Student Handbook

Chapter 3: Community Life

Freedom of Expression / Vanderbilt Visions / Vanderbilt Community Creed / Undergraduate Student Governance / Graduate and Professional Student Governance / Student Communications / Study Abroad Programs for Undergraduates / Student Activities / Advisers to Student Organizations / Scheduling Activities / Sound Amplification and Noise / Publicity, Promotion and Advertising

Regulations concerning community life have been established to ensure opportunities for effective participation for all.

Freedom of Expression

  • Meetings open only to members. A campus organization may invite any person to address its members, but organizations must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with the Office of Schedules and Reservations, Sarratt Student Center, and demonstrate ability to pay for associated costs.
  • Meetings open to the Vanderbilt community. An organization may invite any person, approved by the majority of its members, who represents a point of view pertinent to the occasion to speak to an assemblage of the Vanderbilt community, provided that the sponsorship of the event is consistent with the purposes of the organization.
  • Registered student organizations may also order films to show on campus. The motion picture titles shown on the Vanderbilt campus are cleared by the distributors for public performance exhibition. This means that Vanderbilt has the legal right to show titles before groups of students, faculty, and their friends on campus. The "home use" versions of these same titles, obtained from video stores, etc., are not cleared by the distributors for public performance use by the university, because proper licensing fees to the copyrights owners have not been paid for such use. Films, videos, or DVDs should not be shown to dorm audiences, clubs, organizations or fraternities or sororities without first obtaining a public performance license. The Office of Schedules and Reservations, 208 Sarratt Student Center, ext 2-2448, can provide additional information.
  • Normal procedures for assemblies of this nature include registering in advance with the Office of Schedules and Reservations, Sarratt Student Center, so as to ensure the adequacy of arrangements, minimize schedule conflicts, reserve space, and demonstrate ability to pay for costs incurred.
  • Meetings open to the public. For open meetings sponsored by campus organizations, normal procedures must be followed by obtaining prior approval through the Office of Schedules and Reservations.
  • Disruptive activity. Vanderbilt students engaging in disruptive action or disorderly conduct are subject to University disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion. Vanderbilt students and others may also be subject to criminal prosecution.
  • Limitations on meetings. The University may restrict the times and places of organization meetings in campus facilities. A campus organization denied permission to sponsor an assembly may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.
  • Sponsorship. A student organization that sponsors an activity will be responsible for registration, arrangements, publicity, costs incurred, and the conduct of the participants. The Dean of Students or the dean's designee must approve access to University facilities for requests from individual students who wish to use the facilities for a speaker of their choosing. Off-campus groups may cooperate with a campus organization in a campus event, but the campus organization remains fully responsible for the conduct of the off-campus group. Off-campus groups or individuals wishing to use University facilities independently must conform to University policies and must request access through the Office of Schedules and Reservations.
  • Distribution of printed statements. Persons who distribute printed materials are responsible for the contents. Students may distribute leaflets, informational sheets, or similar materials on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, if the distributors position themselves so as to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials.

Information about the sale of printed statements, etc., and the display of posters can be found in the sections "Sale and Solicitation" Sale and Solicitation and "Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising" Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising. Campus organizations sponsoring events involving controversial persons or views are responsible for providing for the safety and well-being of their guests. Arrangements must be made with the Office of Schedules and Reservations.

Vanderbilt Visions

Vanderbilt Visions is a program for all first-year students. The program is designed to help new students better understand the norms and values of an academic community, the value of liberal learning, and the transitional issues faced by first-year students. All first-year students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled Vanderbilt Visions seminars and activities. Any student failing to do so will be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures.

Vanderbilt Community Creed

Individuals who join the Vanderbilt University community embark on a lifelong journey toward greater intellectual enlightenment and personal growth. Those who aspire to this purpose share an obligation to honor the principles that define Vanderbilt. The University's enduring tradition of excellence is preserved when the community is united by a common set of values:

SCHOLARSHIPis the pursuit of knowledge in an environment of academic freedom. Members of our community engage in a partnership of learning in which the exploration of ideas is encouraged and protected.

