RSO Code of Conduct

UW-Madison Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct 

Effective: January 1st, 2022


Table of Contents 

Section I: Scope and Mission 

Section II: Definitions 

Section III: Principles of Group Responsibility 

Section IV: Organizational Rules of Conduct 

Section V: Registered Student Organization Rights through the Committee on Student Organizations Disciplinary Process 

Section VI: Committee on Student Organizations Disciplinary Process 

Section VII: Sanctions 

Section VIII: Appeal Process 

Section IX: Committee on Student Organizations Sanction Review Process 

Appendix: University of Wisconsin-Madison Registered Student Organization Alcohol Policy (SOAP) 


Section I: Scope and Mission 

The University recognizes that participation in student organizations constitutes an integral aspect of the living-learning environment. Student organization membership affords opportunities to develop skills in areas such as leadership, fiscal management, event planning, ethical decision-making, delegation, and team building. We expect that students will adhere to high standards of behavior in the performance of their organizational responsibilities. 

The Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) is the principal body for implementing and revising the behavioral standards related to Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). The CSO itself is an appointed body of students, faculty, and staff; a majority of the Committee is made up of students. The Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) advises the Committee but is not a voting member. 

The up to fifteen (15) voting members of the Committee are as follows: 

  1. Up to five (5) faculty or academic staff representatives. Academic staff must be from departments outside the Dean of Students reporting line. There may not be more than four (4) 
  2. faculty representatives, and there may not be more than four (4) academic staff representatives excluding the staff representative of the Center for Leadership & Involvement. 2. Up to one (1) academic staff representative of the Center for Leadership & Involvement. This member may have a designee from the Center for Leadership & Involvement for hearings and other Committee business meetings.
  3. Up to nine (9) student appointees made in collaboration with the Associated Students of Madison (ASM), OSCCS, and the CSO Chair or their designee. OSCCS shall be responsible for accepting applications and forwarding them to ASM for appointment consideration. OSCCS may remove students not in good standing with the University. A representative of the ASM Shared Governance Committee and the CSO Chair or their designee shall be responsible for the timely appointment of students. However, the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee is permitted to actively participate in all appointment processes of students as an ex officio member to ensure the process fairly provides diverse perspectives on the Committee. This involvement may include but is not limited to the formation of application procedures, interviews, and deliberations. If the ASM Shared Governance Committee representative and the CSO Chair or their designee disagree on the appointment of a student, the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee will break the tie. 

The Committee must have quorum to conduct its official business. However, the Committee may operate at a smaller membership for hearings and the review of an RSO’s Disciplinary Probation status provided there are at least three (3) students able to serve, at least one (1) faculty or staff member able to serve, and a majority of the serving members are students. 

To complement the University’s teaching, research, and public service missions, the CSO works to: 

  1. Develop a process designed to strengthen the standards expected of RSOs. 
  2. Provide for an expedient and effective process for handling those situations when the University’s behavioral standards for RSOs are not upheld. 
  3. Educate RSO members on their rights and responsibilities as members of the University community. 
  4. Deter future conduct violations through appropriate sanctioning. 

The Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct applies to all University of Wisconsin-Madison RSOs and shall be deemed a part of the terms and conditions of RSO registration. The Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct applies to all RSOs for conduct that occurs: 

  1. On or off University premises. 
  2. While participating in University and/or organization-sponsored or related activities. 
  3. During school sessions, holidays, breaks, and University closures. 

This detailed process is a tool that both helps protect the rights of RSOs while making sure those organizations are held accountable to their members, the University community, and the community-at-large. The prohibited conduct described in the Organizational Rules of Conduct section below (Section IV) applies to RSO behavior and will not be used to impose discipline for the lawful expression of ideas. The right of all students to seek knowledge, debate, and freely express their ideas is fully recognized by the University. 

Questions regarding the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct may be addressed to the Chair of the Committee or their designee and to the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee. 

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Section II: Definitions 

Advisor is the individual selected by a Registered Student Organization (RSO) to assist them through the disciplinary process. The Advisor may attend meetings with the RSO and advise them through the process, however they cannot serve as a witness or speak on record during a formal Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) proceeding. If a potential Advisor was witness to or knowledgeable of an incident pertinent to the RSO’s disciplinary process, the RSO may have this individual serve as a witness during a formal CSO proceeding, but a different individual must be selected as the RSO’s Advisor for that disciplinary process. 

Anonymous Reports are reports where no one, including the Chair or their designee and the Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or their designee, knows the identity of the reporter. 

Chancellor is the Chancellor of the University or their designee. 

Committee on Student Organizations (CSO or Committee) is the University’s official Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) as originally adopted by the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) and approved as University policy by the Chancellor. This committee is filled with representatives from the ASM Shared Governance process, Center for Leadership & Involvement, Faculty, and Academic staff according to Section I of this policy. The CSO exists to revise and implement the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct and is specifically authorized with judiciary powers in order to review allegations of misconduct by Registered Student Organizations. 

Committee on Student Organizations Chair (Chair) is a student appointed annually by the Committee. The Chair serves as the spokesperson for the Committee and is responsible for bringing information regarding reports to the Committee. 

Day means calendar day, except as specifically noted otherwise in the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct. 

Dean of Students is the Dean of Students of the University or their designee. 

Event means any activity (including all meetings, internal or other), regardless of the location (on or off University property), coordinated by a Registered Student Organization or its representatives to bring people together. 

Financial Records means account statements, checking and savings records, and all other records of receipt or payment of funds from any source of organization funds. 

Investigating Officer is an individual designated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or Dean of Students to conduct investigations of Registered Student Organization misconduct as defined in this policy. 

Preponderance of the Evidence means that evidence, considered as a whole, shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. This is the standard of proof used in disciplinary hearings for Registered Student Organizations. 

Primary Contact means the designated contact person of the Registered Student Organization as listed on the group’s Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN) profile. 

Quorum for the Committee means a majority of the appointed members, unless otherwise provided for in the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct. There must be a student majority and at least three (3) students and at least one (1) faculty/staff able to serve. 

Registered Student Organization (RSO) is a group, composed mainly of, and directed by, students, consisting of at least four (4) students, and which has filed all appropriate registration forms with the Center for Leadership & Involvement (CfLI) and been confirmed by CfLI as meeting the eligibility criteria for registration. 

Reporter is the person, as allowed in the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct, who brings forth information that may allege possible misconduct by a Registered Student Organization. 

Sanction means any action affecting the status of a Registered Student Organization (RSO), as an RSO, that is imposed in response to the organization’s misconduct. The term includes, but is not limited to, a Written Reprimand, Disciplinary Probation, Disciplinary Suspension, Termination, Recommendation for Charter Revocation, and Educational Sanctions. 

Student means any person who is registered for study at the University for the academic period in which the alleged misconduct occurred, or between academic periods for continuing students. 

Title IX Coordinator is defined as a University employee who is responsible for coordinating the University’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX. 

Witness means anyone with knowledge of the incident that the investigating officer or a Registered Student Organization’s representative(s) bring(s) to a hearing. 

University means the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

University Official includes any person employed by the University (e.g. faculty, staff, administration, and residence hall staff) or by a University contractor acting within the scope of their job duties. 

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs means the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs of the University or their designee.

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 Section III: Principles of Group Responsibility 

The following criteria will be used to determine if a Registered Student Organization (RSO) can be held responsible for the Organizational Rules of Conduct (Section IV): 

  1. An alleged violation arises out of an organization-coordinated (e.g. registered, financed, advertised, or otherwise sanctioned) event, where the RSO provided the context for the alleged violation. \
  2. A pattern of individual violations has occurred and/or continues to occur within the organization without adequate control, response, or disciplinary action on the part of the RSO or its executive board members or officers. 
  3. The action resulting in the alleged violation received either implied or overt consent of the RSO or any executive board members or officers of the RSO. 
  4. The RSO or any executive board member or officer of the RSO fails to report and take reasonable action against attendees/members responsible for the alleged violation. 
  5. The RSO overtly places or implicitly allows active members of the RSO to be in a position to act on behalf or with authority of the organization and that action results in the alleged violation. 
  6. The RSO chooses to protect one or more individual offenders who are active members of the RSO from official actions. 

It is not a requirement that all of these criteria be met in order to hold an RSO responsible for the Organizational Rules of Conduct (Section 4). 

It is important to understand that students may be held accountable as individuals under the processes listed in UWS Chapter 14, Chapter 17, and/or Chapter 18 for their conduct, whether the students are acting in an individual capacity or the students are acting as a member of an RSO. 

