The Fundamental Standard has set the standard of conduct for students at Stanford since it was articulated in 1896 and embodies the values and definition of good University citizenship. It states:
Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University.
Violations of University policies, state, and federal laws also constitute violations of the Fundamental Standard. The Fundamental Standard, as well as the University policies that have grown out of it, apply not only to individuals, but also to student organizations. In the spirit of collective responsibility, student organizations bear a certain level of responsibility for the individual actions of their organization members when this behavior is part of a organization activity or the action of the individual represents organization norms.
Student organizations are responsible for knowing and abiding by all University policies and applicable laws, and for following specific university directives.
This document outlines the Core 10 policies that organizations need to be familiar with in order to operate successfully.
Student Organization: All recognized student organizations including voluntary student organizations (including club sports teams), fraternities, and sororities.
Student Leader: A student with a formal position of responsibility to make decisions or plan events on behalf of the organization. This position may be elected or appointed. The responsibilities should be listed in the organization constitution and on file with the Office of Student Engagement.
Stanford University expects organizations and their members to conduct themselves in socially responsible and respectful ways.
Violations of university policies, including the Core 10 policies, by student organizations will be addressed through the Stanford Group Accountability Process (in addition to other processes when applicable, such as sexual harrasment), where remedies include but are not limited to: formal warning, educational conversation, educational programming, limited or loss of organization privileges, and loss of University recognition.
Organizations with University allocated space that are found responsible for policy violations may lose access to those spaces in accordance with the Provost Policy.
All Stanford student groups must abide by all relevant University policies. Collective responsibility is the concept that student groups bear a certain level of responsibility, and can be held accountable, for the individual actions of their members when this behavior is reasonably connected to the group. The Stanford Group Accountability Process may be used to impose sanctions upon an entire group.
Collective responsibility applies to all student groups. Some student groups have the privilege of choosing their own members. With this privilege comes an even greater responsibility of governing their group’s behavior in a way consistent with the University's policies.
It is not the number of members involved in an activity that is crucial to a determination that the group is responsible. The focus is whether the activity is related to a student group rather than a private activity by persons who happen to be members of the same group. A number of factors may be considered when determining a group’s responsibility for the individual actions of its members, including but not limited to the following:
Whether a member of a group violated the law or university policy and other members present failed to indicate their disapproval, or by their continued presence without objection implicitly condoning the behavior;
Whether the acts grew out of or were directly related to the group’s activities or an environment (either physical or cultural) created by the group;
Whether the acts were those of guests of a group, or by persons authorized or permitted to represent themselves as connected with the group;
Whether a group either intentionally or unintentionally created power dynamics and hazing occured;
Whether the group or its leaders officially sanctioned or implicitly encouraged the activity even though they did not "officially” sanction it;
Whether a substantial number of the group’s members or leaders were aware, in advance, that the activity might take place;
Whether the group’s members or leaders were aware of the misconduct after the fact and did not take steps to correct the problem(s) that occurred;
Whether the group failed to document and/or utilize accountability mechanisms to address member behavior when it was not aligned with group standards and/or university policy;
Whether there have been previous similar incidents with members of the group;
If the group claims this is an isolated incident by renegade members, whether other members of the group also engaged in "isolated" incidents themselves, such that a pattern of misbehavior and group norms emerges from otherwise seemingly isolated incidents.
If one or more of the factors listed above is present, there is a basis for finding the group responsible for the behavior of its members based on the principle of collective responsibility.
In order to ensure that student group behavior aligns with university policy, student leaders are expected to:
Know, and seek to understand, the relevant university policies and expectations; communicating all relevant information to group members and other key stakeholders.
Establish healthy norms for the group congruent with the values of the University, Office of Student Engagement, and other relevant university offices.
Document and utilize accountability mechanisms to ensure healthy norms and uphold university policies and relevant laws.
Embody the values of the Fundamental Standard, utilizing these core policies as a basis for values driven decision-making by the leadership and membership.
