This page contains the policies relevant to student groups registered at the University of Minnesota. All students must comply with the policies listed in order for student groups to remain in good standing with the University.
Student groups must comply with all University policies and procedures, as well as local, state, and federal laws and regulations. This includes, but is not limited to, the Board of Regents Policy on Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action as they relate to group membership and access to programs. Religious student groups may require their voting members and officers to adhere to the organization’s statement of faith and its rules of conduct. Please note that the Student Conduct Code applies to individuals and members of student groups and their activities both on and off-campus.
Violation of these or other requirements constitute grounds for revocation of registration status and/or other sanctions, following established University procedures of due process to be administered by Student Unions & Activities. Nothing in this policy should be construed to abridge the constitutional rights of students to freedom of speech, association, and free exercise of religion.
Student Groups shall have the privilege and responsibility to develop and implement appropriate internal policies and procedures, governing operations, activities, and the conduct of members. These groups shall also be responsible for informing members of such policies and procedures, including the potential consequences if violated. The responsibility for development, implementation, administration, and enforcement of such policies and procedures shall be exercised on behalf of each student group by the group’s officers and in accordance with the group’s constitution.
By becoming an officer of a student group, students agree to the following statements:
Student groups must register with Student Unions & Activities to establish a relationship with the University in order to access to resources, facilities, and services. Not all University resources available to individual students for academic purposes are available for use by student groups, however, registered student groups have access to the following:
The benefits you are able to access as an officer of a student group are for your group’s use alone. For instance, reserving a meeting room, event venue or contact table allows you to use this space only for your group’s purpose. You cannot reserve spaces for use by other student groups, University departments, outside groups, or individual use to provide access or reduced costs in using University facilities, services, or staff. Providing this inappropriate access to student group benefits may result in disciplinary action against your group.
Student groups who register are classified as either a Campus Life Program or a Registered Student Organization. These classifications determine additional guidelines and policies that each group must abide by and also provides additional resources for the group.
A voluntary association comprised primarily of students that does not have a direct relationship to the University; but upon completion of the established registration process, has the ability to conduct activities at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
Registered Student Organizations are independent and autonomous from the University and are responsible for managing their own affairs. Registered Student Organizations are not units or agents of the University, and should not represent themselves as such. Events and activities conducted by Registered Student Organizations are not considered University-sponsored under this policy unless the Director of Student Unions & Activities or his/her designee confirms University sponsorship in writing. RSOs will comply with all policies and procedures for Registered Student Organizations as identified within student group and University policies.
A voluntary association comprised primarily of students whose activities, operations, and decision-making processes are directly governed by University academic or administrative departments, and for which the University is ultimately responsible. Upon completion of the established registration process, they have the ability to conduct activities on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.
Registering a student group as a Campus Life Program (CLP) means that this group must be affiliated with a University of Minnesota academic or administrative department and have a designated University faculty or staff advisor. The CLP and its advisor must be approved annually by the dean or department head and comply with all policies and procedures for Campus Life Programs as identified within student group and University policies. All CLP operations and activities are subject to the oversight of the sponsoring or affiliated department. Registration as a student group grants the CLP certain privileges and services not available to Registered Student Organizations (RSO). Please see the outline of the differences between CLPs and RSOs.
CLPs need to act in accordance with best interests of the University in all aspects of their operations and activities. The sponsoring or affiliated department, through the designated staff or faculty advisor, is responsible for ensuring compatibility between the group’s operations and actions and University interests.
Hazing by any member of the University community is prohibited by the University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code and MN State Statute 121A.69 . Hazing is prohibited whenever it occurs on University premises or in connection with any University affiliated group or activity. Learn more about hazing.
Student Groups hosting events on campus where minors are the primary intended audience are responsible to be aware of and in some cases adhere to the Regents policy on the Safety of Minors.
Student Groups that operate programs or activities on campus or in a University facility where minors are primary audience without an accompanying adult, or when the program includes an overnight stay must certify to the University that all individuals who will have ongoing interaction with minors have received training and have undergone the criminal background check, and that the program meets or exceeds the University’s Health and Safety Requirements for Programs Involving Minors.
