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General Policies for All Organizations

The university expects members of organizations to follow the policies and procedures of Cornell University, and to be familiar with the Policy Notebook distributed by the Office of the Dean of Students. For more information on Cornell University policies, go to http://www.policy.cornell.edu/PolicyHome.cfm.

Statement on Hazing

Cornell University prohibits any organization from engaging in any action or situation which endangers mental or physical health, or involves the consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization. See Campus Code of Conduct and Section 6450 of the Education Law of the State of New York. Pursuant to Section 6450 of the Education Law of the State of New York, the above statement shall be deemed to be part of the by-laws of all organizations registered at Cornell University. The organization agrees that if it engages in conduct in violation of such statement, the nature of the conduct and any sanctions imposed may be reported publicly.

From Cornell University's Campus Code of Conduct (Article II.A.1.f)):

"To haze another person, regardless of the person's consent to participate. Hazing means an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group or organization, (1) could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment, (2) destroys or removes public or private property, (3) involves the consumption of alcohol or drugs, or the consumption of other substances to excess, or (4) violates any University policy."

Individuals found in violation may be subject to the following sanctions: 

  • Oral warning 
  • Written reprimand  
  • Appropriate educational tools (such as reflection papers, counseling, letters of apology, and directed study)  
  • Sanctions payable in full or in part by community work performed in a manner acceptable to the judicial administrator. 
  • Community work
  • Probation  
  • Suspension  
  • Dismiss Fraternity and Sorority Judicial Code

For more information on hazing, including regulations and alternative practices, visit www.hazing.cornell.edu.

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Membership

Membership in registered student organizations must be open to all persons without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, citizenship, or handicap. Title IX of the Federal Educational Amendment of 1972 exempts fraternities and sororities from the requirement that membership in their groups be open to all persons regardless of gender. Note that fraternities and sororities must register with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and are not eligible to register with the Student Activities Office.

  • All members must be from the Cornell community (currently registered students, and/or full- and part-time faculty and staff members) and include some student representation.
  • Members may disassociate from an organization at any time.
  • Non-Cornell community members will be considered as volunteers with organizations. They may avail themselves of the student club insurance by declaring themselves and paying the appropriate fee.
  • Officers and/or Executive Board Members must all be currently enrolled students at Cornell University (Ithaca campus).
  • Participation is voluntary.

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Constitution and Bylaws

The constitution is the basic framework of any organization. It should include the purpose, requirements for membership, officer duties and selection, decision-making principles, and other general operating principles. Specific organization rules and detailed procedures belong in the bylaws. Simplicity and flexibility are the keys to a good constitution. When writing or revising the constitution, keep in mind both the organization’s immediate needs and its future goals.

Once the constitution and bylaws are developed, it is important to review them regularly. The needs and goals of the organization will shift over time, and it is important that the constitution and bylaws reflect the current state of the organization.

Information about constitutions and bylaws are available on-line here.

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Violation of Policies and Disciplinary Action

Organizations alleged to be in violation of the Campus Code of Conduct will be referred to the Judicial Administrator. Organizations found to be in violation of the Campus Code of Conduct may receive one or more of the following:

  • a written reprimand
  • a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $500
  • restriction of privileges for a period not to exceed one year
  • suspension of privileges for a period not to exceed one year
  • recision of permission to operate on university property.

Please refer to the Policy Notebook for additional information on the Campus Code of Conduct and registered organizations.

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Not-for-Profit Status

Organizations shall be not-for-profit in nature and individual members may not benefit financially from the organization’s activities.

Organization Development

Both new and long-established Cornell organizations should continuously monitor membership development and activity planning.

The SAO offers workshops for organizations and event planners as needed. Subject areas include: event planning, risk management at events, contract negotiation, and leadership development and/or transition. We can also plan workshops based on your organization’s individual needs. Please call us at 255-4169 to arrange a workshop for your organization.

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Willard Straight Hall—The University Union

One of the oldest university unions in the country and the center for student life on campus, Willard Straight Hall (WSH) was built in 1925 in memory of an exceptional Cornell alumnus, Willard Dickerman Straight. Its cathedral ceilings, oak paneling, murals, and chandeliers have been admired by generations of Cornellians. More than 10,000 people pass through its doors daily to take advantage of its many services and activities.

At the Straight you will find:

  • the Office of the Dean of Students, including Student Activities, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and Student Support and Diversity Education.
  • meeting and activity rooms—available at no charge to registered student organizations
  • organization offices
  • The Memorial Room and Ivy Terrace
  • The Browsing Library
  • The International Lounge
  • A Music Room
  • The Art Gallery—featuring works by students, staff, and local artists and can be booked for a meeting space or sale location
  • Cascadeli, a New York–style deli
  • the Ivy Room, for à la carte dining
  • Okenshield’s, for co-op dining
  • An overnight guest room
  • The Straight Welcome Desk and Resource Center, that sells event tickets for student organizations, movie tickets, bus passes, and Cornell Daily Sun ads
  • Student Marketing and Promotions
  • The Cornell Cinema theatre and staff offices
  • ATMs

For general information on events and services at the Straight, stop by (4th floor of WSH), or call The Straight Welcome Desk and Resource Center at 255-3450. For room reservations, call 255-3513 or stop by 525 WSH. Requests are made using the R25 System located at http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Sched/R25.  WSH Desk e-mail, wshinfodesk@cornell.edu; Ticket Office e-mail, wshticketoffice@cornell.edu.

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For more information, contact the Student Activities Office at (607) 255-4169, or email activities@cornell.edu.