HONESTY is a commitment to refrain from lying, cheating, and stealing. Recognizing that dishonesty undermines community trust, stifles the spirit of scholarship, and threatens a safe environment, we expect ourselves to be truthful in academic endeavors, in relationships with others, and in pursuit of personal development.

CIVILITY is the genuine respect for the rights of others. We value constructive disagreement and are mindful of the potential impact of our words and actions.

ACCOUNTABILITY is taking responsibility for our actions and their consequences. We accept the duty to actively participate in the decisions that affect our academic and personal lives, and we honor our commitments to ourselves and to others.

CARING is the concern for the well-being and dignity of others. We are dedicated to supporting one another within our community. We make a lifelong commitment to channeling service, knowledge, and experience toward the betterment of humanity.

DISCOVERY is the exploration of the wonders of self in relation to a larger world. We embrace the opportunity to take risks, challenge assumptions, and understand disparate experiences at Vanderbilt and beyond.

CELEBRATION is the active appreciation of Vanderbilt University's tradition of excellence. We support the endeavors and recognize the achievements of our community members. In celebrating the expressions of our differences, we delight in the spirit that unites individuals throughout our community.

We pledge to foster the values set forth in the Vanderbilt Community Creed and confront behaviors that threaten the spirit of our community.

Undergraduate Student Governance

The University recognizes a representative student organization that serves as a channel for student opinion for each school. Recognition has been extended by the University, in consultation with the Office of Student Activities, to the following governing bodies:

Arts and Science Council. Membership includes the presidents of all registered academic majors' associations plus one freshman and one sophomore student representative. The president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer are elected by the students of the College.

Blair Council. Membership is represented by elected members from the classes and by an elected Executive Committee.

Engineering Council. Membership includes elected representatives from each of the classes, the president, and one elected representative from each registered professional society.

Student Association of Peabody College. The association is directed by an Executive Committee, and members are elected at large by students of Peabody College. Each class also has a representative on the Executive Committee.

Interhall. Interhall is the governing body of residence halls which acts as a liaison between residents and the Office of Housing and Residential Education. All students in residence are members.

Panhellenic, National Pan-Hellenic, and Interfraternity Councils. The Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which govern the activities of the Greek social organizations, are composed of representatives from each registered national sorority and fraternity on campus.

Student Government Association. The SGA has two divisions: the Student Senate and the Executive Board. The Student Senate is composed of five senators from each class (two from Arts & Science, one from Peabody, one from Engineering, and one from Blair). The Senators represent their respective classes in the Senate, and assume one of the following roles: Vice President, Committee Co-Chair, or Committee member of one of two all-Senator Committees. Ten members form the Executive Board with six Vice Presidents mirroring the University administrative structure, featuring positions such as Vice President of Finance, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Community Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs.. These positions are elected from the senate, by the senate, and each Vice President is charged with overseeing a varying number of specific and related Committees.

In accordance with University policies, the purpose of the Student Government Association is as follows:

  • To provide a means whereby undergraduates may effectively express their views and interests to other components of the University and to the outside community in matters which affect their social, cultural, physical, and academic welfare;
  • To stimulate effective student organizations and to coordinate their activities for the benefit of the Vanderbilt educational community; and, to provide for the development and coordination of activities and services beneficial to Vanderbilt students and the University community;
  • To maintain effective student representation and participation in the decision-making process of the University.

Student Finance Committee. The Committee is a representative student group which annually allocates to student organizations funds collected as student activities fees. Membership comprises two SGA senators from each class, a representative from the Graduate Student Council, a student representative from the professional schools, two student representatives appointed by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee, a member of the faculty, and two ex officio members: the Director of Student Governance, who serves as the committee's advisor, and the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

Graduate and Professional Student Governance

The Graduate School and all of the professional schools and/or programs have representative student organizations that serve as channels for student opinion.

Graduate Student Council of the Graduate School. Membership consists of one elected representative from each department, but any graduate student may participate.

Graduate/Professional Student Association of Peabody College. Membership consists of representatives elected by students in each department. This body coordinates academic, social, and other activities significant to the student community and is also available to the administration and faculty for consultation regarding concerns of the students in Peabody College.

Vanderbilt Bar Association. Membership consists of students of the Law School who are directed by a Board of Governors elected by the classes.