Stanford is committed to fostering experiences, relationships and environments that contribute to the good of our community and ensure that every student feels a firm sense of belonging. Hazing of any kind is antithetical to these goals; therefore, Stanford prohibits hazing activities.
Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in an organization that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. All students have the right to be free from such experiences.
There are two key elements when an individual is attempting to become a member of, or maintain membership in a student organization:
Humiliating, degrading or endangering behavior
Happens regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate
Because of the socially coercive nature of hazing, implied or expressed consent is not a defense under this policy.
Examples of hazing include but are not limited to:
Encouraging the use of alcohol or drugs
Forcing or coercing consumption or use of any substance
Physical abuse, e.g., whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, shaving and exposure to the elements, or the threat of such behaviors.
Engaging in or simulating sexual acts
Threatening or causing physical restraint
Throwing substances or objects at individuals
Assigning unreasonable chores or acts of servitude
Causing excessive exercise, sleep deprivation or excessive fatigue
Interfering with adequate time for study
Requiring the wearing of apparel or acting in a way that is conspicuous and not within community norms
Subjecting students to abusive or demeaning conduct
Hazing may result in serious individual and/or organization consequences including, but not limited to: disciplinary action up to and including expulsion for individuals and permanent loss of recognition for organizations. Any individual who plans or intentionally assists in hazing activity has engaged in hazing, regardless of whether that individual is present when the hazing activity occurs.
Stanford's hazing policy is distinct from and broader than California Penal Code section 245.6, which prohibits: "any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university or other educational institution in this state." A violation of Penal Code Section 245.6 that does not result in serious bodily injury is punishable as a misdemeanor, while a violation that results in death or injury is punishable as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Nothing in this hazing policy prevents Stanford from taking institutional action against hazing activity that falls outside the narrower definition of Penal Code section 245.6.
All student organizations must abide by the Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy which can be found here.
Below are a few important reminders:
The health, safety, and well-being of our community is the highest priority. As such, students are expected to seek medical treatment when needed. Student organizations seeking medical treatment for someone for the effects of drug or alcohol use will not be subject to disciplinary action with respect to the use of drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy. Educational programs can still be required.
Under California law and university policy, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol in any public or private space on campus. It is also illegal and a violation of university policy to furnish alcohol to an individual under the age of 21.
Despite California legalizing certain recreational cannabis usage among persons aged 21 years or older, cannabis still remains illegal under federal law. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act require that the university, as a recipient of federal funding, establish policies that prohibit cannabis use, possession and distribution on campus and in the workplace. The possession, use, storage, delivery, cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis in any form is prohibited on all Stanford University property, including university-owned and leased buildings, housing and parking lots. Cannabis is also not permitted at university events or while conducting university business.
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession and/or use of controlled substances (including but not limited to cocaine, opioids, hallucinogens, and benzodiazepines) is prohibited on the Stanford campus, or as part of any of the university's activities. Synthetic or counterfeit substances that are an analogue for a controlled substance are also prohibited under this policy. In addition, Stanford prohibits the possession or use of drug paraphernalia.
Students who report experiencing or witnessing Sexual Violence will not be subject to any reporting or disciplinary action under this policy (commencing when such report is made) with respect to their alcohol or drug consumption in connection with reported incident(s) of Sexual Violence.
As an extension of the Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy, student organizations who wish to host events on or off campus with alcohol must follow the party planning guidelines.
Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, marital status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. This applies to student organization membership, leadership selection, and both on and off campus programs and activities. Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
If you have concerns about discrimination that have occurred in an organization, please contact Office of Community Standards, group accountability process. If you have concerns about sexual harassment, including sexual assault, as it relates to a student organization or a program sponsored by a student organization, please contact the SHARE Title IX Office.
Student health and safety is the shared responsibility of everyone in our community. It is imperative that student organization leaders and members know how to respond in case of an emergency.
If you or a member of your organization experience an emergency you are required to do the following*:
Call 9-1-1 (or 9-911 from a campus phone).
Call the Undergraduate Resident Director on Call at 650-504-8022 or the Graduate Dean via the GLO pager at 650-723-7288. You will reach a Stanford operator. Provide pager ID #25085 and indicate that you need to reach the graduate dean-on-call.
Notify your corresponding campus advisor via email within 48 hours of the incident with the including important details (who, what where, when, why) to the following email addresses, using “SECURE:” in the subject line:
Student organizations should be aware of the Good Samaritans (Part E.) clause in the Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy which states that student organizations seeking medical treatment for someone for the effects of drug or alcohol use will not be subject to disciplinary action with respect to the use of drugs or alcohol in violation of university policy. Educational programs can still be required.
The Good Samaritan provisions of this policy do not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of University standards, such as causing or threatening physical harm, sexual misconduct or abuse, damage to property, harassment, hazing, or violations of this policy related to distribution of alcohol or drugs, but may be considered a mitigating factor in any disciplinary action.
For all details, read the full policy.
Emergencies are classified as the following (if in doubt, call for help):
Serious injury or death
Intoxication or being under the influence of drugs
Car accidents in connection with a student organization activity
Dance or athletic injuries
Dizziness, fainting, or losing consciousness
*Injury to visiting minors should be reported to the Office of Student Engagement (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For concerns related to Prohibited Sexual Conduct student leaders should utilize information about Title IX reporting and resources. Although all student leaders are Campus Security Authorities or Responsible Employees, members may report experiences to student leaders expecting their support in reporting to the University, such as to the SHARE Title IX Office. For more information about who has a duty to report please consult with the SHARE Title IX Office.
Student leaders are responsible for representing the organization to the university and others. Each organization must have three different student leaders with these three types of roles:
Managing the organization (President or Co-President)
Serving as a secondary manager for the organization (Vice or Co-President)
Managing finances (Financial Officer)
Each of these leaders must be chosen by election, consensus or another democratic selection process, by the organization's membership every year, in accordance with the organization’s constitution.
Additional leadership positions may be elected or selected. All secondary leadership positions and how they are chosen must be included in the organization’s constitution.
The use of transcripts or GPA is prohibited in either elections or selection. Organizations may have interns, but all students interested must be accommodated.
Student group leaders must:
Be a regularly enrolled matriculated student in good standing at the university.
Be present on campus during the period of leadership in the student organization.
Be prepared to serve for one full academic year.
Membership in a student organization must be broadly open and welcoming to all Stanford students.
Who is considered a member?
A student currently registered and in good academic standing
A student who actively engages at and during meetings/events
Who is not considered a member?
A member of the faculty, staff, alumnus, or postdoc, coaches, non-Stanford community members including significant others (SO) and children
Someone whose sole participation is on a listserv
Student organizations are expected to develop recruitment and membership practices that ensure open and easy access to the organization's activities. Certain student organizations may have skill based membership criteria and as a result, are exempted from this broadly open policy. Exceptions are permitted for:
Performing arts organizations
Club Sports organizations
Social Fraternities and Sororities (please refer to definition of social fraternities and sororities below for more information)
Acceptable Membership Criteria
Attendance at meetings
Completion of a training/orientation
Planning an event
Graduate student/undergraduate student status
Payment of dues
Prohibited Membership Criteria
Please see leadership selection policy for more information.
Definition of social fraternities and sororities
Social sororities and fraternities are student organizations that are founded on the ideals of scholarship, friendship, personal/professional growth and service to the community. In keeping with the educational mission of the University, social sororities and fraternities promote and are expected to maintain the highest standards of scholarship, leadership, and service.
The United States Department of Education has established guidelines and criteria necessary to be classified as a social sorority or fraternity (which includes a provision that allows an organization to operate as a single-sex organization). In alignment with the guidelines established by the Department of Education, Stanford defines social sororities and fraternities as organizations that:
Do not limit membership to persons pursuing or having interest in a specific field of study, profession or academic discipline
Do not serve as honorary societies for academic, leadership, or any other endeavor
Do not permit members to hold membership in other social sororities or fraternities
Hold tax-exempt/non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS)
Limit membership to currently enrolled, degree-seeking undergraduate students at Stanford University
As a student organization there are health, safety, and risk management requirements that are essential to running a healthy, safe and vibrant student organization. As an extension of Stanford University, student organizations are provided limited insurance coverage for organization sponsored activities through the university. Below are the policies that apply to student organizations for general transportation, travel, and insurance.
