Core Principles for Recognized Student Organizations

These Core Principles were developed in partnership with the Student Life Committee (Standing Committee of the Faculty Handbook as stated in Article VIII, Section 18). It is expected that all recognized organizations adhere to these principles.

  1. Student organizations must be formed and administered by Elon students. Student leadership and the opportunity for student organizations to be self-governing within the policies and expectations of the university are key aspects of the learning and leadership experience. Elon recognizes and supports student organizations as part of its educational mission. Faculty and staff (and in some cases approved, non-Elon personnel) are welcomed and expected to serve as advisors, but may not vote or lead the club or organization.
  2. Student organizations must comply fully with the university’s non-discrimination policy: “The university does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, creed, sex, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran’s status in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, or the operation of any of its programs.” Faculty Handbook and Student Handbook
  3. Student organizations must welcome any Elon student in good academic and social standing as members. The rationale is, again, that student organizations are part of the educational enterprise of the university so that any full-time student, who is interested in learning about and participating in a student organization, must be welcomed. There are a few exceptions to all members participating in all activities. Student organizations such as a cappella groups, dance groups, club sports, etc. may hold auditions or tryouts; honor societies may set GPA requirements; and some organizations may set selection criteria, such as the social and business fraternities and sororities. In addition, some may develop and use criteria to select a smaller set of the members to represent them on certain occasions, but to the greatest extent feasible, the full membership should be included in all activities. For example, competitive groups, such as club sports, may develop and use criteria for selecting travel teams to participate in competitions at other schools if funds are insufficient or it is otherwise not feasible for the entire team to travel. All of these exceptions must be specified in the student organizations by-laws which must be approved by the Student Life Committee.
  4. The leadership selection of student organizations must be entirely student led and administered following the democratic process specified in their by-laws. The Student Life Committee believes that, as part of the educational process, student organizations should engage in respectful dialogue over differences in opinions and views and allow its members to elect the individuals they deem best for leadership positions.
  5. Accountability for members and officers of student organizations must be based on clearly established behavioral criteria. Sanctions against, or dismissal of members/officers, must be based on clearly established, written criteria in student organization by-laws, or manuals approved by the full membership (according to procedures specified in the by-laws). Reasons for holding a student accountable must be based on behaviors inconsistent with clearly defined criteria and not subjective questions of identity, belief, or fit. In addition, any organization conduct or standards process must adhere to basic due process principles, including: written notice to the student that states the incorrect behavior for which the student is being charged; the opportunity for the student to prepare for, and respond to the charges; and, the opportunity for the student to face the person(s) charging the student. Organization members are also expected to uphold all university policies and may be held accountable based on the behavior by the appropriate department on campus.


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