Student Council of the Divinity School. Membership consists of editors of the two student publications and representatives from the various levels of academic training.

Council of Class Officers (School of Medicine). Membership consists of elected officers from each class.

Graduate Nursing Council. Membership consists of representatives of each of the five clinical majors in the M.S.N. program.

Owen School Student Association (OSSA). The Executive Council membership consists of five second-year representatives and four first-year representatives, but all registered candidates for Owen School degrees can participate in OSSA activities. OSSA provides leadership and coordination for professional and social activities.

Student Communications


Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC), is a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the University that publishes and supervises the Vanderbilt Hustler, the campus newspaper; the Commodore yearbook; Versus, a general interest magazine; The Vanderbilt Review, an annual literary-photo magazine; The Torch, a libertarian and conservative publication; The Slant, a humor publication; Orbis, a liberal and minority viewpoint publication; WRVU, an FM radio station; and Vanderbilt Television, VTV Channel 6; and VSC-IT, a technology service group. VSC also operates the Tennessee High School Press Association for state high school journalism students and teachers

Publications for general distribution to the University community or to persons outside the membership of a student organization and publications funded directly by the student activities fee are under the exclusive authority of VSC.


Any student organization, supported directly or indirectly by the University, financially or otherwise, wishing to print and distribute a newsletter, must be registered by the Office of Student Activities and must advise the Office of their intention to publish. Newsletters should inform members of the organization or interested persons about news and activities relevant to that student group, but should not be a journal of opinion.

Other Publications

Distribution of publications not produced by Vanderbilt organizations must conform to University policies regulating the use of University facilities.

Study Abroad Programs for Undergraduates

Through the College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt has established the following direct-credit programs of study abroad:

  • Vanderbilt in France, Aix-en-Provence
  • Vanderbilt in Germany, University of Regensburg
  • Vanderbilt Program in Israel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (currently suspended)
  • Vanderbilt in Spain, Madrid
  • Vanderbilt in Spain, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca
  • Humanities in London (summer program only)
  • International Studies in London (summer program only)
  • Study at University of the Americas (UDLA) in Puebla, Mexico
  • Junior Year Abroad Program, a two-semester, direct-credit program at Homerton College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, for qualified students in any major

Through Peabody College, Vanderbilt has established the following opportunity for study in Cambridge, England:

  • Student Teaching Program, a summer program that partially fulfills teacher certification requirements for seniors majoring in elementary education

Vanderbilt participates in selected Council on International Educational Exchange's (CIEE) programs in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and Taiwan. Vanderbilt also participates in selected Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) Butler University programs in Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and Scotland, as well as CET programs in China, in Siena and Florence, Italy, in Prague, The Czech Republic, and in the DIS program in Copenhagen, Denmark and in the IES program in Vienna, Austria. In addition, Vanderbilt sponsors the following study abroad opportunities:

  • The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome
  • Study at Rikkyo University in Tokyo
  • Summer study at the Free University of Berlin
  • Study at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea

In general, the policies and regulations in the Student Handbook apply to students registered for the Vanderbilt study abroad programs, although some additional regulations may apply. Students on academic or disciplinary probation, or those with a financial hold, may be prohibited from participating in study abroad programs. Specific regulations for students enrolled in study abroad programs are available from the program directors, from the Study Abroad office, or from the Offices of the Deans of the respective undergraduate college schools.

The resident directors of Vanderbilt study abroad programs (Vanderbilt "Ins") are responsible for academic matters. They are also responsible for co-curricular and disciplinary matters, within the limits of the policies established by the University.

Students are required to abide by the laws of the particular country with respect to the age at which alcoholic beverages may be consumed. Otherwise, all of the policies with respect to alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs included in this Handbook apply. Students are subject to disciplinary action including expulsion and referral for prosecution for violation of these policies.

Undergraduate students enrolled in a study abroad program will be charged only for that portion of the Student Activities Fee allocated to the Commodore yearbook.

Student Activities


To be eligible for participation in any contest or activity other than a social one, or to act as a representative of Vanderbilt in any public exercise, a student must be a full-time student of the University (as determined by the academic policies of the school in which he or she is registered). A student on disciplinary probation may not hold a leadership position, including (but not limited to) Admissions Tour Guide, Summer Academic Orientation Leader, Vuceptor, or Resident Adviser. Student organizations and University departments may have additional eligibility requirements.

