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 fraternities, sororities, and sport 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.

Unless otherwise denoted, the use of the term “student organization” shall include all registered student organizations associated with the University of Iowa. This includes all student organizations registered by the Leadership, Service and Civic Engagement, Recreational Services, student governance organizations (USG, GPSG, IFC, PHC, MGC, NPHC, ARH), or an academic college/department/unit.

Fraternity and sorority 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 and are subject to their respective council’s judicial processes.

  • I: General Information Regarding Student Organization Discipline

    I. General Information Regarding Student Organization Discipline

    The University of Iowa expects all registered student organizations to act in congruence with the values of the University community. Additionally, the rights and duties of registered student organizations also carry with them an obligation on the part of their members, collectively, to uphold the University of Iowa Code of Student Life.

    1. Jurisdiction: This Student Organization Discipline Procedure generally governs reports that allege student organization violations of University policies or organizational policies including, but not limited to, rules promulgated by the respective student governance organization.

    a. As referenced in the Registration of Student Organizations policy, the university will not adjudicate or hear appeals related to student organization leadership selection processes or final leadership selection by organizations that select their leadership on the basis of a commitment to a set of beliefs or affirmations. These selection processes are defined and enforced by individual student organizations and the university shall respect the organization’s decision-making process.
    b. Formal complaints of bias, harassment, discrimination, equity, free speech, and sexual misconduct concerns should be made to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). 

    2. Standard of Evidence: The standard of evidence used for cases investigated using the Student Accountability Procedure is a “preponderance of the evidence.” If the investigator determines that it is more likely than not that no policy violation occurred, the report will be dismissed. If the investigator determines that it is more likely than not that one or more University policies were violated, a sanction or sanctions will be imposed.

    3. 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 may be grounds for a University investigation and disciplinary sanctions.

    4. Organization Disciplinary Records: Student organization disciplinary records will be managed by the Office of Student Accountability. All records related to student organization conduct will be kept in the student organization’s official file.

    5. Group vs. Individual Responsibility: A registered student organization may be held accountable for the behavior of its members and guests. An organization’s officers or members are encouraged to seek assistance from University offices (UI Department of Public Safety, Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement, Student Engagement & Campus Programs, Fraternity and Sorority Life Programs, Office of Student Accountability, etc.) or outside agencies (police, fire department, ambulance) proactively to mitigate possible violations.

    The University will determine whether alleged violations of policy are individual or organizational in nature. Generally, a student organization may be held responsible for violations of University policy when:

    a. A policy or practice of the student organization was responsible for a violation, including:

    i. The violation was committed at an activity funded, co-sponsored, or endorsed by the organization or by an individual in the name of the organization and/or the misconduct occurred on property owned, controlled, rented, leased, and/or used by the student organization and/or any of its members/alumni acting on the student organization’s behalf;
    ii. Members, officers, or advisors failed to report knowledge or information about a violation to appropriate University authorities;

    b. One or more officers, acting within the scope of their stated or written duties, endorsed, permitted, encouraged, aided, or assisted in committing a violation or committed a violation;

    i. To endorse means having prior knowledge the misconduct was reasonably likely to occur and failing to take reasonable preventive or corrective action; failing to attempt to stop known misconduct while it is occurring; and/or helping to plan, promote, or carry out the misconduct.
    ii. In determining whether an organization or its officers failed to take reasonable precautions, the University may take into account the repeated occurrence of other relevant incidents involving the organization;
    iii. A pattern of individual violations occurs without appropriate accountability action by the student organization;

    c. One or more members or alumni permitted, encouraged, aided, or assisted, in committing a violation, including:

    i. The violation was committed as part of an activity or assignment supported by the organization and/or approved by the local, regional, or national leadership;
    ii. The violation was committed by members attending a function as representatives of the University, including, but not limited to, competitions, conferences, and conventions;
    iii. Members, officers, or alumni committed a violation in the name of the organization.

    6. Student organizations are also expected to observe the policies and rules established by the Leadership, Service and Civic Engagement, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Recreational Services, student governance organizations (USG, 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. 