CLP’s would follow the Safety of Minors policy through involvement with a campus department. RSO’s responsibility for meeting safety requirements are similar to an outside organization using space on campus. Responsibility for meeting requirements are shown on the Safety of Minors - Requirements Grid attached to the Safety of Minors Policy.
For assistance in determining your group’s responsibility, please contact Student Activities at email@example.com or 612-626-6919.
Learn more about how to adhere to the Safety of Minors policy.
Student groups must comply with the University’s policy on the sale and/or service of alcoholic beverages on University owned or operated property. See Alcohol Beverage Sales and Service, and Venue Liquor Licensing.
Student group access to resources and benefits is dependent upon their registration status or status level. Student group status can be changed as a result of violations of student group policy, complaint investigation findings or student group actions not in accordance with the governing documents of the organization.
Name registration and changes. By registering with Student Unions & Activities, groups reserve the right to the exclusive use of the group’s name. The same group name cannot apply to multiple groups. Upon registration, groups will be assigned a Group Identification Number that is permanently assigned to the group and will remain with the group despite changes to registration status (i.e. expired, probation, normal, new). This number will not change if the group name changes. Upon registration the group name will be listed in the GopherLink Directory. In order to change the group’s name, a registered officer needs to submit a Name Change Request Form and an updated constitution reflecting the new group name.
Student groups may not use any copyrighted names within their group’s name without written permission from the copyright owner. Student groups also may not use any for-profit organization’s name within their group’s name. Student Unions & Activities reserves the right to refuse registration to any group representing or using a copyrighted or for-profit organization. Housing organizations, such as apartment complexes, whose primary tenants are University of Minnesota students, may register one student group containing the name of that housing organization.
Registered Student Organizations are independent of the University of Minnesota and their names may not imply that they are part of the University of Minnesota. Registered Student Organizations shall not use the name “University of Minnesota,” any abbreviation thereof or the University wordmark, or the word “Gopher” in conjunction with the name of the organization. Registered Student Organizations may use the word “University” or the geographical designation “at the University of Minnesota.” The following are examples of acceptable names for student groups: “The Gardening Club at the University of Minnesota,” “The Campus Gardening Club,” “The Minnesota Gardening Club,” “The Student Gardening Club,” and “The University Gardening Club”. “The University of Minnesota Gardening Club,” however, is not acceptable, as it implies that the club is part of the University.
Campus Life Programs (CLPs) are University entities and subject to all responsibilities and entitled to all privileges thereof, including use of the University names and symbols.
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) cannot use the name “University of Minnesota”, any abbreviations thereof, or the University wordmark in conjunction with the name of the organization, including use for promotional materials or clothing. RSOs may use the word “University” or may indicate the geographical designation “at the University of Minnesota” (See Naming Your Student Group). Registered Student Organizations may use the block “M” and Goldy Gopher images in accordance with University graphic standards and policies. These images may not be used in a way that expresses or implies University endorsement or approval of the student group or its programs and activities. Contact University Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about using these logos. Additional guidance:
In order for a group to register with Student Unions & Activities, the group must have a constitution that outlines the fundamental principles and structure of the group and functions as a statement of the group’s policies and rules. It is also acknowledgement of the University of Minnesota’s policies and regulations. By submitting a constitution to the Student Activities Office, the group provides documentation of compliance with student group and University policy and the rules that will govern the group. To view the minimum requirements, recommended topics, and sample constitutions visit the constitutions page.
When a group dissolves, the name, identification number, and status as a currently registered student group at the University of Minnesota are permanently terminated and cannot be utilized by students in the future.
Student groups dissolve as a result of two situations:
Upon dissolution of a student group, the group’s officers shall be responsible for the distribution of remaining funds, in accordance with the group’s constitution.
Compliance. The financial operations of student groups must be conducted in accordance with all University, local, state, federal laws and regulations, and the student group’s respective constitutions.