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Section IV: Organizational Rules of Conduct 

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are expected to abide by the following rules. These rules should be read broadly and are not designed to define prohibited conduct in exhaustive terms. The prohibited conduct outlined in the section applies to RSO behavior and will not be used to impose discipline for the lawful expression of ideas. The right of all students to seek knowledge, debate, and freely express their ideas is fully recognized by the University. Any violation of the following regulations by an RSO may result in disciplinary sanctions against the organization. 

RSOs are not exempt from discipline for such actions which constitute violations of federal, state or local laws and may be subject to additional action by appropriate judicial bodies or governmental authorities. Individual members of RSOs may also be held responsible for violations of UWS Chapter 14, Chapter 17, and/or Chapter 18 for behavior that occurs as part of organizational activity. 

The University may discipline an RSO for engaging in, attempting to engage in, or assisting others in engaging in any of the following: 

  1. Eligibility and Financial Requirements
    • Failure to comply with eligibility requirements (e.g. updating leadership contacts, proper composition and direction, required training completion, etc.) outlined in the Student Organization Resource & Policy Guide. 
    • Failure to comply with the financial regulations (e.g. updating the financial contact, maintaining and sharing Financial Records, etc.) published in the Student Organization Resource & Policy Guide. 
  2. Harmful Behavior
    • Discriminatory Harassment: Discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed other than commitment to the beliefs of the organization, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, or sex, unless pursuant to an exception recognized by applicable federal and state law. Student organizations that select their members or officers on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g. religious or political beliefs) may limit membership, officer positions, or participation in the organization to students who, upon individual inquiry, affirm that they support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs, so long as no student is excluded from membership, officer positions, or participation on the basis of their race, color, creed other than commitment to the beliefs of the organization, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, or, unless exempt under Title IX, sex. 
    • Reckless action that poses a reasonable risk of physical harm to others. 
    • Retaliation against or harassment of reporters, other person(s) alleging misconduct, or any other person participating in this process (e.g. investigating officers and members of the Committee). 
  3. Violation of Law – Conduct that could constitute a violation of any local, state, or federal law, including violations of City of Madison Ordinances and Regulations. 
  4. Damage to or Theft of Property
    • Damage to public or private property. 
    • Failure to exercise reasonable caution to ensure that the Registered Student Organization’s contracted agents and vendors not cause harm or damage to the property of the University, another person, a business, or an organization. 
    • Possession of property that can reasonably be determined to have been stolen from the University, another person, business, or organization. 
  5. Violation of University Policy – Failure to comply with University policies including, but not limited to, the use of University facilities and grounds, fleet vehicles, electronic information technology, and facility reservation contracts. 
  6. Disruptive Conduct
    • Any act that impairs, interferes with, or obstructs the orderly conduct, processes, and functions of the University or any part thereof or the rights of one or more individuals. 
    • Failure to ensure that invitations to events taking place in a University facility are limited to students, faculty, and staff of the University unless an exception is specifically authorized in accordance with appropriate facility use policies. 
    • Knowingly coordinating, sponsoring, cosponsoring, or in any way participating in any event with a Registered Student Organization that has been prohibited from participating in that type of event or has had its Registered Student Organization status suspended or terminated. 
    • Failure to comply with decisions of the Committee on Student Organizations or any other University official regarding complaints arising out of this Policy. 
    • Engaging in obscene or indecent conduct. This definition shall not be interpreted to abridge the rights of the University community to freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and any other applicable law. 
    • Failure to comply with the directives of University officials (or authorized agents) acting within the scope of their duties. 
  7. Possessing or Providing False and Misleading Information
    • Knowingly making a false statement or withholding related information, either orally or in writing, to any University employee, committee, or agent on a matter relating to the activities of the organization or its members. 
    • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any document, material, file, record, or instrument of identification. 
  8. Alcohol Beverages Violation
    • Violations of the Registered Student Organization Alcohol Policy (SOAP). 
    • Use or possession (including distribution) of alcoholic beverages except as permitted by law. 
    • Furnishing, or causing to be furnished, any alcoholic beverage to any person in a noticeable state of intoxication. Indications of intoxication include but are not limited to: slurred or unusually loud speech, boisterousness, crude behavior, aggression, stumbling, drowsiness, and difficulty standing up. PLEASE NOTE: As stated in the Amnesty Through Responsible Action Guidelines, “A representative of a student organization hosting an event is expected to promptly call for assistance if they become aware of an emergency. Failure to call will be considered an ‘aggravating circumstance’ and will be factored into disciplinary action for the student organization.” 
  9. Drug Related Misconduct
    • Unlawful use or possession of any controlled substance. PLEASE NOTE: As stated in the Amnesty Through Responsible Action Guidelines, “A representative of a student organization hosting an event is expected to promptly call for assistance if they become aware of an emergency. Failure to call will be considered an ‘aggravating circumstance’ and will be factored into disciplinary action for the student organization.” 
    • Sale or distribution of any controlled substance. 
  10. Hazing – Hazing is defined as any action, or situation, which intentionally or recklessly endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Hazing includes but is not limited to:
    • Brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to elements, or any other activity which could adversely affect the mental or physical health or safety of the individual. 
    • Forced consumption of any alcohol, food, liquid, drug, or other substance which could adversely affect the mental or physical health or safety of the individual. 
    • Soliciting a person to participate in or being actively involved in the planning of any act meeting the definition of hazing. 
    • Forcing and/or pressuring the violation of University policies and/or federal, state, or local law (including ordinances of the City of Madison). 
  11. Sexual Misconduct – Any violation of the UW-Madison Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. 
  12. Academic Misconduct
    • Unauthorized possession of examination or course-related material. 
    • Commercial use of academic material: Selling of course material to another person without the express written permission of the instructor of record. 
    • Knowingly helping any student violate academic behavior standards. 