A student must be full time and not on academic or disciplinary probation to be eligible to hold office in a student organization or to be a division head or business manager of a VSC division. For undergraduates, full-time registration is defined as being registered for and carrying twelve hours per semester during the regular academic year or nine hours in the summer. Also, an undergraduate student must maintain a cumulative C average. For clarification, see "Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation" in Chapter 5.

Eligibility standards that exceed these minimum standards may be set by student organizations or their governing bodies.

Requests for exception or waiver of eligibility regulations should be made through the Dean of Students or the dean's designee with the recommendation of the appropriate governing body.

If a student's participation in co-curricular activities threatens academic performance, the University may counsel the student about the scope of these activities. If a student is subjected to disciplinary action, restrictions may be placed on campus co-curricular activities for the period of the sanction.


The University may regulate the campus activities of organizations whose activities relate to the University's educational and service purposes. An organization whose membership includes students is under University jurisdiction when it seeks:

  • Financial support from the University
  • Use of University facilities for regular business (as in the case of campus publications)
  • To hold meetings on University premises
  • To solicit funds from, or make sales to, members of the University community on campus
  • Inclusion of the name "Vanderbilt," or titles indicating University affiliation, such as "Black and Gold," "VU," or "Commodore," in the name of the organization
  • Use of campus address or campus mail services
  • Representation in student government
  • To advertise and promote the organization and its purposes on campus

The Office of Student Organizations registers undergraduate and graduate student organizations within the Vanderbilt community. Sport clubs must have approval from the Director of Campus Recreation. In addition, religious groups must have approval from the Director of Religious Affairs. Political groups must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee. Volunteer and/or service organizations must be approved by the Director of Active Citizenship and Service. Greek organizations require approval of the Director of Greek Life.

Student organizations must reapply for registration yearly. All organizations must have current membership and policy information on file in the Office of Student Organizations.

The registration application will include a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, and names of officers and advisers. An organization must affirm that it does not discriminate unlawfully on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation (see the See "Statement on Sexual Orientation" in the "Foreword" of this Handbook), age, military service, disability, or national or ethnic origin, and that activities will be conducted in the spirit of this affirmation. Also, an organization must affirm that it will conduct its activities in accordance with all University policies and federal, state, and local laws.

To be eligible for registration, an organization must:

  • Be organized and run by officers who are full-time student members of the Vanderbilt community
  • Have at least one full-time, permanent Vanderbilt faculty or staff member as an adviser
  • Maintain all funds on deposit in an account of good standing through the Accounting Office and follow appropriate accounting procedures. (Special conditions apply to fraternities, sororities, and Vanderbilt Student Communications.)
  • Be funded by its members or the University
  • Limit its voting membership to Vanderbilt students, faculty, or staff members. (A limited number of other persons may be elected to honorary or associate membership without voting privileges.)
  • Have purposes that do not overlap significantly with those of any other registered organization

A registered organization may hold meetings on campus, in accordance with space reservation procedures, and advertise and promote itself on campus. Meetings or other activities scheduled off campus may not be listed in the Vanderbilt Register except by special authorization from the Office of Student Organizations. Requests for exceptions to any of these policies must be directed to the Office of Student Organizations.

Officially recognized organizations may use the University's name for purposes generally consistent with the organization's purpose and its usual activities or to identify themselves as campus groups (such as the Vanderbilt International Student Association). However, no organization is authorized to make any contractual commitments or binding statements on behalf of the University.

An organization may not use slogans or make statements that purport to speak for the University. For example, statements or slogans such as "Vanderbilt Backs Libertarians" may not be used by organizations unless they have been authorized to speak for the University. Published statements must carry the name of the responsible individual or organization. Unauthorized use or imitation of the official Vanderbilt stationery is prohibited.

Fraternities and Sororities

Fraternities and sororities must register annually with the Office of Student Organizations. The Greek Advisers assist with the registration and the coordination of their activities. The Greek Adviser is also a liaison between these student groups and the University and between the University and the fraternity and sorority national organizations. For information about policies relating to these groups, visit* Fraternities and sororities must be members of the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, which have governing responsibilities and disciplinary authority over their member groups. Disciplinary actions may be taken against fraternities and sororities by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) judicial boards for violations of fraternity, sorority, or University policies. Violations of University policies may also fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Conduct.