Responsibility. Registered officers of the student group shall have personal responsibility and accountability for the finances and operations of the group.
Banking. Registered Student Organizations shall independently secure and maintain banking services through a service provider of their choice. All accounts should be opened and maintained under a Tax ID Number (or EIN-Employee ID Number) specific to the group. Campus Life Programs are required to use the University’s financial management system for all transactions and may not have a checkbook or separate banking account.
All use of student group funds shall be in accordance with the group’s constitution. Student groups operate as nonprofits and no individuals will profit as a result of any revenue the group generates. Student groups may pay its officers and employees’ salaries, wages, stipends, or other lawful incentives for services rendered. Student groups may also provide financial awards/prizes to individuals, including officers or members, as a result of individual participation in a student group activity. Other payments, including gifts, distribution of residual assets or profits, dividends, and so on, to officers, members, or other individuals are prohibited. Where appropriate, organizations that qualify as charitable, educational, social, or benevolent organizations may make payments to other affiliated organizations outside the University.
Independent auditing is an important element of the ongoing financial solvency and accountability of student groups’ accounts. Please see Maintenance & Records for additional information regarding best practices. Student Unions & Activities reserves the right to require audit information from a qualified independent auditor.
Partisan political student groups and student fees funding. Partisan political student groups are not eligible to apply and/or receive general student services fees. “Partisan political student groups” are organizations affiliated with and in support of a registered political party or candidates for election. Such groups may seek funding for their nonpartisan political activities (e.g., candidate forums available to all qualified candidates, nonpartisan educational programs, etc.) through other University grant and student funding programs.
Limits on use of University funds for all student groups. No registered student group may use University funds on behalf of a candidate for public office in a political campaign.
Financial Policies for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)
Student groups shall be responsible for all applicable tax requirements; including, but not limited to, collection and payment of sales taxes and filing and payment of income taxes. To learn more about applicable tax requirements, see Taxes and Tax Status. Registered Student Organizations (RSO)may be required to file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service on an annual basis. Campus Life Programs (CLPs) do not have to file taxes, as they are entities of the university. To determine your filing requirements, visit the Taxes page.
Fundraising is one of the best and most proactive ways to make your group self-sufficient, finance your group’s activities and gain valuable experience for the participating members. All student group fundraising activities must follow University policies and procedures, as well as to local, state, and federal laws. When planning a fundraiser, keep the following in mind:
Student groups officially registered with the University of Minnesota may conduct sales and/or fundraising activities, up to five (5) days per semester or summer session, using University facilities in accordance with the following guidelines. All on-campus sales and/or fundraisers (including the solicitation of donations and merchandise/book sales related to public appearances by musicians, guest speakers, performing artists, non-university vendors, etc.) must be reviewed and approved by Student Unions & Activities. The following policy gives student groups this opportunity and must be adhered to in order to remain in good standing with the University of Minnesota.
View the guidelines and apply for a permit.
Drawings and Raffles: Student Groups will be solely responsible for compliance with all gambling laws, rules and ordinances, whether enumerated in this guide or not. See Frequently Asked Questions.
University Campus Life Programs have status as University of Minnesota entities and are insured under the University’s insurance program. Individual students are not considered to be Insureds under the policies.
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and their officers, individual members and/or employees are not covered by the University’s General Liability Insurance. RSO Faculty and Staff Advisors are Insureds under the University’s policy which also covers them for their service to CLPs. The University has general liability insurance which provides coverage for claims of bodily injury and property damage against the University arising out of the negligent actions of the insured Faculty and Staff Advisors.
While RSOs do not have general liability insurance coverage from the University, the University does not require RSOs to purchase additional insurance for most of their on-campus activities except as noted under #2 below. Depending on the venue, most on-campus activities that do not need additional insurance include:
While the University does not require additional liability insurance for most on-campus activities, the University does require RSOs to provide a certificate of insurance in order to conduct the following activities on campus:
Where insurance is required, Registered Student Organizations will be required to provide a certificate of insurance in order to conduct events at University facilities. In these cases, insurance requirements for RSOs must be consistent with the terms of the University of Minnesota’s agreement with other third-party users of University space.