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Section V: Registered Student Organization Rights through the Committee on Student Organizations Disciplinary Process 

The following rights shall be afforded to a Registered Student Organization (RSO) during the Committee on Student Organizations Disciplinary Process (Section IV) and shall be provided to the RSO in writing when they are charged with violations of the Organizational Rules of Conduct. RSOs have a right to: 

  1. Receive written notice of the charge(s) made against them, including a brief description of the allegations. 
  2. An Advisor. 
  3. Inspect any information submitted in support of the charge(s). 
  4. Submit information on their own behalf. 
  5. Be presumed Not Responsible for violation(s) of the Organizational Rules of Conduct until found Responsible by a preponderance of the evidence. 
  6. Speak or not speak on their own behalf. 
  7. Question any adverse Witnesses who participate in a formal hearing. 
  8. Appeal. 
  9. Waive any of the above stated rights. 

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Section VI: Committee on Student Organizations Disciplinary Process 

The following processes apply to all Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) alleged to have violated the Organizational Rules of Conduct. Should the RSO be charged with violation of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will be consulted at each step of the process outlined below. 

  1. Reporting Process 
    • Any person (e.g. student, University faculty, staff, or community member) may report an alleged violation of the Organizational Rules of Conduct as provided within the Registered Student Organization Code of Conduct. 
    • A report that an RSO has violated any provision of the Organizational Rules of Conduct must be submitted in writing, via email, or using the online incident reporting form to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) which can be found at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/registered-student-organizations/. OSCCS may also receive referrals from external entities, including law enforcement. While the Committee will review all reports it receives, the submission of anonymous reports can significantly impede the University’s ability to address the incident. Upon receiving a report, the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee will review the relevant information and consult with the Chair of the Committee or their designee to determine whether the information submitted rises to a possible violation of the Organizational Rules of Conduct. The Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee may request additional information regarding the allegation at any time. If it is found that another judicial body has concurrent jurisdiction over the issue, the report may be shared with that group. The Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) Disciplinary Process may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or after proceedings of other judicial bodies. If after reviewing the information it is determined by the Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee that there are no potential violations of the Organizational Rules of Conduct, no formal action will be taken.
    • When deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of any individual or any part of the University (or its community) the Dean of Students or their designee may take immediate action by placing the RSO named in a report on an interim suspension. When placed on interim suspension, an RSO must cease all organization-related activities with the exception of one executive board meeting per week. An RSO may request one review of the interim suspension status. This request will be made to the Dean of Students or their designee who will determine whether the interim suspension will remain in place. The Dean of Students of their designee may keep the interim suspension in place, alter the terms, or remove the status. Interim suspensions will be in effect until either:
      • The suspension is lifted by the Dean of Students or their designee; or
      • The CSO Disciplinary Process is completed. 
    • Notification of all interim suspensions will be shared with the Committee at the next scheduled business meeting following the starting date of the interim suspension. 
  2. Disciplinary Conference 
      • If it is determined that the information in the report indicates a possible violation of the Organizational Rules of Conduct, the report and any additional information warranting disciplinary action will be forwarded to the Director of OSCCS or their designee for investigation with the applicable violations from the Organizational Rules of Conduct identified. Upon receipt of this report and information, OSCCS has thirty (30) days to notify the RSO of the investigation. OSCCS may exercise discretion related to the thirty-day timeline for circumstances that warrant an extension of the timeline. If the timeline needs to be extended, the reasoning will be shared with the Chair of the Committee or their designee. 
      • An RSO charged with an alleged violation or violations of the Organizational Rules of Conduct will be sent notice to attend a Disciplinary Conference with the investigating officer from OSCCS. This notification will be sent to the primary contact of the RSO as identified in the Wisconsin Involvement Network and shall contain the following information:
        • The date/time of the alleged incident; 
        • A brief description of the allegations; 
        • The specific charges pending against the RSO. 
      • The Disciplinary Conference provides the charged RSO with the opportunity to discuss the allegations. During this meeting, the RSO will receive information regarding the disciplinary process including its rights during the process. After discussing the incident and reviewing the relevant information, the RSO has the option to accept or deny responsibility for the charge(s). Should the RSO accept responsibility, the investigating officer, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee, will determine the appropriate resolution option which includes the following:
        • Alternative Case Resolution – Examples of Alternative Case Resolution include but are not limited to Restorative Resolution, Mediation, or Negotiated Settlement. A matter can be referred to Alternative Case Resolution at any point in the CSO Disciplinary Process. In the event parties cannot agree to a successful outcome via Alternative Case Resolution, the case will be referred back to the investigating officer to determine how the case shall be resolved. When a case is resolved via Alternative Case Resolution, the Committee will be notified. If a case is successfully resolved via an Alternative Case Resolution, a Sanctions-Only Hearing for the case may not be requested. 
        • Sanctions, as outlined in Section VII below. 
      • If the RSO denies responsibility for the charges, the investigating officer will continue the investigation of the allegations. After collecting relevant information, the investigating officer will submit a report to the Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee for review. 
      • After consulting with the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee and the investigating officer (if necessary), the Chair of the Committee or their designee shall either:
        • Forward the matter to a CSO Hearing of Responsibility; or 
        • Dismiss the case. 
  3. Hearings
    • CSO Hearing of Responsibility 
      • After receiving the report from the investigating officer, the Chair of the Committee or their designee may forward the matter to a hearing before members of the CSO. The purpose of the hearing is to provide the charged RSO with an equitable forum for review of the information regarding alleged violations of the Organizational Rules of Conduct. 
      • The RSO shall receive written notice of the hearing no less than seven (7) days prior to the hearing, unless the right to this notification is waived in writing by the RSO. Written notice will be sent to the RSO’s primary contact and will include the following information:
        • The date/time and location of the hearing; 
        • The date/time of the alleged incident; 
        • A brief description of the allegations; 
        • The specific charges pending against the RSO. 
      • CSO Hearings of Responsibility are subject to s. 19.85, Stats., Wisconsin Open Meetings of Governmental Bodies, and may be closed if the RSO’s representatives requests a closed hearing or if the members of the Committee determine it is necessary to hold a closed hearing. The charged RSO may have an Advisor present at any point. The Advisor may speak to RSO representatives but cannot address the Committee at the hearing. The Advisor may not participate in the hearing as a Witness. Hearings shall be recorded. 
      • Any Committee member may recuse themself from a hearing. If a clear conflict of interest exists for a Committee member, and the member refuses to recuse themself, the members of the Committee participating in the hearing may recuse the member by majority vote. If the Chair is recused, the Committee shall appoint an interim Chair to handle the proceedings of the report. The Committee may operate at a smaller membership for hearings, provided there is a student majority and at least three (3) students and one (1) faculty or staff member are able to serve. 
      • The following will serve as a guide to the CSO Hearing of Responsibility. The Committee reserves the right to adjust the order of the hearing as necessary.
        • Call to order; 
        • Introduction of hearing format; 
        • Preliminary matters/motions; 
        • RSO response of Responsible or Not Responsible to the charges; 
        • Statement from investigating officer – the Committee and the charged RSO will have the opportunity to ask the investigating officer questions; 
        • Presentation of witness(es) by investigating officer – the investigating officer, the Committee, and the charged RSO will have the opportunity to ask the witness(es) questions; 
        • Statement from the charged RSO – the Committee and the investigating officer will have the opportunity to ask the charged RSO questions; 
        • Presentation of witness(es) by the charged RSO – the charged RSO, the Committee, and the investigating officer will have the opportunity to ask the witness(es) questions; 
        • Final questions by the Committee; 
        • Summary statements – the investigating officer and charged RSO will be given the opportunity to make any closing remarks; 
        • Hearing is brought to a close. 
      • Following the hearing of responsibility, the Committee will meet as soon as reasonably possible to deliberate. Deliberations of the Committee shall be held in closed session, in accordance with s. 19,85, Stats. Within fourteen (14) days of the hearing, the Committee shall issue a written decision, including their rationale based upon the preponderance of the evidence, as to whether the charged RSO was responsible for the charges in the matter. A finding of responsible must be determined by a majority vote by the Committee. 
      • This decision will be delivered to the RSO. If the charged RSO is found responsible, the decision will include sanctions and information on how to appeal the finding and/or sanctions.
    • Sanction-Only Hearing
      • An RSO may request a Sanction-Only Hearing when they have accepted responsibility for violating the Organizational Rules of Conduct and have had their case decided by the investigating officer following their DisciplinaryConference. The RSO may request to have their sanctions reviewed by theCommittee. The request for review must be made in writing, via the online appeal form which can be found athttps://conduct.students.wisc.edu/registered-student-organizations/,withinseven (7) days following the date theRSO was sent the outcome by the investigating officer.
      • An RSO which has accepted responsibility for violating theOrganizationalRules of Conduct cannot request an appeal on the basis of disproportionate sanctions, as outlined in the Appeals section below, unless they have utilized the Sanction-Only Hearing process. 
      • The RSO shall receive written notice of theSanction-OnlyHearing no less than seven (7) days prior to the hearing, unless the right to this notification is waived in writing by the RSO. Written notice will be sent to the RSO’s primary contact and will include the following information:
        • The date/time and location of the hearing;
        • The date/time of the alleged incident;
        • A brief description of the allegations;
        • The specific violations for which the RSO has accepted responsibility.
      • Sanction-Only Hearings are subject to s.19.85, Stats., Wisconsin Open Meetings of Governmental Bodies, and may be closed if the RSO’s representatives requests a closed hearing or if the members of the Committee determine it is necessary to hold a closed hearing.The charged RSO may have an Advisor present at any point. TheAdvisor may speak to RSO representatives but cannot address the Committee at the hearing. The Advisor may not participate in the hearing as a witness.Sanction-Only Hearings shall be recorded.
      • Any Committee member may recuse themself from a Sanction-Only Hearing. If a clear conflict of interest exists for a Committee member, and the member refuses to recuse themself, the members of the Committee participating in the hearing may recuse the member by majority vote. If the Chair is recused, the Committee shall appoint an interim Chair to handle the proceedings of the report. The Committee may operate at a smaller membership for Sanction-Only Hearings, provided there is a student majority and at least three (3) students and one (1) faculty or staff member are able to serve. 
      • The following will serve as a guide to the Sanction-Only Hearing. The Committee reserves the right to adjust the order of the hearing as necessary.
        • Call to order; 
        • Introduction of hearing format; 
        • Preliminary matters/motions; 
        • Statement from investigating officer – the Committee and the charged RSO will have the opportunity to ask the investigating officer questions; 
        • Presentation of witness(es) by investigating officer – the investigating officer, the Committee, and the charged RSO will have the opportunity to ask the witness(es) questions; 
        • Statement from the charged RSO – the Committee and the investigating officer will have the opportunity to ask the charged RSO questions; 
        • Presentation of witness(es) by the charged RSO – the charged RSO, the Committee, and the investigating officer will have the opportunity to ask the witness(es) questions; 
        • Final questions by the Committee; 
        • Summary statements – the investigating officer and charged RSO will be given the opportunity to make any closing remarks; 
        • Hearing is brought to a close. 
      • Following the Sanction-Only Hearing, the Committee will meet as soon as reasonably possible to deliberate. Deliberations of the Committee shall be held in closed session, in accordance with s. 19.85, Stats. Within fourteen (14) days of the hearing, the Committee shall issue a written decision, which includes their rationale. The Committee can determine either of the following:
        • Uphold the sanction(s) issued by the investigating officer; or 
        • Alter the sanctions – the Committee may increase, decrease, or adjust the sanction(s) issued by the investigating officer. A determination to alter the sanctions must be made by a majority vote of the Committee. 

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Section VII: Sanctions 

  1. Written Reprimand – An official warning that a Registered Student Organization (RSO) is in violation of the Organizational Rules of Conduct and any future misconduct by the RSO may result in a more serious disciplinary response from the University. 
  2. Disciplinary Probation – A period of time during which a Registered Student Organization is permitted to remain registered and have access to RSO privileges and benefits upon the condition that it complies with the Organizational Rules of Conduct. Restrictive conditions may be imposed as part of Disciplinary Probation and will vary depending on the severity of the incident. Violation of Disciplinary Probation requirements shall be grounds for further sanctions up to and including Termination. All assigned Educational Sanctions must be completed prior to the conclusion of Disciplinary Probation; otherwise the Disciplinary Probation will remain in effect until the Educational Sanctions have been completed and approved by the Chair of the Committee or their designee. 
  3. Disciplinary Suspension – A temporary loss of a Registered Student Organization’s (RSO’s) University privileges and benefits for a specified period of time, not to exceed four (4) years from the Committee’s decision date. The purpose of Suspension is to provide a focused opportunity for an RSO to address issues that led to its violation(s) while limiting the day-to-day organizational activities of the group. The terms of Suspension include, but are not limited to, ceasing all organizational activity except for one executive board meeting per week. The Committee may allow additional organizational activity that would assist in the RSO’s development. Additional violations of the Organizational Rules of Conduct while under Suspension may lead to Termination. Notices of Suspension will be sent to campus service providers (e.g. central reservations offices, funding providers, etc.). Unless an RSO has a period of Disciplinary Probation following its Suspension, all assigned Educational Sanctions must be completed prior to the conclusion of Disciplinary Suspension; otherwise the Disciplinary Suspension will remain in effect until the Educational Sanctions have been completed and approved by the Chair of the Committee or their designee. 
  4. Termination – The revocation of a student organization’s status and privileges. Terminated organizations are required to cease operations and disband as a Registered Student Organization. 
  5. Recommendation for Charter Revocation – An official request to a Registered Student Organization’s national or international office that the local chapter’s charter be revoked. 
  6. Educational Sanctions – In conjunction with a sanction listed above, a Registered Student Organization (RSO) may be assigned educational requirements. These types of sanctions are intended to provide an RSO with opportunities to repair the harm of their actions and to engage in experiences that will help the RSO to reflect on the behavior and assist in avoiding future violations of University policy. If the RSO has any outstanding (overdue) Educational Sanctions at the end of their Disciplinary Probation or Disciplinary Suspension, the Probation or Suspension status will remain in effect until such time that all requirements are met and approved by the Chair of the Committee or their designee. 

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Section VIII: Appeal Process 