  • II: Rules for Student Organizations

    II. Rules for Student Organizations

    The Office of Student Accountability has also established rules for student organizations. These rules are specified below:

    1. Hazing. In accordance with Iowa state law, hazing is defined as any intentional or reckless behavior, action, or situation, occurring with or without consent that endangers or creates risk of injury, mental or physical discomfort, hinders student engagement, harasses, embarrasses, and/or ridicules an individual. This includes assisting, approving (implicitly or explicitly), organizing, or otherwise participating in the prohibited behaviors,  for the purpose of initiation into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership or a leadership role in any student organization, fraternity, sorority, or team recognized by the University of Iowa Student Government or by any other University sponsor or department.
    2. 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.
    3. Alcohol. Organization members are prohibited from supplying alcohol to individuals outside the guidelines of the campus alcohol policy and/or policies regulating student organization social events.
    4. Illegal Drugs. Organization members are prohibited from supplying illegal drugs to members of their student organization or allowing the use or possession of illegal drugs at the organization’s events. Drugs include controlled substances, and substances that may be detrimental to health, even though not subject to state and federal laws.
    5. Misconduct on organizational property. Student 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 and Code of Student Life violations 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 may also result in sanctions if the organization failed to undertake reasonable preventive measures.
    6. 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. A student organization may be subject to disciplinary sanctions if the misconduct directed at the other organization was related directly or indirectly to organization affiliation, even if carried out by an individual member.  A student organization intentionally involved in the misconduct of another organization may be subject to sanctions as well.
    7. 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 employee acting in the performance of their duties. Failure to comply with a directive may be grounds for imposing sanctions on the organization.
    8.  Participation in 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 or as a benefit to another organization to violate Rule 1 of the Code of Student Life. Rule 1 prohibits cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of Academic Misconduct.
    9. 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.
    10. Failure to Observe Rules/Policies. Failure on the part of the student organization to observe an internal organization rule, University policy, academic college guideline, or rule issued by a student governance organization is prohibited.

  • III: Reports

    III. Reports

    Allegations of a possible violation of this policy may be brought to the University’s attention by a police report, incident report, report by organization leadership, media account, or any other method to: 

    a. Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement, Recreational Services,
    b. Office of the Dean of Students,
    c. Office of Student Accountability, or
    d. Other University offices, including the Office of Institutional Equity.

    Possible policy violations or reports can be referred for behavior that occurs both on and off campus. Additionally, any office, department, student organization, or individual (faculty, staff, student, or individual not affiliated with the University) may submit a report here.

    All such reports should be forwarded to the Office of Student Accountability. The Director of Student Accountability or their designee will review the initial report to determine how a case should proceed.

  • IV: Investigation

    IV. Investigation

    1. The Director of OSA may assign an investigator to investigate the 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.
    2. 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 Student Accountability.
    3. Interim Measures: Pending the completion of an investigation and issuance of a report, a student organization may be subjected to any measure set forth in these student organization procedures, other than revoking the student organization’s registration, on an interim basis.

    a. The assigned investigator has the authority to impose suspension of certain activities as sanctions on an interim basis.  The Director of Student Accountability and/or the investigator will consult with the Director of Leadership and Engagement, the Director of Recreation Services, or their designees, as applicable, regarding the case and any interim sanctions.
    b. The Director of Student Accountability, Director of Leadership and Engagement, or the Director of Recreational Services, or their designee, has the authority to suspend all of an organization’s activities pending the outcome of the investigation if in their opinion the organization’s continued operation poses either:

    1. a continuing danger to persons or property or
    2. constitutes an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process.

    c. Interim measure decisions will be based on evidence available at that time. In situations where an investigation will take an extended length of time, and when serious interim measures are imposed against a student organization (i.e., interim suspension), the interim measure(s) will be continuously reassessed by the investigators based on available information.
    d. A student organization may request that the investigator reconsider serious interim measures at any time.

    1. Within ten (10) University business days after an interim measure is imposed, a student organization may submit a written request for review and reconsideration of the interim measures.
    2. In situations where an investigation will take an extended length of time, and when interim suspension measures are imposed against a student organization, the interim measure(s) will be continuously reassessed by the investigators based on available information and involved parties will be updated.

    4. 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. A student organization or student organization representative(s) charged with criminal misconduct will be considered responsible for violating University Code of Student Life expectations and rules and therefore subject to disciplinary sanctions if convicted in criminal court of conduct prohibited under the Code of Student Life.
    b. For the purposes of these procedures, a conviction includes a guilty plea, no-contest plea, jury verdict, judicial decision, or deferred judgment.
    c. Due to the less stringent standard of proof under these 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 responsible of violating University policy.
    d. 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 responding student organization or student organization representative(s).

  • V: Resolution

    V. Resolution

    Adaptable Resolution Process:

    1. The Office of Student Accountability has the authority to impose sanctions if they conclude that Code of Student Life violations occurred and that sanctions are warranted by a full or partial investigation. When the investigator determines there has been a policy violation, and/ or the student organization acknowledges or admits that they engaged in the alleged behavior and cooperatively participates in the process, an Adaptable Resolution Process can be utilized.  

    2. While the Adaptable Resolution Process is typically available for Level 1 and 2 violations, the Director of OSA and the investigator will consider other circumstances for proceeding with an adaptable resolution that include: the overall safety and appropriateness to utilize this process, the complexity of the violation, the organization’s motivation and ability to participate, disciplinary history, and whether or not adequate resources exist to invest in the adaptable resolution (time, staff, etc.) as well as which form of resolution may be most successful for the student organization and the University.

    3. If Adaptable Resolution is applicable, the investigator will determine whether all parties and the University of Iowa are able to agree on responsibility, sanctions, and/or remedies. If so, the investigator implements the accepted finding that the student organization is in violation of University of Iowa policy and implements agreed-upon sanctions and/or remedies, in coordination with other appropriate administrator(s), as necessary.

    4. The Adaptable Resolution Process includes the following steps:

    a. The investigator and student organization representative(s) collaborate to co-create an adaptable resolution agreement for the incident.
    b. Before creating the adaptable resolution agreement, the investigator will consult with the Director of Leadership and Engagement or the Director of Recreational Services (or their designees) and, where applicable, the (inter)national / sponsoring organization for the local student organization/chapter, regarding the case and their sanction recommendations.
    c. The adaptable resolution agreement will be authored by the investigator, agreed upon by all parties, and signed by the student organization representative(s).
    d. Due to the nature of the adaptable resolution process, an appeal is not available after the agreement is signed by the responding student organization representative(s).  

    Administrative Resolution Process:

    When it has been determined, via the Adaptable Resolution Process, that a Level 3 violation(s) was committed and that suspension of University registration of the organization may be warranted (i.e. typically for Level 3 violations or resulting from progressive discipline), the case will be referred to the Director of the Office of Student Accountability for Administrative Resolution.   

    a. In these instances, the sanctions will be determined by the Director of the Office of Student Accountability who will consult with the Director of Leadership and Engagement or the Director of Recreational Services, (or their designee) as applicable and, where applicable, the (inter)national / sponsoring organization for the local student organization/chapter, regarding the case and their sanction recommendations.
    b. The student organization representative(s) will have ten (10) business days after receipt of the notice of a decision to request an appeal to the Director of the Office of Student Accountability.

    Formal Process:

    1. The Office of Student Accountability has the authority to impose sanctions if they conclude (via responding party admission or investigation) that the Code of Student Life was violated and that sanctions are warranted.

    a. An investigator may proceed with an accountability process if the student organization representative fails to respond to the notice letter or fails to attend their scheduled investigation meeting.

    2. If the investigator determines there has been a Level 1 or 2 policy violation, sanctions can be applied by the investigator.   When sanctioning, Office of Student Accountability staff will consult with the Director of Leadership and Engagement, the Director of Recreational Services, (or their designee, as applicable) and, where applicable, the (inter)national / sponsoring organization for the local student organization/chapter, regarding the case and their sanction recommendations.