To conduct excluded activities in University facilities, Registered Student Organizations must provide proof of general liability insurance coverage (i.e., a certificate of insurance) covering that organization’s event, naming the Regents of the University of Minnesota as an additional insured, and evidencing coverage with a limit of not less than $1,000,000 each occurrence for bodily and personal injury and property damage. Download a sample copy of a Certificate of Insurance.
If an RSO does not have its own coverage, it may purchase Tenant User’s Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP). This program is designed for third-party facility users who need to purchase general liability insurance for an event. TULIP is a General Liability policy that protects both the facility user and the University. The policy provides coverage for bodily and personal injury or property damage arising out of the use of University premises by external users.
Learn more about how to purchase insurance.
In addition to not being covered by the University for their on-campus activities, RSOs and their individual members are not covered for liabilities arising from their off-campus activities by any University General Liability insurance. The University recommends that RSOs consider purchasing their own General Liability insurance coverage for their off-campus activities. While the University cannot provide this coverage, other insurance agents may be able to provide coverage for your organization.
See "International Travel" section.
Where necessary, RSOs shall be responsible for independently securing necessary liability insurance coverage to conduct activities using University facilities that are excluded from the General Liability insurance program provided by the University. The TULIP program is available as an option to cover some excluded activities (generally excepting athletic-oriented activities). Additionally, RSOs are encouraged to pursue Property, Automobile Liability workers compensation, Directors and Officers, Special Event and/or Fidelity and Crime insurance coverage; as appropriate.
Student Unions & Activities shall provide educational support addressing risk management and insurance issues and shall provide current information regarding insurance coverage options in conjunction with annual registration.  However Student Unions & Activities shall not enter into contracts with or on behalf of independent student groups.
All parties involved in the joint sponsorship or co-sponsorship of an excluded activity using University facilities each shall be required to meet all insurance requirements. Co-sponsorship of an excluded activity using University facilities with a University Campus Life Program or other University entity shall not exempt student groups from insurance requirements for that activity. For purposes of determining insurance requirements, joint, co-sponsorship and sponsorship shall be defined as logistical involvement by the student group in the planning and coordination of the activity.
Student groups arrange many programs each year that require travel. Please note that the group is responsible, and can be held liable, for all members traveling as part of a group activity. For this reason it is important to consider many different aspects of travel. The following areas are important to consider.
Student Group Vehicle Rental/Use for Registered Student Organizations:
Student Group Vehicle Rental/Use for Campus Life Programs:
Campus Life Programs can use third party vendors for transportation needs and are allowed to rent vehicles from University Fleet Services. Vehicles can be used and expenses for use will be charged to the groups EFS number. When using a third party vendor, the group will need to work through their sponsoring department if a certificate of insurance is required, and any drivers may also need to maintain personal insurance.
Campus Life Programs are governed by the University’s policy on Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety. The policy requires all students to register travel with the University, sign an electronic release and waiver, obtain mandated international travel, health and and security insurance, provide 24/7 emergency contacts and complete the online health and safety orientation.
If the travel involves undergraduate students AND a University unit is organizing or promoting the travel, the policy requires that the group work through an education abroad office. Please visit the Learning Abroad Center Student Groups website for additional information on the policy requirements.
CLPs will also need approval from the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) if they are planning to visit countries under a U.S. Department of State travel warning.
Registered Student Organizations have no direct relationship with the University and therefore, international travel by an RSO is not considered University-purpose and is not governed by the University’s policy on Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety. However, it is strongly recommended that students obtain adequate insurance for all personal international travel.
Please note that while Registered Student Organizations, as the group itself, aren’t governed by the University’s policy on Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety, any individual student(s) on a RSO trip or program that is receiving University funding or credit are governed by the policy. If a University unit is organizing or promoting the travel, the travel is also governed by the policy. Please contact Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance) for assistance.