  1. A Registered Student Organization (RSO) found responsible for violating the Organizational Rules of Conduct by the Committee may appeal the finding(s) and/or sanction(s). An RSO that has been assigned sanctions at a Sanction-Only Hearing may appeal those sanctions. The appeal must be made in writing, via the online appeal form which can be found at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/registered-student-organizations/, within seven (7) days following the date the RSO was sent the outcome by the Committee. Appellate jurisdiction for CSO decisions shall rest with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee. Sanctions issued for a case remain active unless the appeal decision modifies these sanctions. 
  2. An RSO may appeal the finding(s) and/or sanction(s) on the basis of one or more of the following: 
    • The sanctions and/or conditions of the sanctions are disproportionate to the violation(s) and the RSO’s disciplinary history. NOTE: An RSO which has accepted responsibility for violating the Organizational Rules of Conduct may only appeal on this criterion after utilizing the Sanction-Only Hearing process; 
    • A procedural defect occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing; 
    • Discovery of new and significant information that would likely change the outcome of the hearing and was not known or could not have reasonably been known at the time of the hearing. 
  3. The RSO must state the reason(s) for the appeal and the recommended solution. An appeal cannot be filed simply because an RSO is dissatisfied with the outcome. The appeal process is not a re-hearing of the conduct case and the decision will be made based on the record of the hearing. 
  4. The appeal will be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee for review to determine if the criteria for appeal have been met. If the appeal does not meet the criteria for appeal, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee will deny the appeal thus sustaining the decision of the Committee. 
  5. If the appeal meets the listed criteria, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee will call together the Ad Hoc CSO Appeals Committee to conduct an administrative review of the appeal. The Ad Hoc CSO Appeals Committee will be made up of the Dean of Students or their designee, one student from the CSO, and one faculty/staff member from the CSO. The members of the Committee may not be made up of individuals who participated in the hearing being discussed. To ensure the availability of such Committee members, hearings will be scheduled to not include at least one student member and one faculty/staff member. The Ad Hoc CSO Appeals Committee shall have access to all hearing-related information. 
  6. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee, in consultation with the Ad Hoc CSO Appeals Committee, may decide the following: 
    • If the RSO alleges that the sanction was disproportionate to the violation and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee finds the sanctions to be disproportionate, they may alter the sanction; 
    • If the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee finds that there was a defect in the procedure or that new information has become available that is sufficiently substantial to the outcome, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee will order a new hearing, remand the matter to the original body that heard the case as appropriate, or send the case back to investigation. 
    • The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee may uphold the findings and/or sanctions issued by the Committee. 
  7. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee will send the RSO a written decision to the appeal. Any decision will contain a written statement explaining the rationale for the decision. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee must respond within thirty (30) days of receipt of an appeal. Decisions of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee reflect final University action. 

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Section IX: Committee on Student Organizations Sanction Review Process 

  1. The Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) Sanction Review Process is an opportunity for a Registered Student Organization (RSO) to demonstrate the steps its members have taken to become productive and engaged members of the University community. 
  2. An RSO, after completing half of their Disciplinary Probation and upon completion of all Educational Sanctions, may request a review of their Disciplinary Probation status. Requests must be submitted via the online form that can be found at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/registered-student-organizations/. An RSO may only request a review of their Disciplinary Probation once per sanction unless otherwise allowed by the CSO. When submitting the request, an RSO should include the following: 
    • A description showing what the RSO has done in response to the original violation beyond the sanctions listed in their outcome letter; 
    • A letter of recommendation from their Advisor (if applicable); 
    • An action plan outlining how the RSO will positively contribute to the University community going forward; 
    • A proposed alteration to the RSO’s Disciplinary Probation. 
  3. Upon receipt of the CSO Sanction Review Request, the Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee will review the information to determine if the RSO meets the criteria for review. If the Chair of the Committee or their designee and the Associate Director of OSCCS or their designee determine the RSO meets the criteria, the Chair of the Committee will contact the RSO to schedule a review meeting with a subgroup of the Committee made up of a minimum of three (3) student members and one (1) faculty or staff member provided a majority of the subgroup is student members. Any Committee member may recuse themselves from reviewing an RSO’s Disciplinary Probation status. If a clear conflict of interest exists for a Committee member, and the member refuses to recuse themselves, the members of the Committee participating in the review may recuse the member by majority vote. The Chair may replace recused CSO members of the subgroup in order to have a minimum of three (3) student members, one (1) faculty or staff member, and a student majority. 
  4. This subgroup of Committee members will meet with the RSO to discuss the submission and why the RSO believes the Disciplinary Probation status should be altered. Following the meeting, the subgroup of Committee members will review the information submitted as part of the Sanction Review and make a determination on the status of the Disciplinary Probation. The subgroup of Committee members may do either of the following: 
    • Deny the request; or 
    • Modify the restrictions and/or length of the Disciplinary Probation status. The Committee cannot alter the original sanctions to increase or add new sanctions. 
  5. If the Committee denies the RSO’s request to alter its Disciplinary Probation status, it may allow the RSO to request another review of its Disciplinary Probation status at a later date. The Committee will communicate this allowance and any stipulations in its decision. 
  6. Within fourteen (14) days of the meeting, the Committee will issue a decision regarding any changes to the RSO’s Disciplinary Probation status, and this decision will be sent to the RSO by the Chair of the Committee or their designee. The Chair’s communication will include a rationale for the basis of the decision. 

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