Discipline of Registered Student Organizations
The University of Iowa’s Student Organization Discipline Procedure is designed to provide a process to investigate and resolve alleged violations of University policies by student organizations, including but not limited to sports clubs registered by Recreational Services. The Discipline Procedure is not a substitute for the civil or criminal court system. Rather, the Discipline Procedure provides a mechanism for the University to determine if University policies have been violated and act in accordance with the findings.
All communication(s) related to any student organization discipline procedure will be placed in the student organization’s file in the Office of the Dean of Students.
Greek-letter chapters affiliated with the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council (PHC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), or Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) must also abide by the judicial policies established by their respective governing body.
Unless otherwise denoted, the use of the term “student organization” shall include all student organizations associated with the University of Iowa. This includes all student organizations registered by the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership, Recreational Services, student governance organizations (UISG, GPSG, IFC, PHC, MGC, NPHC, ARH), or an academic college/department/unit.
I. General Information Regarding Student Organization Discipline
- Jurisdiction: This Student Organization Discipline Procedure generally governs complaints that allege student organization violations of University policies or organizational policies, including but not limited to rules promulgated by the respective student governance organization.
- As stated in the University of Iowa Operations Manual, “formal complaints about sexual misconduct by University students, faculty, or staff should be made to the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator (335-6200). An academic or administrative officer, as defined in the University's Sexual Harassment policy (see II-4.1b(3)) must report any known sexual misconduct report to the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator. No employee is authorized to investigate or resolve student complaints without the involvement of the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator.”
- Standard of Proof: The standard of proof will be a preponderance of evidence. In other words, decisions will be based on a “more likely than not” standard. If it is determined that it is more likely than not that no policy violation occurred, the complaint will be dismissed. If it is determined that it is more likely than not that one or more University policies were violated, a sanction(s) will be assigned.
- Group vs. Individual Responsibility: The process for investigating allegations of student organization misconduct is outlined below in Section III. The University’s investigation into organization misconduct may occur concurrently with a Code of Student Life investigation into an individual member’s alleged misconduct or it may precede the Code of Student Life investigation or follow the Code of Student Life investigation. The Student Judicial Procedure governs the resolution of Code of Student Life misconduct involving individual students.
- Rules Governing Student Organizations: In order to remain registered as a UI student organization, organization members are expected to observe at all times internal policies of the organization, including but not limited to rules set by the state, national, or international headquarters. In addition, student organizations affiliated with one or more University of Iowa student governance organizations are bound to observe the rules of the respective governance organization(s). Violation of internal organization rules or rules set by a student governance organization are grounds for imposing disciplinary sanctions.
- Organization Disciplinary Records: Student Organization Disciplinary Records will be managed by the Office of the Dean of Students. All records related to student organization conduct will be kept in the student organization’s official file.
Student organizations are also expected to observe the policies and rules established by the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL), Recreational Services, student governance organizations (UISG, GPSG, IFC, PHC, MGC, NPHC, ARH), or an academic college/department/unit. Policies and Rules governing registered student organizations are posted in Article III sections A and B of this website. Section A or B rules apply to every UI student organization, including sports clubs, and disciplinary sanctions will be imposed in the event of a policy or rule violation.
The UI Dean of Students has also established rules for student organizations. These rules are specified below:
- Hazing. Membership rituals cannot involve activities which endanger a student or create risk of injury, mental or physical discomfort, harassment, embarrassment, and/or ridicule for the purpose of initiation into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in the student organization. Appropriate initiation rituals are permitted but hazing is strictly prohibited. Examples of prohibited rituals are included in Rule 26 of the Code of Student Life rules, Section B.VIII of Student Organizations, and the rules and guidelines established by the student governance organization.
- Funds retained in Student Organization Accounts. Disciplinary sanctions will be imposed if organizational funds are allocated in violation of University policies governing student organization accounts or if members failed to follow mandatory cash handling procedures.
- Alcohol. Organization members are prohibited from providing alcohol to under-age members of their student organization. Sanctions may be imposed upon the student organization in addition to sanctions imposed on the individual member.
- Illegal Drugs. Organization members are prohibited from providing illegal drugs to members of their student organization. Sanctions may be imposed upon the student organization in addition to sanctions imposed on the individual member.
- Misconduct on organizational property. Organizations which own or lease property are expected to undertake reasonable preventive measures to ensure that local, state, and federal laws are observed on its property. Criminal conduct on organization property may result in the imposition of sanctions on the organization if preventive measures were unreasonable. Misconduct on organization property which violates the Code of Student Life also may result in sanctions if the organization failed to undertake reasonable preventive measures.
- Misconduct involving other student organizations. Student organization members are expected to respect the rights and privileges of other organizations and their members. Vandalism, harassment, and violence, for example, are strictly prohibited by the Code of Student Life, and the perpetrator’s organization may be subject to disciplinary sanctions if the misconduct directed at the other organization was related directly or indirectly to organization affiliation.
- Failure to Comply with a University Directive. Executive officers and members of a student organization are expected to comply with a reasonable directive issued by any University of Iowa faculty or staff member acting in the performance of the faculty or staff member's duties. Failure to comply with a directive may be grounds for imposing sanctions on the organization.
- Aiding or Abetting Academic Misconduct. A student organization may be subject to disciplinary sanctions if one or more organization members aids or abets another member of their organization to violate Rule 1 of the Code of Student Life. Rule 1 prohibits cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of Academic Misconduct.
- Other Violative Conduct. A student organization may be subject to disciplinary sanctions if one or more organization members violates University regulations at an event sponsored by the organization or in the course of the organization’s affairs and the organization failed to exercise reasonable preventive measures. Sanctions may also be imposed on the organization if the activity of one or more members at the organization-sponsored event seriously threatened (a) any educational process or other legitimate function of the University or (b) the health or safety of any member of the academic community.
- Failure on the part of the organization to observe an internal organization rule, University policy, academic college guideline, or rule issued by a student governance organization.
The Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL), Recreational Services, Office of the Dean of Students, or other University office can be informed of a student organization policy violation or incident through a police report or other method. Policy violations or complaints can be referred for behavior that occurs both on and off campus. Any office, department, student organization, or individual (faculty, staff, student, or individual not affiliated with the University) may submit a complaint.
The Director of the Student Conduct Office or their designee will review and investigate the complaint to determine how a case should proceed.
- The Director of the Student Conduct Office or their designee will investigate alleged violations of University policies committed by student organizations. During the investigation, a representative(s) of the student organization will be notified of the allegations in writing and given an opportunity to meet with the investigator to explain the organization’s side of the incident prior to the issuance of the final investigative decision. The student organization representative(s) also has the opportunity to submit documents and other relevant evidence to the investigator and identify witnesses who may have relevant information.
- If a case is to proceed, a file will be created that will remain a part of the student organization’s permanent file in the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Following investigation, a case may be either referred to the Executive Director of the IMU or Director of Recreational Services.
- Interim suspension of student organization activities or interim sanctions may be placed on the student organization.
- Authority to impose non-suspension sanctions on an interim basis lies with the Dean of Students, the Director of the Student Conduct office or designee, the Executive Director of the IMU, or the Director of Recreational Services.
- Interim sanction decisions will be based on evidence available at that time.
- The Dean of Students has the authority to suspend an organization’s activities pending the outcome of the investigation if in the Dean’s opinion the organization’s continued operation poses a continuing danger to persons or property or constitutes an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process.
- A student organization suspended on an interim basis has the opportunity to meet with the Dean of Students within five (5) University business days after receipt of the notice of the interim suspension. If a meeting is requested, organization representative(s) may request the Dean of Students to review and reconsider the interim suspension.
- Criminal Charges: University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student organization or student organization representative(s) charged with conduct that potentially violates both criminal laws and University policy, notwithstanding the fact that an investigation or court proceeding might be pending. University proceedings may occur before, during, or after the criminal court process. A student organization or student organization representative(s) charged with criminal misconduct will be considered guilty of violating University conduct regulations and therefore subject to disciplinary sanctions if convicted in criminal court of conduct prohibited under the Code of Student Life. For purposes of these procedures, a conviction includes a guilty plea, jury verdict, judicial decision, or deferred judgment. Due to the less stringent standard of proof under these judicial procedures, a student organization or student organization representative(s) charged but not convicted of a crime is still subject to University disciplinary action if found guilty of violating University policy. Findings or sanctions imposed under this policy shall not be subject to change even though criminal charges arising out of the same facts were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of the accused student organization or student organization representative(s).
- If the investigator determines there has been a policy violation, then the case will be referred to the Executive Director of the IMU or the Director of Recreational Services for resolution. The report prepared by the investigator may include a list of recommended sanctions.
- The Executive Director of the IMU or the Director of Recreational Services will schedule a time to meet and discuss the case with the student organization representative(s) following the investigation by the Director of the Student Conduct Office or their designee.
- The Executive Director of the IMU or the Director of Recreational Services may issue a decision in the case in the event that the student organization representative fails to respond to the notice letter in a timely manner following receipt of the letter.
- The Executive Director of the IMU or the Director of Recreational Services in charge of the case has the authority to impose sanctions if they conclude that University rules were violated and that sanctions are warranted.
- The student organization representative(s) will have ten (10) business days after receipt of the notice of a decision by either the Executive Director of the IMU or the Director of Recreational Services to request an appeal to the Office of the Dean of Students.
When it has been determined after investigation that one or more University policies have been violated, one or more final sanctions may be imposed.
Student organizations that fail to comply with a sanction in a timely manner are subject to additional disciplinary action, which may include loss of registration until compliance is achieved.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential sanctions that may be utilized individually or in combination:
- Disciplinary Reprimand: A written notice to the student organization or explaining that the violation of institutional policy warrants an official record be kept in the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Educational Sanction. A student organization may be required to provide an identified service or participate in a particular program, receive specific instruction, or complete a designated assignment. The student organization is responsible for any related expenses, including expenses for education, counseling, and/or services.
- Attainment of Standards. A student organization or student organization representative(s) may be required to attain a specific standard(s) over the course of a designated period of time. Examples of these standards include, but are not limited to, the following: organizational grade point average, organizational arrest and citation rate, organizational member retention, organizational member certifications/trainings.
- Disciplinary Probation: A written admonishment for a violation of specified regulations. With respect to the non-academic disciplinary system, a student organization on disciplinary probation is not considered to be in good standing for a designated period of time. If the student organization or its representative(s) are found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period, more severe disciplinary sanctions may be imposed. Once the designated period of time has elapsed, the student organization will be considered in good standing; however, a record of the sanction will be kept in the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Restitution: A student organization may be assessed reasonable expenses related to the misconduct. This may include, but is not limited to, the following: the repair/replacement cost for any damage to property or any related expenses incurred by the victim/complainant.
- Denial of Privileges: A student organization may be denied access to certain University privileges for a definite or indefinite period of time. Such sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the following: prohibitions on University space usage, bar from receiving and/or expending funds, suspension to participate in certain student organization and/or University sponsored activities.
- Loss of Registration: A student organization may be involuntarily separated from the University for a specified period of time or permanently. Conditions for a return may be specified.
Sanctions will vary based upon the facts and circumstances of any specific offense. Sanctions are usually progressive in nature and include the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student organization or student organization representative(s) are found to violate the same or any other University policies. In some circumstances, the Executive Director of the IMU or Director of Recreational Services may elect to defer a sanction. A deferred suspension, for example, means that the sanction does not go into effect as long as the student organization complies with all requirements during the interim period. In those cases where the student organization completes all expectations during the interim period, the student organization’s record will show that the sanction was never imposed.
In the event that a student organization or student organization representative(s) fail to comply with a sanction and the Executive Director of the IMU or Director of Recreational Services has decided to impose a suspension, the student organization will be notified of the apparent failure to comply and of the Directors' intent to suspend, and provided an opportunity to meet personally with the Director and explain the circumstances prior to a final decision.
The complaining party, or the accused student organization may appeal the decision by filing a written notice of appeal within ten (10) University business days following the receipt of the decision. The notice of appeal shall be filed with the Office of the Dean of Students.
Grounds for appeal:
- The decision was unsupported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole.
- The decision was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, or constituted an abuse of discretion.
- The sanction was unreasonably harsh or lenient in light of the circumstances.
- The procedures were not properly followed, resulting in prejudice to the appealing party.
- New evidence, not reasonably available at the time of hearing, warrants reconsideration.
- On appeal, the decision may be affirmed, reversed, remanded back with instructions for further investigation, or modified as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Students. The written decision on appeal shall be transmitted by the Dean of Students to the accused student organization, and the complaining party within ten (10) University business days of the receipt of the notice of appeal. The Dean of Students may forward the decision on appeal to appropriate University offices. In cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct, dating violence, or stalking, the Dean of Students will forward the appeal decision to the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator.