Policy Number: 16-003

Registered Student Organization Classification and Officer Eligibility

Category: Student Life

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Student Life

1.    Policy Statement

1.1.    The purpose of this policy is to provide regulations regarding the Classification and Officer Eligibility for Registered Student Organizations at the University of Florida.
1.2.    Registration of student organizations is administered by the Vice President for Student Life or their designee(s), who is authorized to develop policies governing registered student organizations. 
1.3.    The Division of Student Life designates the Department of Student Activities and Involvement (“SAI”) to administer student organization registration and conduct officer eligibility checks on the required designated student leaders of each organization. 
1.4.    The University of Florida (“University”) seeks to clearly define and classify registered student organizations into distinct categories based on their relationship to the University, degree of University oversight, and access to University resources. In doing so, the University improves the experiential learning landscape, increases efficiency of services, and ensures appropriate resources, programs, and benefits are distributed to registered student organizations in accordance with state, local and federal law and University policies. 
1.5.    The University’s practice of registering student organizations is not an actual or constructive endorsement of any of registered student groups statements, ideas, or activities.

2.    Applicability

2.1.    This policy applies to all University colleges, divisions, departments, units, students, student organizations, volunteers and employees. 
2.2.    All student organizations are subject to the regulations and policies of the University, including but not limited to, UF Regulations UF-4.040 and UF-4.041, concerning the Student Code of Conduct and the Student Honor Code.  

3.    Definitions

Registered Student Organization (“RSO”): a voluntary group of students joined together by interest, cause or mission that is registered with the Department of Student Activities and Involvement (“SAI”). RSOs must meet SAI criteria and requirements to remain active and may receive RSO benefits and campus privileges when in good standing.

Student: Any person currently admitted, enrolled, or registered for any University Program, regardless of the medium of the program, or degree-seeking status, or when not enrolled or registered for a particular Semester, who is eligible to enroll in future terms without seeking readmission.

Volunteer: A volunteer is any person who, of their own free will, provides services to the University with no monetary or material compensation, on a continuous, occasional, or one-time basis.

4.    Policy Specifics for RSO Classification

4.1.    Active RSOs are classified into two distinct types based on their relationship to the university: GENERAL REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS or UNIVERSITY SPONSORED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS.

4.2.    General Registered Student Organizations (“GRSOs”):  

4.2.1.    Relationship to the University:
GRSOs are independent third parties, with no legal affiliation to the University and any of its entities. As such, neither its statements, its ideas, nor its activities are endorsed by the University of Florida.
4.2.2.    Mission/Purpose:
GRSOs’ mission and purpose are established by and fulfilled solely through its student leadership and membership.
4.2.3.    Access/Limitations to Resources:    University General Liability & Workers Compensation Insurance: Neither the GRSOs nor its members are eligible for coverage under the University’s general liability or workers’ compensation insurance.    Tax-exemption: GRSOs are not eligible for University tax-exemption status.    University Marketing and Trademarks: GRSOs may not use any University or University of Florida Athletic Association (“UAA”) trademarks, logos, and likeness without the express written permission of the University’s Strategic Communication & Marketing Office. 

4.2.4.    Active General RSOs are eligible to receive the following benefits:    Regular use of the University facilities as a Primary User per the UF Use of University Space Policy    Participation in SAI Student Organization Fairs and other SAI sponsored activities    Recognition at the annual SAI Involvement Awards    Access to SAI advising, staff, and resources    Leadership training by SAI    Ability to apply for office, locker, or mailbox space in the Reitz Union pursuant to appropriate policies and criteria
Success in gaining access to such resources is subject to availability and adherence to the application requirements.    Ability to request funds from Student Government (“SG”), pursuant to appropriate SG policies and criteria
Success in gaining access to such resources is subject to availability and adherence to the application requirements.    Ability to apply for a Catering Scholarship for events through GatorConnect permitting
Success in gaining access to such resources is subject to availability and adherence to the application requirements.

4.2.5.    GRSOs may not solicit and/or receive University benefits that may be considered exclusive (i.e., monetary support, favor, access, special privileges not otherwise available to all RSOs, etc.,) to support their activities, events, and/or organizational business.