Student groups are encouraged to consider participating in programs abroad; however, careful planning is required to minimize health and safety risks. Before you begin planning a program abroad for a student group, please review the Learning Abroad Center’s recommendations for best practices regarding safe travel and program planning.
Please note that international travel refers to travel to any country (including Mexico and Canada) or territory (including non-contiguous U.S. locations of American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island) outside the continental U.S., Alaska or Hawaii.
Student Group Vehicle Rental/Use
Per the University policy on Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety, students are not permitted to drive motor vehicles (including but not limited to scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles and cars) while traveling for University-purpose, which includes all international travel by Campus Life Programs. Faculty and staff may not drive vehicles in which students are passengers abroad without an approved exception from the Office of Risk Management in advance of departure from the U.S. Students must either use public transportation or hire a local driver/vehicle when abroad.
Student Organizations must comply with University of Minnesota policy as well as adhering to federal, state and local laws when involved in student group activities domestically or abroad.
Student organizations who want to plan, organize, promote, or participate in health-related activities must have the appropriate level of supervision and general and professional liability to protect student participants. Health-related activities include, but are not limited to:
Registered Student Organizations may not plan, organize, promote or host health-related events where health related activities (including, but not limited to those listed above) are performed by students. Students enrolled in a health profession college, program or school must be part of a recognized Campus Life Program with appropriate oversight from a department and a faculty advisor if they are involved in any health related activities.
For student organizations serving AHC health profession students contact: Brian Sick, MD in the AHC Office of Education at email@example.com.
For student organizations serving undergraduate students please contact Tricia Todd, MPH in the Pre-Health Student Resource Center.
Student group sponsored events taking place in a large campus venue or outdoor space that will draw a significant amount of the campus population, a large off-campus crowd, or represents a significant security concern (i.e. public figure, celebrity, etc.) will need to review plans through Student Activities, and potential prior approval by the Large Scale Events committee before a venue can be secured. Events may include, but are not limited to; concerts, lectures, public appearances, performances and rallies.
In meeting with Student Activities, student groups must produce a completed Large Scale Event Proposal. Student groups will be asked to provide documentation of financial commitment to the event as part of their proposal. Upon completion of the Large Scale Event Proposal, Student Activities will work with campus partners to determine feasibility of hosting the event on campus, and may ask for the student group to attend a meeting of the Large Scale Events Committee.
It should be noted by groups hoping to host such an event that this process includes a significant amount of investment on the group’s part. This should be considered before entering into any agreements with; sponsors, venders, artists or performers, as it will need to be completed in its entirety before an event can be confirmed and space reservations held. Student Activities encourages groups not to enter into any written agreements until they have received approval to host the event from the Large Scale Events Committee. More information about planning events can be found here.
Student groups are responsible for knowing and following University policies and procedures, as well as following event approval timelines and permit/application deadlines. Applications and permit deadlines vary. It can take the full approval timeline for a permit to be approved, so please plan accordingly for your preferred submission timeline.
Serving food during meetings or events: depending on the type of food you are serving, you will need to submit a Pizza Agreement form, a Potluck Agreement form, or a University Food Permit application. Forms are due a minimum of ten business days (two weeks) in advance of event date.
Fundraisers and Sales: please see Fundraising and Sales for student group policies and applications related to fundraisers and sales during events. This includes the Student Group Sales and/or Fundraising Permit application and Bake Sale Agreement. Applications are due a minimum of ten business days (two weeks) in advance of event date.
Requesting to serve alcohol at an event: If your group is interested in applying to have alcohol present at your event, you need to submit the Alcohol Use Application for registered student groups. Completed application is due a minimum of fifteen business days (three weeks) in advance of event date.
Public Performance of Films and Video Games: In order to screen a film, you must submit a Public Performance Application and attach a copy of your approved public performance license agreement. Public performance agreements are also needed if you want to play video games in a public venue. Please see Use of Copyrighted Works for more information.
