Starting and Maintaining a Student Organization

Starting a New Organization

Student organizations can be formed and recognized when Student Engagement Services determines that the group’s purposes are in accord with the stated purposes and policies of the university. A group of students wishing to form an organization must:

  • Complete a Request to Organize form available from on Presence.
    • Note: this process/form is only available from October of the fall semester to February of the spring semester.
  • Receive preliminary approval from Student Engagement Services (undergraduate organizations) OR the Graduate Student Success Team (graduate organizations).  Forming organizations can hold three meetings for recruitment or crafting the constitution;
  • Develop and submit a constitution according to the guidelines in the Model Constitution
  • If applicable, submit letters of support from the appropriate department, individual or council (e.g. Greek organizations, religious or spiritual organizations, club sports, domestic or international service);
  • Obtain approval.
    • For undergraduate student organizations: from the Student Engagement Services and the Student Senate of MUSG;
    • For graduate student organizations: from the Graduate Student Success Team and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Student Development-Grad School;
  • Submit the name of an advisor (recommended and required for certain organizations);
  • Meet with a Student Engagement Services staff member to review organization policies and procedures.

Additional considerations regarding the formation of a recognized student organization include:

  • Proposed groups that have the same or substantially similar purposes as an existing recognized student organization generally will not be recognized;
  • Proposed groups that are formed for commercial purposes or primarily for the financial benefit of an external corporation or organization will not be recognized;
  • Proposed groups that are formed for the purpose of sponsoring a singular campus event generally will not be recognized;
  • Social fraternities or sororities must be affiliated with a national organization; as part of the formation process they must be sponsored by and become affiliated with one of Marquette’s governing councils (Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, or Panhellenic Association) and have completed the appropriate expansion process.
  • There are additional approval requirements for organizations that fall under particular categories (Club Sports, Cultural, Religious/Spiritual, Sorority/Fraternity, Service/Social Awareness.
    • Club Sports organizations must be approved by the Department of Recreational Sports must attend any training required by that office, and must adhere to the polocies and protocols of that office with regard to tournaments, competetions, etc.
    • Regligious/Spiritual organizations must be approved by Campus Ministry and are connected to one another through a religious/spiritual student organization council. In addition to meeting the regular requirements of student organizations on campus, religious/spiritual student organizations also commit to their president regularly meeting with a designated member of the Campus Ministry staff, to attend all religious/spiritual student organization council meetings (about three times per semester), and abide by the policies and protocols for religiously oriented events.
    • Cultural Student Organizations will be invited and strongly encouraged to join the Multicultural Council, coordinated by the Office of Inclusion and Belonging.
    • Service organizations must be approved bt the Arrupe Center for for Community Service and Social Responsibility and may be required to attend additional trainings pertaining to the types of events/activties that service organizations do.
    • Social sororities and fraternities must be approved by Sorority and Fraternity Life personnel. See the note above regarding affiliation. There are roster and GPA requirements for these types of organizations as well.

Some organizations may be required to show proof of liability insurance coverage, depending on proposed organization activities.

Following receipt of the Request to Organize form and preliminary approval of the group by the Student Engagement Services, three organizational meetings may be held for the purposes of recruiting members and drafting the constitution and by-laws. Facilities may not be used for events, and student organizations may not make a reservation for any event that requires a facilities charge or service fee.

Once the constitution is submitted, it will be reviewed by the appropriate unit (Student Engagement Services or Graduate Student Success Team). A member of one of the reviewing units will meet with a representative of the organization to review, discuss, and answer any questions regarding policies, procedures, and expectations of the student organization. At the conclusion of this meeting, the organization will be informed that the University officially recognizes it.

In rare cases of an irreconcilable difference between or among a student organization, the Vice President for Student Affairs will make the final decision on approval of the constitution and recognition of the student organization.