4.3.    University Sponsored Student Organization (“USSOs”): 

4.3.1.    Relationship to the University 
USSOs are extensions of the University that serve the University’s mission. 
4.3.2.    Mission/Purpose    USSOs’ mission and purpose are established by the University (or University unit) and the USSOs operate within the scope and function of a University unit. As such, its functions are governed by and under the jurisdiction of internal University policies, standards, and business practices.    Decisions on the USSO’s operations and maintenance of its policies and membership are exclusive to the University unit affiliated with the USSO and the unit’s personnel.    The University may utilize USSO’s members as University volunteers when needed to provide a service to the University under certain circumstances described below.

4.3.3.    Access/Limitations University Resources:    University General Liability & Workers Compensation Insurance: When operating on behalf of the University unit, USSO members may be designated as volunteers. Please see the UF HR Volunteers Policy for more details.    Tax Exemption: USSOs may be eligible for University’s tax-exemption status for purchases connected to University business.    Use of University Trademarks and Logos: USSOs may not utilize University of Florida or UAA trademarks, logos, and likeness without the express permission of the University’s Strategic Communication & Marketing Office. USSOs wishing to use their University unit’s branding should consult with their assigned advisor for assistance in getting proper approval.

4.3.4.    Active USSOs are eligible for the following benefits:    Regular use of University facilities as a Primary User per the UF Use of University Space Policy    Participation in Student Organization Fairs and other SAI sponsored activities    Recognition at the annual Involvement Awards    Access to SAI staff and resources    Leadership training by SAI    Access to UF unit branding and marketing materials    Tax exemption for goods and services purchased for University business    Liability protection through the University’s insurance when serving as a University volunteer.    Advice for the University unit and USSO on negotiating with vendor agreement and/or entertainment agreements  

4.3.5.    USSOs are not eligible for resources allocated as a part of the SG allocation process for student organizations.

4.4.    RSO Misrepresentation of their Relationship to the University

4.4.1.    RSOs are not permitted to represent themselves as being part of the University unless students are operating as University volunteers in function to the University’s mission as expressly approved by a University unit (see UF HR Volunteers Policy here). 
4.4.2.    RSOs may not use any of the University’s name, brands, marketing, logos, and trademarks, tax exemption and/or insurance without oversight and expressed approval by appropriate University officials.
4.4.3.    RSOs are not permitted to enter legal and/or financially binding agreements on behalf of the University of Florida.

4.5.    Classification Criteria

4.5.1.    If one or more of the following circumstances exist between an RSO and a University unit/program, the RSO will be classified as USSO:    The RSO has a direct affiliation to a University unit/program.    The RSO’s mission, purpose, functions, and membership are formally adopted by a University unit/program.    The RSO is provided one or more exclusive benefits (not otherwise available to other RSOs) by a University sponsoring unit/program.

Exclusive benefits may include, but are not limited to, funds, space reservations privileges, storage, access, services, permissions, favor, physical and/or virtual “real-estate,” etc.    The RSO and its members regularly represent a University unit at internal and/or external activities.    The RSO is approved to utilize a University unit’s marketing services, permissions, and/or advertising “real estate” that would otherwise be unavailable to other RSOs.    Criteria and/or selection methods for the RSO’s officers or members are directed by a University unit.    Direction of the RSO is assigned to or a component of a University employee’s job description and/or expectations.    The RSO’s training and development opportunities are coordinated or directly determined by a University unit.    Should the University unit the organization is affiliated with cease to exist, the RSO’s mission, purpose, or function could not be fulfilled.    The University considers the RSO essential to the operations of the University mission.

4.5.2.    Classifications cannot be altered without explicit approval from SAI, the sponsoring University unit/program and confirmation of the RSO. 
4.5.3.    Should an RSO or a sponsoring University unit/program desire to alter or end its relationship, all parties must meet with the SAI professional staff, alter its relationship formally, and participate in a new registration process. 

