August 22, 2016

Group responsibility for student organizations (Student Misconduct)

Student organizations may be held responsible for the acts of individual members. Acts that may hold a group responsible include the following types of circumstances:

  • when a member of an organization is violating state law or university standards and other members present fail to indicate their disapproval, or by their continued presence without objection implicitly condone the behavior;
  • when the acts grow out of or are directly related to the student organization’s activities or an environment created by the organization;
  • when the acts are those of guests of an organization, or by persons authorized or permitted to represent themselves as connected with the organization;
  • when an organization places prospective members in a subordinate status prior to achieving full membership, or imposes any kind of probationary period prior to full membership, and hazing occurs.

It is not the number of members involved that is critical to a determination of organizational responsibility. The test is whether the activity is related to a student organization through one of these four circumstances or a private activity by a person who happens to be a member of the same student organization. The factors considered include whether the activity is one normally considered part of student organization life and whether the atmosphere encourages or condones the prohibited conduct by its members

See SCampus, Part G, for more information on organizational liability.