General Liability Insurance Coverage for on-campus events: please see Student Group Insurance
Concerts or Dances: If your group would like to hold a dance or concert, contact Student Activities immediately to discuss your event plans, additional fees for security, and event policies. You must contact Student Activities at least one month in advance of your proposed event date.
View the Literature Distribution Policy.
View the Chalking Policy.
Hanging signs or posters on campus is one of the most popular ways to get the message out. The University allows posting for student groups in approved locations. Any posting that is not displayed in an approved location may be removed. Any damages to buildings incurred due to inappropriate posting will be assessed to the student group and its officers. Academic buildings and off-campus businesses have different policies on posting. Make sure you ask for permission and get specific procedures at each building. We recommend dividing campus locations and businesses so that your members don’t all poster in the same areas. We also recommend keeping a list of the locations and businesses that allow you to poster for future use.
The Student Unions and Residence Halls both have an approval process for poster/flyer distribution highlighted below:
The approval process for posting information for Residence Halls can be reviewed on the Housing and Residential Life website.
There are specific policies and procedures for the distribution of handouts, indoor postings, outdoor postings, chalking and placing publication bins and racks on campus. Student groups are responsible for knowing and adhering to these policies. See the specific policy under Distributing Publications and Installing Banners at the University.
Chalking on campus is limited to recognized student groups, University of Minnesota departments, faculty members, staff members and any registered U of M student. Chalking must comply with the University Administration Chalking Policy. Facilities management reserves the right to clean and remove any chalking, which does not comply with this policy.
In accordance with outdoor space policies, during winter months, groups are not permitted to decorate or deliberately discolor the snow. Groups must remove any discolored snow after an event. If the area is not returned to original condition, the organizing group will be financially liable for clean-up costs.
Federal law grants holders of copyright several valuable rights. They have the exclusive right to reproduce a copyrighted work, to distribute it, to prepare derivative works based on it, and to publicly display it. An especially valuable right is the exclusive right to publicly perform the work. Under this right, only the holder or a person granted permission by the holder may “recite, render, play, dance or act” the work, may show images sequentially from a video of it, or play audio from it “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §101. In most instances, showing a film, playing a video game or broadcasting music in the Student Unions or at other campus venues, is public performance.
Registered student groups, students and other members of the University community are expected to know what is permitted or not under copyright law, to respect the rights of copyright holders, and to exercise their rights, including their right of fair use, in compliance with laws, University policies and any binding agreements. (Copyright Basics, a publication of the U.S. Copyright Office summarizes the principles of federal copyright law and is available. You are encouraged to review this and other publications of the U.S Copyright Office to better understand American copyright law).
Student Unions and Activities (SUA) advisors and employees may recommend a course of action but users of copyrighted works ultimately bear the responsibility for complying with the law and any permissions, licenses or other agreements granting a right to use a work. Violation of a holder’s rights in a copyrighted work is serious. A federal court may award statutory or other damages, fines, and in certain instances, imprisonment or any combination of the above.
The University may require the presentation of proof that permission to use a copyrighted work, as planned, had been obtained. The University reserves the right to bar the showing of a film, playing of music or other use of a copyrighted work if there are reasonable concerns that the showing, playing or use likely violates the rights of the holder of the copyright.
While each use of a copyrighted work raises unique questions and concerns about the need to obtain permission from the holder of the copyright, in the following situations permission very likely needs to be obtained:
Student Unions & Activities is responsible for holding groups accountable to student group and University policies, the Student Conduct Code (including hazing), and their own established procedures outlined in the group constitution or related materials. If it is believed that a student group has violated a policy, the group’s internal procedures, or otherwise acted unethically, any individual may submit an Incident Report Form to report the policy or procedure violation to Student Unions & Activities.
If it is believed that a student group has violated a policy, violated the group’s internal procedures, or otherwise acted inappropriately, any individual may submit an Incident Report Form to report the alleged violation to SUA.
Please visit this link to find the full Student Group Conduct Code Procedure.
Questions on allegations of student group conduct violations can be directed to Student Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-626-6919.