5.    Review and Adjudication for RSO Classification

5.1.    SAI is authorized to classify an RSO as a GRSO or a USSO.
5.2.    An RSO’s classification may be re-evaluated at any time if SAI has any reason to believe that the current classification is inaccurate, including information that the relationship between an RSO and the University or a University unit has changed. 
5.3.    RSOs are prohibited from misrepresenting, withholding, or falsifying information that may alter and/or change their classification status or misuse University resources.
5.4.    The Director for Campus Engagement or their designee shall have final determination of an organization’s classification.
5.5.    A list of active RSOs and their classification shall be available via the student organization database. 

6.    Policy Specifics for RSO Officer Eligibility

6.1.    Registered Student Organization Member and Officer Requirements

6.1.1.    Only a University of Florida Student may join a University RSO, subject to all applicable University regulations, policies, and procedures. 
6.1.2.    UF Students that do not pay Activities and Service fees are eligible to participate in RSOs.
6.1.3.    RSOs are required to have a president, vice president, and treasurer as designated officer positions. Only one student may hold any designated officer position at one time for the same organization.

6.2.    Officer Eligibility Requirements

6.2.1.    To hold a designated officer position (president, vice president, or treasurer) in an RSO, a Student must:    Be an enrolled, degree-seeking University student as defined by the Registrar during their term.    Meet requirements for full-time registration and academic standing as follows:    Undergraduate Students must be registered for a minimum of twelve (12) credits in the Fall and Spring semesters, have a minimum of 2.5 cumulative grade point average, and cannot be on academic warning or academic probation during their term.    Graduate and professional Students must meet the requirements for full-time status for the graduate professional program in which they are enrolled, or be registered for nine (9) credits if appointed to a one-third or half-time graduate assistantship, have a minimum of 3.0 cumulative grade point average, or at least the minimum grade point average required to remain in good standing with the graduate or professional program in which they are enrolled, and otherwise be in good academic standing.    Postgraduate Students must be enrolled for at least twelve (12) credits and may not serve more than one semester while in postgraduate status.    Have no delinquent obligation for fees or other late or delinquent debts owed to the University.    Remain in good standing with the University throughout the duration of the elected term.    Meet any additional requirements, including enrollment and academic standing requirements as established by the Vice President for Student Life or their designee(s).

6.2.2.    Notwithstanding subsection, the credit hour or GPA requirements to hold a designated officer position during a specific term may be waived and/or adjusted for the following circumstances:    Innovation Academy Students taking less than twelve (12) credit hours during their Fall term;    Registered Students of the Disability Resource Center who have been approved for an accommodation of a reduced course load;    Students during their graduating term who are enrolled for three (3) or more credits, but less than twelve (12) credits;    Students with a 0.00 cumulative GPA average due to programs’ pass/fail grading scale and/or first academic semester at the University; and    Students who are approved by the University to enroll in another accredited college or university due to limited course offering or course capacity by a university academic advisor; credits must count to full-time status and Student must present documentation from the academic department demonstrating that course required was either not offered at the University of Florida in the current semester or is full during the semester.

6.2.3.    Flexible learning courses will not be considered for subsection 6.2.2. above. 
6.2.4.    RSOs are required to maintain active and up-to-date records and contact information of their designated officer positions on GatorConnect, the University’s student organization database, throughout the academic year. [See Updating Student Organization Officer Lists below for more details] 6.2.5.    RSOs may apply these or any higher officer eligibility requirements they may adopt to any additional officer positions they may create, in addition to their required and designated officer positions (subject to all applicable University regulations, policies, and procedures).

7.    Review and Adjudication for RSO Officer Eligibility

7.1.    Administration

7.1.1.    The Officer Eligibility Appeals Committee (“Appeals Committee”) administers the review and final decisions of the Officer Eligibility Appeals Process. The Appeals Committee is chaired by the Director of Campus Engagement, or their designee, and consists of one (1) staff member from the Dean of Students Office, one (1) staff member of SAI, an academic advisor, and two UF students appointed by the Student Body President. Additional members may be appointed, per the discretion of the chair.   
7.1.2.    Officer Eligibility checks and the coordination of the appeals process described herein shall be conducted each Fall and Spring semester.

7.2.    Officer Self-Reporting Requirements

7.2.1.    If a required designated officer of an RSO determines, at any time, that they are not meeting the Officer Eligibility Requirements, they must self-disclose this information to SAI immediately.
7.2.2.    Officers who do not meet officer eligibility requirements may exercise one of the two (2) options in subsection 7.3.2.

