G.1 Recognition of Student Organizations

Student organizations provide opportunities for students and other members of the university community to explore their academic, professional, political, social, recreational, artistic, cultural, spiritual or community service interests. In addition, student organizations provide a laboratory for the development of interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills in the members and officers. Such organizations exist to promote the educational mission of the university.

The existence of student organizations at the university is sanctioned by the Board of Trustees. The responsibility for recognition of student organizations falls within the Division of Student Affairs. Recognized student organizations are offered privileges, provided the organizations accept certain responsibilities. All student organizations must complete the recognition paperwork on the Student Organization Website on an annual basis in order to maintain the most up-to-date records. In addition, national, regional and local social greek-letter organizations are recognized through the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development (Tutor Campus Center 330, (213) 740-1195) which may require further paperwork. All other student organizations are recognized through the Office of Campus Activities (Steven and Kathryn Sample Hall 410, (213) 740-5693.

The Board of Trustees has ultimate authority over student organizations and can, from time to time, direct the Division of Student Affairs on matters regarding student organizations.

I. Privileges

All recognized student organizations may:

  1. Post notices on campus, within the posting policy.
  2. Receive and post messages on the student organization electronic mailing list.
  3. Post on the Trojan Information Kiosk.
  4. Use a campus mailing address and/or mailbox.
  5. Reserve campus facilities for events, programs and meetings.
  6. Apply for university funding (including student program fee monies).
  7. Conduct fundraising efforts within the stated Sales and Fundraising Policies of the university (see here). Student organizations (or individual members while acting in any capacity for the organization) may not: (a) conduct for-profit or commercial activities (or facilitate the for-profit or commercial activities of others), (b) conduct a business (or facilitate conducting the business of others), or (c) act as (or create the appearance of acting as) a liaison, representative, agent, facilitator, face or front for another business, person or entity. All recognized student organizations are permitted to fundraise on their own behalf. However, student organizations may only fundraise or pursue activities to benefit their organization, another student organization or an outside philanthropic agency or relief effort. No individual student(s) may receive any type of payment either in the form of money, discounts and/or goods and services.
  8. Receive a discount on selected facility and equipment rentals.
  9. Access organizational email and Web accounts (the university will place the following disclaimer at the bottom of each organization’s Website: USC does not control the content herein and takes no responsibility for any inaccurate, indecent or objectionable content, which is the sole responsibility of the student author). Students may not remove or otherwise take steps to defeat this disclaimer. Any attempt to do so will be cause for disciplinary action.
  10. Access banking services at the USC Credit Union and/or Campus Activities.
  11. Use the name, logo or other trademarks of the university, while making clear to a reasonable person not from the campus that the organization is a student organization at the university and not the university itself. Use of the name, logo or other trademarks must be consistent with the USC Graphic Identity Program, including those specified in the Sales and Fund-raising Policies (see here).

II. Responsibilities

In return, the university expects all student organizations to:

  1. Abide by all university policies, regulations and procedures as defined in SCampus and elsewhere, all state laws, and any applicable governing regulations associated with a national affiliation;
  2. Limit its participation to students, faculty, staff, alumni and alumnae of the university;
  3. Limit its voting members and officers to currently enrolled USC students;
  4. Refrain from discriminating in membership decisions, elections and all other matters on the basis of race, creed or religion, sex*, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition and national origin. A statement to this effect should appear in the constitution of all recognized organizations.

*Except those exempted from Title IX compliance.

III. Recognition Process

Recognition status runs for one academic year (August 1-July 31) regardless of when an application is approved. All organizations seeking renewal of recognition must complete the Student Organization Application form and adviser form available online at usc.edu/stuorgs by a specified deadline each semester (see Website for complete details).

Organizations that do not complete the recognition renewal process by the specified time will lose all privileges. New organizations may become recognized at any time during the fall or spring semesters by completing the Student Organization Application form, completing an adviser form, submitting the organization’s constitution and membership roster, and attending a mandatory meeting with the Office of Campus Activities.

The name, telephone number and email of the first person listed on the application will be made available to members of the USC community. This student will also receive official communications from the Office of Campus Activities and is expected to share any pertinent information with their organization. Only the organization’s email and Website will be listed on the student organization Website.

Recognized groups are required to provide a statement of purpose, a constitution officially ratified by the membership, names and contact information of four officers or other contact persons and the signature of an adviser from the university faculty or staff (Peer Leadership Consultants will assist in recruiting an adviser if needed). In addition, all student organizations must submit a roster and attend a mandatory meeting once each academic year prior to receiving their recognition.

Religious organizations seeking recognition must complete the guidelines outlined on the Office of Religious Life website prior to receiving university recognition.

Where university policies or regulations conflict with student organization constitutions or bylaws, the university policies or regulations will take precedence. Student organizations may be affiliated with other off-campus organizations. If this is the case, the student organization must submit a copy of the constitution, articles of incorporation or other governance document of the external organization for university approval. Again, where conflicts arise, university policies and regulations supersede those of the external organization.

Through this recognition process, the university accepts no financial, tort or other liability for the action of the student organization or its members. Recognition of a student organization may be withdrawn by the organization itself, by the Office of Campus Activities or following a recommendation of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, for any violation of university regulations and policies governing students, student organizations or their actions.

IV. Unrecognized Organizations

Any student who knowingly chooses to affiliate with a club, organization or group that has been suspended, disbanded or dissolved by the university, or any external authority, is subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion from the university.

Revised March 2015.