For organizations that have graduate students as regular members and/or officers, procedures for recognition are the same. The oversight of graduate student organizations falls to the Graduate School and the college/department in which they are housed. The formation, recognition, and supervision of student organizations affiliated with the Law School or Dental School are conducted by student services staff within those schools and not through the procedures outlined above.

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Responsibilities of Student Organizations

The officers and members of student organizations are responsible for conducting their activities in accordance with the purposes and rules of the university, as well as with the purposes and procedures stated in their approved constitution.

  1. The officers and members are responsible for observing all laws and regulations governing the various activities of the group. The university does not authorize, protect, defend, or assume responsibility for violations of public or private rights by students or student groups. Regardless of any civil or criminal action which may be taken against students or student groups by reason of irresponsible conduct, such conduct, on or off campus, may subject the student or group to university disciplinary proceedings. Student organization members and officers should be aware that the organization and officers may be held responsible for injury or loss to others arising from their operations and activities. Therefore, officers and members should consider whether they need liability insurance to protect the organization, its members, or officers. Organizations should check with national chapters and their associations to see if plans are available to them.
  2. The officers and members are responsible for registering the organization annually and maintaining their good standing as an officially recognized Marquette University student organization by completing the registration process on Marquette Involvement Link and following all applicable rules, regulations, and procedures. It is strongly recommended that student organizations maintain at least five (5) active members in order to ensure the continuity of the group.
  3. The officers and members are responsible for informing the Student Engagement Services of any changes in officers and/or a change in advisor. NOTE: Failing to register for two consecutive academic years will result in withdrawal of recognition and the organization will be required to resubmit a Request to Organize form and a constitution to Student Engagement Services for approval.
  4. The officers and members are responsible for submitting a constitution to the Student Engagement Services every two (2) years for review and revision. Constitutions must include all information required by the model constitution provided by the Student Engagement Services. Any changes in a student organization’s constitution are to be authorized by the Student Engagement Services before the proposed change(s) becomes effective.

Only officially recognized and currently registered student organizations are authorized to use university facilities or services, or permitted to identify themselves directly or indirectly with the university’s name or credit. Note that this regulation is not intended as a restriction upon the right of students to organize, but it is necessary in order to protect the proprietary name, credit, and facilities of the university. Student organizations do not represent the university but are considered independent entities that are eligible for benefits and privileges of recognition.

In some instances, the Student Engagement Services may deem it necessary to review an organization’s recognized status, operations, and procedures. Under such conditions, Student Engagement Services reserves the right to remove an organization’s recognized status with the University. Marquette University reserves the right to take any action it deems appropriate with respect to any actions or activities undertaken by any student organization. Additional information related to student organization disciplinary actions is located in the student handbook, At Marquette.

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Benefits and Privileges of Student Organizations

The following are some of the benefits and privileges that are extended without charge (unless specified otherwise) to each Marquette University student organization upon its official recognition by the university. An organization’s failure to maintain recognition through annual registration may result in suspension of any or all of these benefits and privileges.

  1. To reserve campus facilities and outdoor spaces up to one calendar year in advance of the event date. (Contact the Event Management staff for any fees that may apply)
  2. To be included in the directory of officially recognized Marquette University Student Organizations on Marquee (Presence).
  3. To post authorized publicity in approved posting areas and to reserve publicity space (bulletin boards, display cases, windows, etc.) in the AMU facilities and residence halls
  4. To reserve and use rooms in academic areas (Note: Only for current semester)
  5. To reserve and use space in the AMU for the sale of goods (no food sales) or the distribution of approved literature
  6. To use “Marquette” as part of the organization name (The Marquette University name may be used only for purposes generally consistent with the organization’s purpose and only to identify affiliation as a student organization. Marquette may not be listed as the first word in an organization’s official name and should appear as XYZ organization at Marquette. Club sports teams that compete are an exception to this policy, and some organizations such as the music groups also are an exception.) Note: The name of a student organization should not appear in an event that is not approved. (See Participation in Student Organization Sponsored Events.) 
  7. To obtain permission from the AMU Event Management Office to host an event in a university building after its normal closing hour (Additional charges may be incurred by the organization in order to use facilities beyond posted hours)
  8. To purchase catering services at a discounted rate
  9. To borrow athletic equipment from the Helfaer Recreational Center
  10. To request the formation of leagues in which to play inter-organization athletic events and be assigned referees for games
  11. To apply for and receive funding from MUSG (undergraduate organizations only)
  12. To have buildings unlocked and locked for approved events by the MUPD
  13. To be assigned a university mailing address and exclusive use of a secure mailbox in AMU 137
  14. To use facilities, resources, and services of the Center for Leadership, Service, and Involvement (some services or resources may have a fee)
  15. To arrange for news coverage of events of public interest through the Office of Marketing and Communication
  16. To participate in both the fall and winter Organization Fest
  17. To have an advisor
  18. To receive help, advice, and assistance from the staff of the Student Engagement Services
  19. To participate in all organizational workshops and training activities
  20. To have access to mailing lists for students, staff, or faculty, as well as lists of incoming freshmen who indicate interest in a particular organization
  21. To link its web site with the Marquette University web site. All organizations with links to the Marquette University web site must comply with student organization web site policies and procedures as outlined by Student Engagement Services

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Eligibility for Organization Membership

  1. All full-time undergraduate students are eligible for membership in any undergraduate student organization in accordance with the standards, academic or otherwise, established by each organization. Any student organization which selects its membership or officers upon the basis of restrictive clauses dealing with race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, veteran’s status or national origin will be considered to be operating in conflict with university policy.
  2. Any part-time student, graduate student, professional student, faculty member, or administrator may be an associate member of any undergraduate student organization, and may not hold office or vote. Graduate students may only be regular members, hold office, or vote in graduate student organizations.
  3. The officers of all student organizations as well as the elected and appointed senators and officials of MUSG must be in good standing (not on academic or disciplinary probation) at the time of their election or appointment and throughout their terms of office. Student Engagement Services will check the status of each student who runs for office or is appointed to a position within MUSG.
  4. No student shall simultaneously hold more than one of the following positions:
    • president, executive vice president, program vice president, legislative vice president, financial vice president, or communication vice president of the Marquette University Student Government
    • MUSG legislative senator
    • College Council or Governing Council President
    • No student may serve simultaneously on more than two college councils
  5. The authority and responsibility for ensuring that officers comply with grade requirements for club and organization officers (president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, social chairperson, etc.) shall reside with the officers of that organization. In instances of dispute, the decision-making authority and responsibility rests with Student Engagement Services.
  6. Marquette University has a deferred joining policy for students interested in social Greek organizations. See the Fraternity and Sorority Information at the back of this handbook for more details about this policy.

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Hazing Policy

It is a violation of the Student Conduct Code for a student or student organization to participate in hazing or harassment which includes actions or situations that do or could result in mental, emotional, or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule, or endangerment whether intentionally, for fun, or by consent.

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Student Organization Demonstration Policy

It is clearly inevitable, and indeed essential, that the spirit of inquiry and challenge that the university seeks to encourage will produce many conflicts of ideas, opinions and proposals for action. The university community recognizes its responsibility to provide effective channels for internal communication, free discussion and rational persuasion as the normal and preferred means of airing and reconciling such differences. On occasion, recourse to public demonstration and protest may become, for some, a necessary and justified means of supporting their cause or position.

In such cases, the university must seek to ensure a fair and reasonable balance and coordination between two sets of rights that are brought into conflict with one another. The first is the right of the members of the university community freely to pursue their academic and vocational objectives without unreasonable obstruction or hindrance. The second is the right of the members of the university community freely to communicate, by lawful demonstration and protest, the positions that they conscientiously espouse on vital issues of the day.