Membership. The IFC and Panhellenic Council administer the recruitment programs for their member groups. NPHC organizations each administer their own recruitment programs.

The IFC, Panhellenic Council, and NPHC set a minimum academic requirement to join a Greek organization; however, most chapters have higher academic standards. To be eligible for fraternity or sorority membership, students must have carried and passed twelve semester hours. In addition, those seeking membership in NPHC or IFC organizations must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.3. Those seeking membership in Panhellenic organizations must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.5 Advanced Placement credits are not applicable and summer school credits apply only for upperclass students.

Establishing Additional Fraternities and Sororities. Proposals for the establishment of additional fraternities and sororities may be made to or initiated by members of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, or Panhellenic Councils. If approved by the appropriate council, the proposal is forwarded to the Greek Advisers for consideration. Upon the recommendations of the councils, the Greek Advisers, and the Dean of Students or the dean's designee, the University may invite a national organization to colonize a new fraternity or sorority.

Advisers to Student Organizations

Campus organizations are required to have advisers. Assistance may be obtained from the Office of Student Organizations concerning financial responsibilities, interpretation of policies and procedures, and methods for obtaining a faculty or administrative adviser.

Advisers are available to counsel and advise officers and members of the organization regarding their responsibilities and to help oversee the activities and finances of the organization. The adviser is expected to be aware of the financial status of the organization to help ensure that the organization remains solvent. Advisers do not have the authority to prohibit the expression of editorial opinion by a campus publication. Please see the Student Organization Manual for a more detailed listing of guidelines and requirements (*).

Scheduling Activities

Registration of Meetings, Concerts, Lectures, and Special Events

University organizations are required to register all co-curricular programs and events (meetings, concerts, lectures) with the Office of Schedules and Reservations, 208 Sarratt Student Center (322-2448), at least two weeks prior to the event (at least three weeks prior to outdoor events or major events, such as concerts, dances, etc.). Registrants should consult the Student Organization Manual for complete procedures.

The University has established a priority system for events and a means to oversee the policy. These events in order of priority are:

1. University Events (e.g., Orientation Programs, Commencement). No other events may be scheduled during these times.

2. Primary Events (e.g., Alumni Reunion, move-in weekend, the housing random selection process, Family Weekend). Other events may be scheduled only with the approval of the coordinator of the primary event or the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

3. Campus Events (all other co-curricular programs and activities). Office of Schedules and Reservations: 208 Sarratt, ext 2-2448.

Scheduling conflicts will be resolved by the Office of Schedules and Reservations. Appeals of scheduling decisions regarding University, Primary, and Campus events may be forwarded to the Dean of Students of the dean's designee.

Event Registration

Procedures for registering recurring regular meetings, as well as special events, concerts, and lectures, can be found in the Student Organizations Manual.

In addition, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • The Special Event Registration process is designed to support all outdoor events, large scale events (events open to the entire student population, Vanderbilt or Nashville community) and events with alcohol. Reservations should be made at least two weeks in advance (three weeks if requesting a tent or extensive set-up for an event). If the event is canceled, reservations must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance to avoid charges. Outdoor events requiring a tent or extensive setup need to be canceled two weeks prior to the event date to avoid charges.
  • For registering fraternity or sorority functions, there are additional forms to complete and submit to the Office of Greek life.
  • Postbaccalaureate groups may serve alcoholic beverages to members who are of legal age to drink, if nonalcoholic beverages and food are also served. All other applicable policies must be observed. See Chapter 9, "Alcohol and Controlled Substances".
  • Undergraduate groups may not serve alcoholic beverages except with the authorization of the Dean of Students or the dean's designee. Undergraduate students who are of legal age to drink may possess and consume alcohol at events registered and approved for consumption of alcohol. See Chapter 9, "Alcohol and Controlled Substances".
  • Permission must be obtained through the Special Events Registration process to hold a social event or other meeting to which persons other than Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff will be invited.
  • In-town events should be registered as early as possible but at least five class days in advance.
  • