligible for funding. The Student Government Board (SGB) requires the organization to be comprised of at least 75% non-CGS undergraduate students. The College of General Studies Student Government (CGSSG) requires the organization to be comprised of at least 60% College of General Studies students. The Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) funds sponsored graduate school student governments and registered graduate student organizations.
- Eligible to receive consulting and other services from the SORC and the Office of Student Life.
- Eligible to collect dues, host fundraising events and solicit funds according to University policy.
- Eligible to apply for remuneration for officers by student governments.
- Eligible to receive awards or honors presented to student organizations and members.
- Eligible to be listed in University publications.
- Eligible to participate in University activities.
- Eligible to apply for student organization office space in the William Pitt Union and O’Hara Student Center.
- Eligible to host program activities consistent with the purpose of the organization.
- Eligible to distribute literature and organizational materials according to University policies and procedures.
- Eligible to use the University mail services.
- Eligible to apply for a University financial account and to use the services of the University business departments initiated through the SORC Business Office.
- Eligible to request assistance from the Student Affairs Marketing Department to promote organizational activities.
- Eligible to post material on controlled University bulletin boards.
- Additional Requirements and Privileges for Sponsored Status
- National social fraternities and sororities must be sponsored to operate on campus and are subject to additional policies and procedures approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Students administered by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
- Sponsored status for a student organization establishes an official working relationship with an operating unit of the University. This relationship provides consistency with the purpose and activities of the organization and the mission of the operating unit.
- Organizations seeking sponsored status by a school or college must be approved by the dean of the school or college. Organizations seeking sponsored status by an academic department must be approved by the department chairperson. Organizations seeking sponsored status by operating units within Student Affairs must be approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Students.
- All other University operating units outside academic units and units within Student Affairs may sponsor a student organization with the approval of the chief administrator of the sponsoring unit.
- The sponsoring unit must assign a faculty or staff advisor to the organization.
- The chief administrator of the sponsoring unit must submit the Student Organization Sponsored Status Application approving sponsorship and the Letter of Sponsorship acknowledging the nature of the working relationship, any additional support from the sponsoring unit as well as any additional advisor responsibilities to the SORC.
- The sponsoring unit may establish additional requirements for sponsorship beyond the standard requirements for registration.
- The sponsoring unit must approve of the organization’s constitution as a condition of sponsorship and may establish guidelines and procedures to define the working relationship. They may also afford the student organization additional privileges beyond the standard privileges of registration.
- Assumption of Risk Policy
It is understood and agreed that participation in all activities of registered student organizations is voluntary and that all risk of personal injury, property damage or other losses that occur incidental to membership or participation in activities are assumed solely by the student organization and/or individual member(s) or participant(s).
Accordingly, the University of Pittsburgh, its officers and agents shall not be responsible nor liable for any claims or causes of action for damage or loss of property or personal injury of any kind or nature which may arise out of or are incidental to the conduct of any organization’s activities or that of any individual’s participation in any organization-related activity.
It is further understood and agreed that it is the responsibility of the signatory officers of the organization to assure that all of the organization’s members and non-member participants, in all activities hosted by the organization, are fully informed and advised of this Assumption of Risk, and in the event any individual member or participant should express or indicate non-acceptance, the organization’s officers shall forbid participation and/or membership of such individual.
In regard to organization/participant assumption of risk, the University recommends that the organization and/or participants make every effort to arrange for the acquisition of liability insurance sufficient to protect all participants against those risks being assumed. Similarly, for sport-related organizations the University recommends that each individual have insurance sufficient to allow for any risks by participation, accident or by deficiencies in physical health.
- Hazing Policy
Hazing at the University of Pittsburgh is considered a violation of the University’s Anti-Hazing Policy and Student Code of Conduct and is absolutely prohibited. Hazing may also be considered a criminal act in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Therefore, any student who causes or participates in hazing may be subject to appropriate University discipline and/or may be subject to criminal prosecution. For more information on the University policy regarding hazing, please visit the Student Conduct Website.
- Publications Code
The organization will ensure that any organization publication or material will:
- Comply with current copyright laws.
- Be distributed according to policies and procedures.
- Refrain from expressions that are considered obscene or libelous according to current statute, advocate or incite the material interference or physical disruption of the educational process or the peace, order and decorum of the campus, or that advocate or incite imminent lawless action or the violent overthrow of the government.
- Identify the organization as publisher and specify that the group is a registered student organization at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Revocation of Registration
- Any violation of registration policies may result in suspension or revocation of registration. Except for recognized national social fraternities and sororities, the SORC adjudicates all registration violations. The decision of the SORC may be appealed to the Office of Student Life.
- Procedural noncompliance once registered may result in suspension or revocation of registration. This includes failure to submit the following: change of officers, constitution and bylaws, affiliations, and/or advisor according to policy.
- Sponsored status may be rescinded at the discretion of the sponsoring unit or the approving Dean or the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. Except for national social fraternities and sororities and undergraduate governance groups, revocation of sponsorship will change the organization’s status to registered.
- The Registration Program is administered by the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) in 833 William Pitt Union.