7.3.    Eligibility Check Process:

7.3.1.    SAI staff shall generate a report of currently listed presidents, vice presidents, and treasurers of RSOs at the close of Fall and Spring registration cycles and run eligibility checks to determine if those individuals meet the Officer Eligibility Requirements described in subsection above. Other Division of Student Life offices may assist with the processing of such information. 
7.3.2.    The required designated officers that do not meet the officer eligibility requirements following an eligibility check shall be notified of their ineligibility via their primary UFL email address with the reason for ineligibility based on subsection 6.2.1. and instructions to relinquish their office or appeal:    Relinquishing an Officer Position
The required designated officers who choose not to appeal the officer ineligibility determination must relinquish their position immediately. Failure to do so will result in the RSO status changing from active to inactive and the RSO will be required to re-register in the next registration cycle.    Instructions on how to relinquish their position will be provided in the notification of officer ineligibility.    Students are not required to disclose to their RSOs the reason(s) they are relinquishing their officer position.    Unless precluded by other regulations, policies, student sanctions, or the RSO’s SAI approved constitution, ineligible officers may continue to participate in the RSO in other capacities other than the required designated officer positions.    In situations where a Student must relinquish their officer role and fails to do so, SAI may remove them from the roll and notify the RSO’s advisor and/or the next highest ranking student officer that the position has been relinquished; the vacancy must be filled and updated on GatorConnect in accordance with the RSO’s approved constitution within the designated timeframe in the notice.    Failure to do so will result in the RSO status change from active to inactive and the RSO will be required to re-register in the next registration cycle.    Appeal    Appeal Application    Officers who are notified that they have been deemed ineligible to hold their required designated officer position(s) may submit an appeal within ten (10) business days of the email notification or as stipulated in their notice letter; Students who fail to take any action within ten (10) business days will be deemed to have relinquished their positions and SAI will follow procedures set forth in subsection    Each appeal form must be fully and accurately completed to be considered by the Appeals Committee.    Appealing Students may submit any relevant supporting documentation, such as letters of support, university documents/forms, transcripts, etc., within their appeal form to demonstrate or support circumstances described in their appeal to the Appeals Committee.    University staff and faculty must follow all appeal form instructions and include their full name, appropriate contact number, and UFL email when submitting support documentation on behalf of appealing Students.    Students must file an appeal in each semester they are found ineligible.    Appeal Decisions    SAI will appoint an Appeals Committee that will review all submitted appeals. Students must file their appeal in accordance with the instructions provided in their ineligibility notice.    Appeal decisions will be sent to the UFL email of the Student that submitted the appeal application.    Denied Appeals. If an appeal is denied, the student must relinquish their role immediately and the RSO must update their student organization officer listing described in subsection    Approved Appeals. If an appeal is approved, the student may maintain their officer position for that semester (subject to all applicable University regulations, policies, and procedures).    All appeal decisions are final.    Appeal decisions only apply to the semesters in which they were issued.

8.    Policy Violations

8.1.    The following actions may be taken against students, student organizations and/or University employees that fail to comply with this policy or with any other University regulation or policy include but are not limited to:

8.1.1.    Removal from student organization role and rolls
8.1.2.    Suspension or restriction of student and/or organizational access to university benefits and/or resources (See list of benefits for being a RSO here)
8.1.3.    Denial and/or deactivation of registered student organization status (even if the organization was approved)
8.1.4.    Adjustment of classification status of the organization
8.1.5.    Referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for potential action under Student Conduct Code 
8.1.6.    Referral to appropriate department head and/or UF Human Resources for any additional training and/or disciplinary action
8.1.7.    Official written warning or reprimand

8.2.    The university may impose additional measures depending on the circumstances and nature of the violation.

9.    Questions

Questions about this policy or reports of suspected violations should be directed to:

Department of Student Activities and Involvement

Homepage – Student Involvement

SAI@ufsa.ufl.edu (for general questions) or SAIorganizations@ufsa.ufl.edu (for specific reports)


Date Description
June 27, 2022 Policy Adopted
August 6, 2022 Substantive Revision
January 17, 2023 Substantive Revision