The university endorses both sets of rights and believes that each can be fully exercised without serious damage to the other. The use of the university forum does not imply acceptance or endorsement by the university of the views expressed.

In order to establish an environment that enables both sets of rights and ensures that each can be fully exercised without serious damage to the other, the following procedures govern on-campus Demonstrations. 

a. Leadership and Prior Approval

A member of the Marquette University community (student, faculty or staff member) must be designated Organizer/Liaison for each protest/demonstration (the “Event”).

The Organizer/Liaison must meet with the Dean of Students or designee to coordinate the planned Event and is encouraged to schedule this meeting well in advance. To schedule this meeting, the organizer must contact the Dean of Students office. If the Organizer/Liaison is planning the Event on behalf of a recognized club or organization, the advisor to the club or organization is strongly encouraged to attend this meeting as well.

The Dean of Students/designate will meet with the organizer (and advisor, if relevant) within one business day of the request. The planned Event may be scheduled no fewer than two business days after this meeting is held. This two-day period may be extended at the discretion of the university if additional planning or preparation time is needed. Organizers should therefore plan accordingly and submit proposals as early as possible before the anticipated Event date. The meeting with the Dean/designate will be to review the details of the proposed Event including proposed time, place, manner and planned size of the event. Accordingly, expectations, rights, responsibilities, and logistical considerations will be discussed. In conjunction with this meeting, the Organizer/Liaison will submit a “Demonstration Proposal” form. This form is available through MARQUEE. Following this meeting, if all parties are in agreement regarding the substance of the proposed Event and the institutional expectations, the Event will be approved and the Proposal Form will be shared with relevant campus offices.

Reservation of campus space for any Event will be contingent upon availability. Space cannot be reserved without approval.

b. Measures to ensure safety and security

All students who are members of the university community have the right to peaceful demonstration (including, but not limited to, rallies, gatherings, protests, parades, and processions) on campus. However, disruptive demonstration, here defined as any demonstration that unreasonably interferes with the rights or safety of others, is strictly prohibited.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding of what is a peaceful demonstration (permitted) and what is a disruptive or unsafe demonstration (prohibited), the following non-exhaustive list of characteristics is provided.

A demonstration is disruptive or unsafe if it includes any activity that:

  • Denies or unreasonably interferes with the rights of other students, faculty or staff of the university, including the rights of others to demonstrate
  • Occurs in a way that blocks entrances, exits, or passageways from or to any university building or vehicle traffic on or to the campus.
  • Occurs inside university buildings other than the Alumni Memorial Union. The approved Event cannot interfere with the daily business, traffic flow, ingress/egress patterns or scheduled events in either facility. The approved Event must cease in the event of an emergency or building evacuation.
  • Violates any ordinance or law
  • Creates a volume of noise that prevents members of the university community from carrying on their normal activities; the use of any amplified sound devices (e.g. horns, speakers) is strictly prohibited
  • Places the health or safety of any member of the university community at risk
  • Employs force or violence or threatens force or violence against any persons or property
  • Congregates or assembles in any university building or on university property in ways that disrupts the university’s normal functions or results in damage to property
  • Fails to observe established closing hours of buildings
  • Fails to comply with any other university policy or any other lawful directive, including a directive to cease the Event. Disruptive demonstrations must be suspended or stopped immediately at the direction of Marquette University Police or the Dean of Students or designee. The university may also seek the assistance of law enforcement, such as the Milwaukee police, to disband unlawful or unauthorized demonstrations. Any student who participates in or assists in facilitating a disruptive demonstration may face disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Additionally, the following rules will govern any on campus demonstration:

  • No group may be admitted into a private office unless invited, and then not in excess of the number designated or invited by the occupant. Passage through reception areas leading to a private office must not be obstructed.
  • Corridors, stairways, doorways, and building entrances may not be blocked or obstructed in violation of the regulations of the Milwaukee Fire Department or of the university. Clear and unimpeded passageways must be maintained at all times.
  • The Code of Student Conduct and/or other administrative rules and regulations must be observed at all times in the planning and conduct of any event. Accordingly, expression that is indecent, grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other legally protected bases is inconsistent with accepted norms of conduct at the university and will not be tolerated.
  • The Organizer/Liaison is expected to communicate the parameters that have been set for the event by the Dean of Students and the Department of Public Safety to all participants prior to the event, to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of participants and will act as the primary liaison with the Dean of Students and/other university officials during the event itself.
  • Space may be occupied only when assigned through established university procedures.
  • In order to use space on the campus for the purpose of peaceful demonstration, students or groups who organize a demonstration must also comply with the following:

1. Maintain Peace and Order

  • The responsibility of maintaining peace and order rests at all times with the individual(s) or group(s) who organized the Event. This includes the responsibility to explain to other organizational members, guests, or other demonstrators the implications for failing to comply with the university’s expectations. Demonstrating guests are expected to follow the Code of Student Conduct. Individuals or groups who organized the Event are accountable for the conduct of their guests and may be subject to disciplinary action as the responsible party for violations of university policy incurred by their guests.
  • During a demonstration, the expression of viewpoints may invite or elicit a response from others, including counter-demonstrators or passersby. In all circumstances the right of others to personal expression must not be denied. Organizers should be aware that other demonstrations may also be approved that may include opposing views. Maintaining peace and order is especially important under these circumstances to support a rich campus environment that is accepting of divergent expression.

2. Presence of University Officials

  • When demonstrations are scheduled, organizers should expect university personnel (typically, Student Affairs staff and/or Marquette University Police officers) to be present for all or part of the Event. This presence is often necessary to ensure organizers’ own rights are protected and the university’s regular operations and activities are not interrupted. Accordingly, university representatives may film, photograph or record elements of the event. The presence of university personnel should not be viewed as an effort to deter or otherwise interfere with properly approved demonstrations.

3. Responsibly Conclude the Demonstration

  • The length of any given demonstration may vary. Demonstrations will usually be permitted to continue until and unless university officials determine that university operations and/or the rights of others have been compromised. This includes staff who may be attempting to close facilities according to the established closing hours of buildings
  • At the conclusion of any demonstration, the organizers are expected to make a reasonable effort to return the grounds/area to the condition it was in before the Event. This includes properly disposing of all garbage. Any unanticipated and accidental property damage should be reported to university administrators immediately. Any property damage related to a demonstration (whether peaceful or disruptive) may result in the assessment of fees for cleaning, repairs, and replacement of property to the organization or individuals involved or both.


Requirements for Officers

The officers of all student organizations as well as the elected and appointed senators and officials of MUSG must be in good standing (not on academic or disciplinary probation) at the time of their election or appointment and throughout their terms of office. Student Engagement staff will check the status of each student who runs for office or is appointed to a position within MUSG.

The authority and responsibility for ensuring that officers comply with grade requirements for club and organization officers (president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, social chairperson, etc.) shall reside with the officers of that organization. In instances of dispute, the decision-making authority and responsibility rests with AMU Student Engagement.

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Organization Mailboxes

Registered student organizations have the benefit of an organization mailbox in AMU 137. Both campus and off-campus mail can be received through this address. Student organization leaders are expected to check their mailbox at least once a week due to the small size of the boxes and the large volume of mail that comes through.

Mailbox combinations are released to the organization president via email at the beginning of each semester. Combinations can also be retrieved by stopping into Student Engagement Services (AMU 121). Please note that for security reasons the mailbox combination will only be released to the organization president.

If an organization fails to empty its organization’s mailbox, Student Engagement Services staff will notify the organization of a date by which everything needs to be emptied. If the organization fails to empty the mailbox by this date, the mailbox will be reassigned to another organization.

Marquette University
[Insert your organization's name]
Student Engagement Mailbox # _____AMU 137
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

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