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Critical Policies for Student Organizations

Important Things you Need to Know

Student organization leaders must know and follow university policies and expectations. The list of our "top ten" critical policies provide a quick overview of those policies that are most important to student organizations and their activities. They serve as important operating principles for student leaders and should be shared broadly with organization leaders and members.

  • Collective Responsbility. Organizations bear a certain level of responsibility for the individual actions of their members when this behavior is part of a group activity or the action of the individual represents organization norms
  • Campus Disruptions. The university's policy on campus disruption applies to all students, faculty and staff. See the Campus Disruptions policy before planning protests or demonstrations.  
  • Commercial ActivityAll activities done in the name of Stanford must support Stanford's educational mission and its non-profit tax status. Activities done in conjunction with any off-campus entity, but especially companies and commercial enterprises must be done  with great care. Student leaders must know and follow university policies for Commercial Activity before engaging in agreements for event sponsorship and any exchange of funds, services or products .
  • Fronting.  Stanford student organizations, individuals and departments may not serve as "fronts" for off-campus organizations in order for them to gain use of Stanford meeting space, information tables, a web presence or the Stanford name
  • Hazing. Stanford does not tolerate hazing and expects all students to follow the university Hazing Policy. 
  • Leadership Selection. The three top leadership positions in a student organization (president, co-president/vice president and financial officer) must be chosen by election or consensus by the group's membership every year.
  • Local AutonomyStudent organizations affiliated with national or regional organizations are expected to make all decisions for their organization in keeping with the principle of local autonomy. This also holds true for relationships with alumni and organization advisors.
  • Membership.  Membership in a University recognized voluntary student organization (VSO) must be broadly open and welcoming to all Stanford students that are interested in supporting the mission of the student organization. 
  • Off-campus FundraisingUniversity policies govern all off-campus fundraising activities for cash, goods or services done by departments and student groups from off-campus sources. Student orgs must  receive prior University permission before conducting any off-campus fundraising.
  • Partisan Political Activities. Student organizations should first consult and gain approval from OSE before confirming partisan political speakers (those running for office) for campus event in order to meet the University policy on Partisan Political Activities.
  • Stanford Name. Student groups must follow university name use guidelines when using the Stanford name or marks.  Items sold must be provided by a licensed vendor.


Other Key Policy Sites

These policies that may apply to your activities. Please review the following: