Accountability and Conduct

RSOs are members of the MSU community. With this membership come benefits and responsibilities.  The General Student Regulations, the Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other student conduct policies form the basis for the behavioral expectations in the MSU community. 
Alleged violations of the RSO Handbook by a RSO will be adjudicated by the Department of Student Life (DSL). Greek-letter chapters affiliated with the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, or Multicultural Greek Council that are registered as a RSO must abide by the conduct policies established by their respective governing body, as well as the RSO Handbook. Alleged conduct violations by individual RSO officers or members will be adjudicated by the Dean of Students Office (DOSO), as prescribed in the Student Rights and Responsibilities.
The extent and terms of disciplinary action against a RSO will depend upon the nature and severity of the infraction, as well as any history of previous violations. A RSO must be in good standing to maintain its registration status.
The primary intent of the RSO disciplinary process is to guide behavior and correct misconduct in a manner consistent with University policies and procedures. Through education and promoting critical decision-making, the disciplinary process seeks to help RSOs avoid future misconduct and repair any harm done. As such, sanctions levied in the disciplinary process will commensurate with the seriousness of the offense, with the understanding that repeat violations may justify increasingly severe sanctions.   
  • Types of Disciplinary Infractions
    • Alcohol:
      • RSO members are prohibited from using or possessing any alcoholic beverages, except as permitted by state law or university policy or ordinance. Alcohol infractions include, but are not limited to, providing alcohol to under-age individuals, alcohol permit violations and possession without permission.
    • Drugs:
      • RSO members are prohibited from using or possessing any drug prohibited by federal or state law, as well as providing such drugs to others.
    • Hazing:
      • In accordance with Michigan state law (M.C.L. 750.411t), hazing is defined as an intentional or reckless act by a person directed against an individual that the person knew or should have known endangers the physical health or safety of the individual. The act is done for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, participating in or maintaining membership in any organization. Examples of hazing include, but are not limited to, physical brutality, placing a harmful substance on the body, sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, activity involving consumption of food, alcoholic beverages or drugs, and activity that induces or requires an individual to commit a crime or act of hazing.
    • Failure to Comply with a University Directive
      • RSO members must not obstruct, disrupt or interfere with the functions, services, or directives of the University, its offices, or its employees.
    • Student Organization Funds
      • RSO members must not mishandle or allocate organizational funds in violation of university policies or procedures.
    • Academic Misconduct
      • A RSO may be subject to discipline if one or more of its members aids or abets other students to cheat, plagiarize or engage in other forms of academic misconduct.
    • Property Damage and Vandalism
      • A RSO will be subject to discipline if any member damages, defaces or destroys the property of another person or the university as a result of reckless behavior or intentional misuse.
    • Other Prohibited Conduct
      • Violating other university policies or regulations will subject a RSO to discipline. Disciplinary action may also be taken if an activity of one or more RSO members at an organization-sponsored event threatened any educational process or other legitimate function of the university, or the health or safety of any member of the campus community.
  • Disciplinary Process for Alleged Infractions
    • Any alleged violation of the RSO Handbook by a RSO must be reported to the DSL. Any student, faculty, staff, student organization or other individual may submit a written complaint against a RSO for behavior on- or off-campus. Allegations of misconduct by individual RSO members must be reported to the DOSO. The DSL may handle a complaint against a RSO concurrently with the DOSO adjudicating a complaint for related misconduct by a member(s) of the same RSO.
    • Any alleged violation of the Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct or the Anti-Discrimination Policy by an RSO or its member(s) must be reported to the MSU Office of Institutional Equity.
    • Upon receipt of a complaint, the assistant director of the Department of Student Life, or designee (assistant director), will investigate alleged violations of the RSO Handbook. The assistant director may gather information from a variety of sources in adjudicating a complaint against a RSO. Where appropriate, the assistant director may attempt to resolve the issue informally through direct discussions with the parties. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the assistant director will proceed with formal adjudication of the complaint.
    • The assistant director will notify the RSO in writing of the complaint, including: (1) the specific policy or infraction that was allegedly violated; (2) the date, place and description of the alleged violation; (3) the name of the complainant; (4) notice of the opportunity to review the complaint in person; and (5) the deadline by which an RSO officer must meet with the assistant director.
    • At the required administrative meeting, the assistant director will inform the RSO officer of their rights and responsibilities under this document, review the complaint, and discuss possible resolution options. At that time, the respondent RSO will be provided a copy of the complaint and may admit or deny the alleged violation.
    • If the RSO fails to meet with the assistant director, or fails to admit or deny the alleged violation within five (5) class days of meeting with the assistant director, the assistant director may take one of the following actions:
      • Suspend the RSO’s status until aa RSO officer meets with the assistant director.
      • Render a decision on the complaint.
    • If the RSO admits to the violation, the assistant director will work towards a resolution in which the RSO takes responsibility for its actions and agrees to the sanction decided by the assistant d This is a negotiated process that allows all parties to find solutions that promote accountability and good decision-making in the future by the RSO.
    • If the RSO denies the violation, the RSO will have the opportunity to submit documents and other relevant evidence to the assistant director and identify witnesses who may have relevant information. The Assistant Director will use a preponderance of the evidence standard to decide whether the RSO committed the alleged policy violation. If it is more likely than not that no policy violation occurred, the complaint will be dismissed. If it is more likely than not that a policy was violated, the assistant director will issue sanctions.
    • The assistant director shall notify the RSO in writing of the decision, including a rationale for the decision, any sanctions issued and notification of the right to appeal.
  • Sanctions
    Sanctions imposed will be based on a consideration of all circumstances in a particular case, including any prior record of misconduct by the RSO. Failure to comply with a sanction may result in the imposition of more severe sanctions. Sanctions may include one or more of the following:
    • Reprimand or warning
      • An official written statement expressing disapproval of the behavior and notifying the RSO that it must not reoccur.
    • Educational sanction
      • The RSO may be required to provide an identified service or participate in a particular program, receive specific instruction or complete a designated assignment or activity.
    • Attainment of Standards
      • The RSO members may be required to attain a specific standard over the course of a designated time period. Examples include organizational grade point average, organizational arrest and citation rate, organizational member retention or organizational member certifications/trainings.
    • Probation
      • An official written statement establishing a period of time for observing and evaluating an RSO’s conduct. If the RSO commits additional violations during the probationary period, more severe sanctions may be imposed. The probation may be accompanied by conditions.
    • Restitution
      • The RSO may be assessed reasonable expenses related to the misconduct, including the repair/replacement cost for any damage to property.
    • Revocation of Privileges
      • A RSO may be denied access to certain university privileges for a definite or indefinite period of time. This may include, but is not limited to, prohibitions on university space usage, bar from receiving and/or expending funds, and suspension from participating in certain student organization and/or university-sponsored events or activities.
    • Loss of Registration
      • A RSO may be involuntarily separated from the university for a specified period of time or permanently.  Conditions for return may be imposed.    
  • Appeals

    Either party may appeal the decision of the assistant director in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services, or designee (VPSAS), within five class days after the decision has been sent to the parties. The appeal must be on the basis that (a) the information presented does not support the decision reached, (b) the information presented does not support the sanction imposed or (c) the procedures described above for adjudicating the case were not followed. Any sanctions imposed will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending. On appeal, the decision may be affirmed, reversed, remanded back with instructions for further investigation or modified as deemed appropriate by the VPSAS.    

  • Temporary Restraining Actions
    The VPSAS, or designee, may impose a temporary restraining action against a RSO, pending the outcome of a disciplinary complaint if the RSO’s continued operation or conduct threatens immediate and irreparable harm to the health or safety of persons or property. 
    Before deciding to take a temporary restraining action, the VPSAS will make a reasonable attempt to notify the RSO of the potential temporary restraining action and offer the RSO an opportunity to present information that it does not pose such a threat. The VPSAS shall consider the nature and potential extent of the immediate and irreparable harm and other alternatives to remedy the situation. If the VPSAS decides to take a temporary restraining action, the RSO shall be required to immediately halt or withdraw the action in question pending the resolution of the disciplinary complaint. 
    The temporary restraining action shall not preclude, render irrelevant or predetermine the outcome of the disciplinary complaint relating to conduct on which the temporary restraining action is based. Nor shall a temporary restraining action create a presumption that the RSO violated any policies.
    The RSO subject to the temporary restraining action may petition in writing to have the restraining action removed at any time.  Such a petition will be considered by the Dean of Students. Within five (5) class days after receipt of the petition, the Dean of Students shall meet with RSO officers for the sole purpose of deciding whether to continue or remove the temporary restraining action.         
Updated 21 May 2021