    3. If the investigator determines there have been level 3 violation(s), the case will be referred to the Director of Student Accountability for resolution. The report prepared by the investigator may include a list of recommended sanctions.

    a. The Director of the Office of Student Accountability will schedule a resolution meeting with the student organization representative(s) following the completion of the investigation.
    b. The Director of the Office of Student Accountability or their designee may issue a decision if the student organization representative fails to respond to the notice letter or fails to attend their scheduled investigation meeting.

    4. The student organization representative(s) will have ten (10) business days after receipt of the notice of a decision to request an appeal to the Director of Leadership and Engagement, or the Director of Recreational Services, as applicable.

  • VI: Sanctions

    VI. Sanctions

    When it has been determined that one or more University policies have been violated, one or more 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:

    1. Disciplinary Reprimand: A written warning to the student organization explaining that the violation of university policy requires an official record to be kept in the Office of Student Accountability. A subsequent University policy violation following a Disciplinary Reprimand may result in the imposition of more serious sanctions.

    2. Educational Program. 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.

    3. Organization Leadership Development Opportunity.  Student organization leaders may be required to participate in additional leadership development or educational opportunities intended to build leaders capable of guiding culture change and providing overall leadership to their organization or enhance specific knowledge on policy or related issues. 

    4. 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: organizational grade point average, organizational arrest and citation rate, organizational member retention, organizational member certifications/trainings.

    5. Disciplinary Probation: A written acknowledgement of a violation of university policy.  The student organization may remain eligible for registration as a student organization at the university only on the condition that the organization complies with university policies including the Code of Student Life, and any other sanctions or restrictions on privileges, for a specified amount of time.

    6. 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 damage to University property.

    7. 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, prohibition from receiving and/or expending funds, suspension to participate in certain student organization and/or University sponsored activities.

    8. 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 as needed.

    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.
    Organization Leadership Development Opportunity.  Student organization leaders may be required to participate in additional leadership development or educational opportunities intended to build leaders capable of guiding culture change and providing overall leadership to their organization or enhance specific knowledge on policy or related issues. 

    In the event that a student organization or student organization representative(s) fail to comply with a sanction and the Director of Student Accountability has decided to impose a suspension, the student organization will be notified of the apparent failure to comply and of the Director’s intent to suspend, and provided an opportunity to meet personally with the Director and explain the circumstances prior to a final decision.

  • VII: Appeals

    VII. Appeals

    The responding 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:

    1. There was significant procedural error that materially affected the outcome (e.g., lack of notice, opportunity to be heard, or opportunity to challenge information);
    2. The decision was not supported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole;
    3. The decision amounted to misapplication of these rules;
    4. The sanction imposed was not appropriate in light of the policy violation(s);
    5. New, substantial evidence, not reasonably available at the time of the investigation or sanctioning, could materially change the decision.

    Process for appeal:

    1. The Director of Student Accountability will send an acknowledgement of receipt of the appeal to the student organization, generally within two (2) University business days.
    2. The Director of Student Accountability will typically transmit the student organization’s appeal and the record to the appeal officer who shall be the Director, Leadership and Engagement or Director of Recreational Services, as applicable, in a timely manner. The Director of Student Accountability will determine another suitable appellate officer should a conflict of interest be present with the Director, Leadership and Engagement or Director of Recreational Service. Sanctions imposed by the investigator or Director of Student Accountability will remain in effect while the appeal is being considered, unless otherwise noted.
    3. The appeal officer will review the student organization’s written appeal and the case record, which includes the investigation report, investigator notes and evidence collected. The appeal officer will not meet with the student or witnesses, or engage in further investigation with respect to the allegations.
    4. The appeal officer will transmit a written decision on the appeal to the Director of Student Accountability within ten (10) University business days from when the record was received by the appeal officer. The Director will circulate the decision on appeal within two (2) University business days after receipt of the decision.
    5. The decision made by the Director, Leadership and Engagement or Director of Recreational Services on the appeal is the final university decision on the matter. The student organization may appeal the University’s final decision to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, subject to its policies, procedures, and deadlines.  The University’s final decision letter will provide a hyper-link to the appeal procedures for the Board of Regents. Any sanctions imposed will remain in effect until the Board of Regents appeal process has been completed.