Student Organization Policies

Introduction

Communications | Hazing | Contracts | Event Planning | Vehicle Use

The EQB Guide for Living in Community outlines our community expectations, policies, disciplinary process, and notices for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students, faculty, and staff voluntarily enter into membership in the University community and, in so doing, assume obligations of performance and behavior reasonably expected by that community for the purpose of furthering its mission, vision, processes, and functions. Students accept the expectations and policies set forth in this code and other university rules, regulations, and policies when they are admitted to the University (see “Scope” under “Conduct Process”).

Student as leaders and as members of organizations must also adhere to the same community commitments as individuals and as active participants in student organizations. Our Community Commitments include:

  • Living with Personal Integrity

  • Respecting the Dignity of All

  • Valuing Freedom of Thought and Expression

  • Demonstrating Self Control

  • Developing Trusting Relationships

Any sense of honor requires that each individual living within the community has the responsibility to take action to support the health of the greater community: we all must hold each other to our shared standards of honor.

Beyond the expectations on individuals, The Student Organization Handbook outlines additional policies for student organizations and student leaders.

Communication

Graphic identity: Organizations publicizing events with University graphic identity elements must be consistent with the University’s graphic identity standards.

Trademark: The trademark guidelines also apply to student organization promotional materials and related activities.  Thus, all brochures, posters, publicity materials, etc. related to any student organization event or activity, whether taking place in the U.S. or abroad, must clearly identify the event/activity as being hosted by an officially recognized student organization from the University of the South.

Websites:All student organization are listed at: http://www.sewanee.edu/student-life/student-activities/student-organizations/ and additional information is available for students by using the OrgSync portal.

For external websites, if a student organizations choose to register a domain name outside of sewanee.edu, the University requires that the domain name accurately reflect the officially recognized name of the student organization. Acronyms are acceptable in both internal and external situations.

Ownership of external domain names should reside with the student organization and not with an individual. The University reserves the right to require that any domain name with the word “Sewanee” or the words “University of the South” in it and which causes confusion with other university activities, or is otherwise inappropriate, be assigned back to the University.

Student Publications: A student organization publication must bear a statement on its cover identifying that it is a publication of a student organization.

Hazing Policy

Definition

Hazing is any conduct that subjects another person to humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation, harassment, or endangerment of mental or physical health or safety as a condition of association with a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate and regardless of whether the organization or group is officially recognized. Acts of hazing by groups, individuals, or alumni are prohibited. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts but violations of the hazing policy.

New or prospective members of groups and teams can expect to participate in educational and fun activities that build teamwork and camaraderie among all members of the group. Such activities are intended to create a sense of identity and commitment within a group and are generally acceptable and encouraged. Students should check with staff, advisers, sponsors, and coaches if there is any question about an activity constituting hazing. Groups are subject to the policies and procedures of the recognizing or host department. Hazing cases involving groups and individual students may be conducted as combined cases through the University disciplinary process.

Conditions that Create a Hazing Culture

New members often wish to be accepted, either formally or informally, into any group and will submit to hazing in order to be included. Because of this, consent to be hazed does not excuse hazing. Across the country students have died or been seriously injured as a result of participating in activities to which they have “consented.” The psychological pull to be accepted is so strong that hazing victims cannot be expected to resist hazing, even if the hazing is presented as optional. That this pull can be so coercive should make this need to prohibit this conduct, to any degree, undeniably clear.

1. Any activity that places new members in subservient positions to experienced members creates an unhealthy and unsafe power dynamic in which control has been yielded to the experienced member.

2. New members in any organization may expect to be trained, oriented, or indoctrinated, but membership in any group that puts a new member in a lesser role, unrelated to the original conditions for membership or mission of the group, is inappropriate and unfair to the new members. Any activities of membership should be equally shared among experienced and new members.

Accountability

Hazing is prohibited and any member failing to comply with this policy may be subject to action through the University conduct processes as articulated in the EQB Guide.

Any student or organization found to be involved in hazing activity may face conduct action and be subject to sanctions including but not limited to warning, educational workshops, service, probation, revocation or denial of recognition or registration for a student group or organization, suspension or dismissal/removal from the university.

Individuals who participate in acts of hazing are personally accountable under the EQB Guide and the hazing policy, regardless of the outcome of any related case brought against a student group or organization.

Amnesty

It is in the best interest of this community that students choose to report hazing, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, students who report possible hazing activity and who cooperate as witnesses in an investigation or disciplinary process will not be subject to university sanctions for their own conduct, unless the reporting students' conduct contributed to causing harm.

Anonymous Reporting

Incidents of hazing, in addition to other kinds of reports, can be reported anonymously at: http://www.sewanee.edu/student-life/dean-of-students-office/report-an-incident/

Responsibility

All members of the Sewanee community share the responsibility to challenge and address hazing. At Sewanee, where community members look out and care for one another, any alleged hazing incident should be reported; students can report anonymously or privately. Reporting individuals' names will not be shared with other members of the group. Good faith efforts made by groups and individuals to self-report and stop hazing will be considered mitigating circumstances during conduct processes.

Hazing Prevention

You can help make Sewanee free from hazing by doing the following:

  1. Before joining a group/organization, be certain that you and the organization’s leadership have signed the University’s Hazing Prevention Pledge.

  2. If you think you have been asked to participate in an activity that may be considered hazing, please report the situation by completing the Hazing Report Form; this can be done anonymously.

  3. Step up and take action to help end inappropriate behavior before a bonding activity escalates into hazing activity.

  4. Speak out against hazing by discussing concerns with a group leader, a group adviser, or other Sewanee staff member who can assist.

  5. Contact the Sewanee Police Department (available 24 hours a day) if you encounter activities that put others in physical or psychological harm or discomfort.

How to Identify Hazing

When evaluating if an activity involves hazing, use the following questions as a guide. A negative response to a question may indicate hazing and the activity should be changed if necessary.

  • Is this activity an educational experience?

  • Does the activity uphold and promote the purpose, goals, and values of the group?

  • Will this activity increase respect for the group and current members?

  • Is it an activity new and current members participate in together?

  • Does the activity have value in and of itself?

  • Would you be able to defend the activity in a court of law?

  • Would you be willing to allow family members to witness this activity? The university president? Your professors?

  • Does the activity meet both the spirit and letter of the standards prohibiting hazing?

Examples of Hazing

The Hazing Policy prohibit many activities that may be associated with hazing, such as illegal alcohol use and abuse, vandalism, theft, verbal or physical abuse or threat of harm, sexual harassment, and other forms of harassment. In addition to those activities and conduct expressly prohibited, examples of prohibited individual/group activities that may constitute hazing include but are not limited to the following, examples are listed by severity:

Level I Violations

  • marching in line

  • road trips

  • wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste, and/or inappropriate for the time of year

  • calisthenics

  • lineups

  • pledge/signature books

  • periods of silence

  • standing for a length of time

  • personal servitude

  • activities that would not normally construe hazing but because of time, place, or manner make them inappropriate

Level II Violations

  • sleep deprivation or interruption of consecutive sleep hours

  • expected or forced consumption of food, drink (including alcohol), or other substance

  • acts of humiliation or degradation (including streaking or wearing degrading or humiliating apparel)

  • restrictions on eating or bathing

  • acts that disrupt academic instruction or learning of others

  • interruption or interference of academic commitments

Level III Violations

  • branding

  • paddling in any form

  • compromising (sexual) situations

Complicity in hazing may include:

  • Witnessing hazing taking place as a group member, affiliate or guest

  • Participating in or being present in person or via technology in discussions where hazing is planned

Retaliation

It is a violation of university policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint or perceived to be making a complaint of hazing, or cooperating in an investigation or hearing of alleged hazing. An individual reporting hazing is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not substantiated based on the available evidence. For the purpose of this policy retaliation includes, but is not limited to, behaviors or actions (including on-line activity) which intimidate, threaten, or harass, or result in other adverse actions threatened or taken, or that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment.

Sanctions for retaliation may include, but are not limited to, warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal from the university.

Examples of Retaliation

  • Spreading negative rumors about an individual because the person reported hazing

  • Not allowing a person to participate in usual activities because of a perception the person reported hazing

  • Pressuring a person to not report hazing

  • Threatening a person to make the person drop or not support a complaint

  • Suggesting to or encouraging a person to provide false or misleading information

Policy adapted from Duke University, Washington University, Fraternity Executive Association, the North American Interfraternity Conference, Inc, and Williamette University.)

Contracts

The University’s contract policy applies to all university employees, students, and student organizations who seek to enter into any type of agreement that obligates the university to provide payment, services, goods, or use of university property or facilities to a third party. Contractual agreements governed by this policy include, but are not limited to, consulting services, software licenses, design/engineering/construction contracts, employment agreements, equipment leases, and any other arrangement that obligates university funds to pay for services such as speakers, bands, research projects, etc. The full policy is available at:

https://www.sewanee.edu/media/provost/Contract_Policy.pdf

Planning and Hosting an Event

Organizations are required to adhere to the University’s Social Host Guidelines, which are embedded in the OrgSync registration process. Student organizations must also comply with the the Planning Activities and Events section of this Handbook (see next section.)

Vehicle Use Policy

Students are permitted to use vehicles for their activities according to the University’s vehicle use policy, available at: https://www.sewanee.edu/media/provost/Vehicle-Use-Policy.pdf