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Leader/Officer Selection


The University is committed to a fair and transparent student organization leadership selection process. We aim to have all student organization selection processes based on the democratic ideals of selection by election or consensus.  In the event that it is not possible to have all leadership positions chosen through an election or consensus process, the University allows a limited number of leadership positions be chosen through an application and interview process provided that the three top leader positions are chosen by an election.


The three top leadership positions in a student organizaton (president, co-president/vice president and financial officer) must be chosen by election or consensus by the group's membership every year. Current leadership may run for election again, but there must be a fair and open election on an annual basis by all active members. There is a strong university preference that all leadership positions are chosen via election or consensus, but if a student organization wishes to incorporate a selection process for other key leadership positions, it may do so. Secondary leadership positions, such as this, may be filled via an application and interview process for a limited number of positions. In those cases, preference should be given to students that have been active and regular organization members.

Other Guidelines

  • Authorized representatives. The University requires that all orgs have three different authorized representatives that represent the organization to the University and others. While you have latitude in what you name these three positions, they should include: 1) a president or chair, 2) a co-president, co-chair or vice-president and a 3) a financial officer; all three should be different people. These three positions must be chosen democratically, either by election or consensus.  Unless there is an unusual circumstance, the three authorized representatives should serve for a year.
  • Others. Many groups choose to have a variety of additional leadership positions, including a leadership corps, event chair or secondary financial officer. In all cases, your constitution should include the names of each position, the position's responsibilities and the total number of positions. For example, if you have a leadership corps, your constitution would include the number of students who serve. Also, your leader and officer corps should not be so large that there are not opportunities for active membership and involvement for interested students in your organization. 
  • How other leaders/officers are chosen. The three authorized representatives must be elected from the group membership. While the University prefers that all leaders/officers are elected, other positons may be selected if they follow University guidelines. Selection may occur via an application and interview (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and transcripts prohibited). An application process is possible if your org uses a selection committee comprised of at least 5 group members and representing a variety of class years. Only short-term, ad hoc positions can be appointed by the org's President.
  • Criteria for leadership positions. Organizations may have simple, objective criteria that are based on a members's direct participation with their organization for leadership positions. Such criteria must be easily achievable by current members.  Acceptable criteria include: 1) length of service with the organization, 2) regular participation in meetings and events, 3) demonstrated dedication and commitment to the organization and/or 4) plans to be on campus throughout leadership term. Interest in an organization is an acceptable criterion, but adherence to a prescribed set of beliefs is not. In all cases, university policy drives all acceptable criteria and must meet Stanford's non-discrimination policy.
  • All other membership policy and guidelines should guide leader/officer selection practices.
  • Except for summer, the president and financial officer must be on the Stanford campus during their tenue.  If traveling abroad during the regular academic year, an a replacement president and or financial officer should be identified and the club should email email with these new officers.