Student Organization Manual



Chapter 2: Rights and Responsibilities for Student Organizations


Relationship Statement

Student organizations at The University of Texas at Dallas actively participate in and contribute to a vibrant university community. The more than 300 registered student organizations at the university provide invaluable experiences and opportunities for students to grow as individuals, leaders, and community members. The debates, social and cultural events, lectures, and many other events organized by student organizations contribute to making UT Dallas a very dynamic and exciting campus.

Student Organization Center (SOC) staff members work to be proactive in guiding student organizations by providing education, training, and consultation. Registered student organizations and SOC exist as partners in the university community. The staff in the SOC strives to be facilitators to student organizations by defining appropriate boundaries, sharing information, and assisting in the decision-making process. We work to help student organizations appropriately manage their risk and achieve their goals.


Benefits for Registered Student Organizations

Being a registered student organization at The University of Texas at Dallas has many benefits. Student organizations have the privilege of using on-campus facilities, raising funds, sponsoring speakers and public performances, and distributing literature. One of the most important benefits of being a registered student organization is access to the staff in the Student Organization Center and Student Union for assistance in program planning, risk management, conflict resolution, fundraising, or other issues related to your student organization.

Beyond the obvious advantages of being a registered student organization on campus, there are many other rewards for students who engage in student organization activities. First, student organizations add an important component to campus life at UT Dallas by providing an outlet for the student voice to be heard and a vehicle for students to have a substantial impact on campus. Secondly, students gain valuable experience in the practical aspects of leadership, communication, risk management, and teamwork. Finally, it is our experience that students who are involved on campus are more likely to be successful in college and to gain more from their time at UT Dallas.



The Dean of Students hosts and presents the annual Student Leadership Awards. Each year several student leadership awards are given to worthy leaders and student organizations that hav made outstanding contributions.


All registered student organizations at The University of Texas at Dallas in good standing with the Student Organization Center are eligible to apply. These awards are intended to recognize and honor their hard work and pay tribute to their achievements on campus and in the community.


Student Leadership Awards


Community Service Award —honors a student for outstanding service to the community.

Rising Star Award—honors a student who has demonstrated exemplary ability in the beginning years of their leadership experience.

Student Leader of the Year Award — honors the best of student leadership at UT Dallas.

The Golden Comet Award —honors a student organization that has impacted the campus and surrounding community.

Advisor of the Year Award — honors an advisor who demonstrates outstanding dedication and service to his or her organization.


Patty Atchley Service to Student Life Award- honors a student who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the quality of student lfe at UT Dallas.




Please refer to the Student Leadership Programs website at the most current information about the awards. Winners will be announced at the annual leadership awards banquet held in April.


Starting a New Organization

New student organizations are continuosly forming at UT Dallas. If you cannot find a student organization on campus that meets your needs, consider forming your own organization! Here are the requirements and procedures for starting your own organization:

  • An organization must have five members who are currently enrolled students, staff, and/or faculty.
  • Advisors are required and must be full time UT Dallas staff or faculty (if you are having difficulty finding an advisor, please contact the SOC staff for assistance).
  • Read and complete the Student Organization Registration Form in OrgSync and submit a constitution and/or bylaws for your student organization (for a sample constitution see the resources section at the end of this manual).
  • Read and complete the Membership and Hazing Statement and the Solicitation Statement.
  • At the earliest available time, the organization must complete risk management training. Schedules are offered regularly, posted online, and publicized. You will receive specific information about attending both orientation and risk management once your application packet has been received. (NOTE: New student organizations may become fully functional once the application packet is complete and approved and orientation has been completed. Risk management training must be completed at the earliest scheduled opportunity to remain a registered organization.)
  • Submit all risk management forms after attending training
  • Submit annual fiscal reports for your organization at the begining of each semester
  • Attend monthly SOC Meetings.

Sample Constitution and Bylaws

This information is offered only as a suggestion to guide the organization’s thought processes. Please consult with SOC staff if you are looking for more information about organizational constitutions.

Your constitution should be as detailed or as simple as your organization requires for smooth operation.  Remember that the constitution will give continuity to your organization. By-laws are the general procedures of your organization (its “working rules”) and are not required. 