Any transportation of students or materials in the name of a Stanford student organization must comply with all applicable university policies.
Drivers must have a valid Driver's License and evidence of auto liability insurance. If the car is rented, the driver must purchase rental auto liability insurance.
No organizations may own a vehicle, including but not limited to a car, golf cart or segway. If a student organization under previous circumstances owns a vehicle, it must be registered with the Office of Student Engagement.
All organization travel, domestic or international, must be registered with the Office of Student Engagement in CardinalEngage. All travel must be approved and booked via Student Universe with the following timelines:
Domestic travel - 1 week in advance
International travel - 2 months in advance, with prior approval by the Office of Student Engagement and the University Travel Committee.
Waivers are needed when your organization
travels outside a 150 mile radius from campus,
or engages in a higher risk activity ( i.e. amusement parks, adventure sports, etc.).
Waivers can be found in the office of Risk Management’s website.
Waivers should be uploaded to CardinalEngage 1 day prior to the registered event.
Modes of travel
All travel for organization activities must go through the following services:
All rideshares must be through Uber
All buses must be obtained through Stanford Charter Services
There are no requirements for rental car or vacation home rentals
Limited insurance coverage is provided for recognized student organizations and varsity sports when they are conducting organization activities and following all state, local and federal laws as well as all applicable university policies. This insurance does not extend to personal property.
Insurance requirement for external vendors and/or performers, speakers, etc: Vendors coming to campus at the request of a student organization must possess 2 million dollars of liability insurance per occurrence, and name The Leland Stanford Jr. University as an additional insured prior to coming to campus. Organizations must include this information in their registration for the event via CardinalEngage.
Insurance requirement for hosting events off campus: External venues used by a student organization for an event must have 2 million dollars of liability insurance per occurrence, and name Stanford University as an additional insured. Organizations must include this information in their registration for the event via cardinalengage.
Insurance requirement for hosting events where alcohol is present: Student organizations who wish to host an event with alcohol, the vendor must have 5 million dollars of liquor liability insurance and name Stanford University as an additional insured. Organizations must include this information in their registration for the event via cardinalengage.
Insurance requirement for large events. In certain cases, Stanford University may require large events to procure additional liability insurance for their event. This determination is made by the Office of Risk Management in consultation with the Office of Student Engagement and Stanford University Department of Public Safety. The following factors are considered when determining the need for a organization to procure extra insurance:
Event has a capacity and planned attendance for over 5000 people
Event is open to non-Stanford community members
Financial expenses of more than $10K
Potential for alcohol or controlled substance use
Location of venue and proximity to student residences and the residential neighborhood
Working with Minors
All events with minors need to be registered and approved. See this checklist for details.
Stanford University's primary mission as an institution is research, education and service. All activity conducted on behalf of the university must be done in accordance with the university’s overarching mission. The university is required to enact policies to maintain a registered 501c3 non-profit status.
Student organizations are an extension of the university and this designation comes with privileges and expectations to ensure stewardship of campus resources in the most ethical, values driven way. No student organization is allowed to use university resources, including university property, ASSU or other campus funding, for individual personal gain or profit.
Recognized student organizations may use university resources, including the Stanford name, in the following ways:
To conduct a benefit fundraiser for a U.S. based 501c3 charitable organization
To raise money for registered organization activities and events
To receive “gift in kind” goods and services for organization events or benefit fundraisers
To subsidize event costs for an organization sponsored event
Sell admission tickets for events produced by the organization
Sell goods and services (i.e. t shirts, stickers, individually commercially pre-packaged items) that benefit organization activities
Provide a service in exchange for compensation for the organization’s time, talents and expenses.
In order to avoid violations of unrelated business activity student organizations are prohibited from the following:
Sponsorships. All student events must be student initiated and managed. Off-campus entities cannot be the primary sponsor for students. See here for ways to engage off campus sponsors.
Endorsements. Student organizations may not endorse a product, service or company. Student organizations do not have the ability and should not should not sign agreements with third-parties guaranteeing their sponsorship, use of their logos or access to Stanford students or the university.
Company Logos. Company logos cannot be used on t-shirts or other items, unless directly related to an event and defined by a header such as “Sponsors.” Only registered student organizations that have been approved may have a company logo can be listed on an organization website as long as they are clearly identified as sponsors and featured less prominently. (link to guidelines in working with companies, on the BEAM website).
Stanford Trademarks. Student organizations may not use Stanford Marks without clearly delineating that the activity is managed by a student organization and that the activity is University-sanctioned. All usage must comply with all the policies and procedures established by the Trademark Licensing Office.
For-Profit Campus Reps. Individuals who serve as campus representatives for a for-profit company may not use university resources to promote company events, goods or services. All companies should go through BEAM, Stanford Career Education to access campus resources lawfully. Access to the Stanford community is a privilege that is not to be exploited financially.
Fronting. Student organizations may not sponsor, schedule, or plan events in order to give off campus organizations, unaffiliated with Stanford, access to university resources, including space, information tables, Stanford name or marks, or other university resources.
Stanford Tax-Exempt Status. Student organizations cannot use Stanford's tax-exempt status or Employer Identification Number under any circumstances. Donations made to student organizations are not tax deductible, with the exemption of donor gifts to accounts controlled by Stanford.
Values-based financial stewardship is at the heart of all university operations. Student organizations bear a collective responsibility to steward all university funds in an ethical and prudent manner. Organizations should thoughtfully consider the following values when deciding how to request and where to best allocate funding resources:
Equity - Are the resources you are requesting reasonable and proportional to the impact of your program? Equity minded responsible stewardship includes asking for only what you need to execute your mission effectively.
Partnership - Are you working with other student organizations, departments, faculty, staff and other stakeholders who are also working on the same goals to maximize impact and conserve resources? Are you making space for intentional collaboration and synergies?
Compliance - As an arm of the University, are leaders and members ensuring policies are being followed, meeting deadlines and reporting obligations in a timely manner?
Transparency - Does your budget reflect your mission? Do your members and key partners know and understand where and how money is being spent?
All organizations must bank with the ASSU (pg 39). Organizations are not permitted to have seperate off campus bank accounts. Fraternities and Sororities with national organization affiliations are permitted to have an on off-campus account per these guidelines. (insert policy and rationale link of the fsl website)
Financial policies related to access in GrantEd and Approval Authorization is determined by ASSU and can be found here.
Individuals may not enter into any agreements, verbal or written, on behalf of a Stanford student organization, without the permission of one of the above named authorized representatives. Authorized representatives are required to work with their designated university advisor on all contracts and agreements.
Reimbursements will only be allowed for eligible expenses. Please see the ASSU policies on allowable and unallowable expenses per the type of student organization.
Alcohol purchase from primarily undergraduate student organization accounts is prohibited.
Alcohol purchase from primarily graduate student organizations is allowable from the primary checking account (also known as the 2800 account) only.
Authorized representatives and secondary leadership positions are voluntary. No students in these positions may draw payment from holding these positions.
Student organizations may not hire professional labor to do work that is within the primary purpose of the organization.
Student performers, DJ’s, photographers, or videographers, may be paid for their services from a student organization account. They will be classified as a vendor and must follow the vendor policies outlined by ASSU.
All Benefit Fundraisers must be approved by the Office of Student Engagement. The fundraiser must support the educational mission of the university, demonstrate effective stewardship and the funds and be a U.S. based 501(c)3 nonprofit.
Membership dues, fees, and ticket sales should use Eventbrite or other approved university services. Approved e-commerce sites are active.com, eventbrite, and the Stanford Ticket Office.
University policy governs all off-campus fundraising activities. Student organizations must receive prior university approval prior to soliciting corporations. Approval must be requested in Spring Quarter to fundraise for the next academic year. See the corporate fundraising timeline and steps for more information.