Sample Constitution

Constitution of (insert organization name)


Article I. Name of Organization:
Article II. Statement of Purpose: A short statement about the purpose of your organization, or a definition of what the organization is about.
Article III. Membership: A short statement about membership.
  Section 1. Membership shall be open to students of The University of Texas at Dallas regardless of sex (unless specifically exempt by law), race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status.
  Section 2. Membership must be limited to UT Dallas students, faculty and staff.
Article IV. Administration: Include the officer/governing structure for the organization, and duties and responsibilities of officers.
Article V. Advisers: Information about adviser selection procedures, and your advisers’ responsibilities.


Sample Bylaws

By-Laws of (insert organization name)


Article I. Membership:
Section 1. Type of members (active/inactive, etc.)
Section 2. Provision for expulsion of members.
Article II. New Membership: Further explanation of process.
Article III. Dues: Statement about collection and amount.
Article IV. Officers:
Section 1. Powers and duties of elected officers.
Section 2. Policy for filling vacancies.
Section 3. Special committees (appointment/approval)
Section 4. Recall of officers (when applicable).
Article V. Committees:
Section 1. Standing committees and duties.
Section 2.  Special committees (appointment/approval)
Article VI. Elections: Time of elections, votes necessary for election, qualification of voters, method of balloting (secret or open).
Article VII. Quorum: Minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business (percentage of voting membership).
Article VIII. Parliamentary
Authority: Source of authority (Robert’s Rules of Order, etc.)


(Additional articles and/or sections may be added, if needed.)


Reminders for Organizations

  • In order to maintain registration status at UT Dallas, an organization must maintain a minimum of five currently enrolled students
  • Limit group membership to currently enrolled UT Dallas students, faculty and staff.
  • Do not deny membership on any basis prohibited by applicable law, including, but not limited to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, or disability. Pursuant to university policy, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited.
  • Agree to conduct organization affairs in accordance with university rules and procedures.


Authorized Representatives

As a registered student organization, you will designate the members who are authorized to conduct business on behalf of your organization on the Student Organization Registration Form. Only the students who are listed as Officers/Authorized Representatives can conduct university business for your organization. Examples of university business include the ability to make room reservations, schedule events, reserve a table or booth space, and conduct other official business for the organization.


Using the Name of The University

In 1981, The Board of Regents of the UT System established a licensing program to protect its name and identifying marks. The University of Texas at Dallas is a trademark of The Board of Regents and can only be used by organizations that are officially sponsored by a university department.

There are two types of student organizations at UT Dallas. Officially sponsored student organizations are those that are attached to a university program or department and are advised specifically by a staff member. These organizations may use the words “The University of Texas at Dallas,” or other trademarked words in their name. If you are unsure if your group is in this category, please ask your advisor or the staff in SOC.

The second type of student organizations at UT Dallas is registered student organizations. Registered student organizations are not considered “officially sponsored” by the university and, therefore, may not use the name of The University of Texas at Dallas, any abbreviation thereof, or any of the university’s trade-marks or logos in the organization name. However, a registered student organization may use words such as “campus,” “university,” or “Dallas” as part of its name. For more information on trademarks, please refer to “Copyrights and Trademarks.”


Representing UT Dallas in an Official Capacity

Officially sponsored student organizations which represent the university in intercollegiate competition, public performances, fund raising projects, printed literature, or any other endeavor must have the activities approved by the dean, the department which sponsors the organization, or a student life administrator.


Single Sex Organizations

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities at the university unless such programs and activities are specifically exempt from the law. The university is required to be in compliance with the provisions of Title IX. Therefore, compliance with Title IX is a condition to be a registered student organization at the university.

Since passage of this law and the publication of the implementing regulations, the U. S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has evolved a rather clear set of criteria for determining when single sex organizations are exempt from the provisions of Title IX. These criteria are as follows:

  • the organization must have tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • members must be limited to student, staff, or faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas;
  • the organization must be a “social fraternity” as defined by the Department of Education.

The Department of Education defines a “social fraternity” as a group that can answer “no” to all the following questions:

  • Is the organization’s membership limited to persons pursuing or having interest in a particular field of study, profession or academic discipline?
  • Is the membership limited to individuals who have a high level of achievement in scholarship or any other endeavor?
  • Are the members permitted to hold membership in other fraternities or sororities at the university?

If a group answers “yes” to any of the questions, it is not a “social fraternity” and therefore is not exempt from the requirements of Title IX and therefore must accept members of both sexes. Questions regarding this policy can be directed to staff in SOC.




Updated: January 4, 2018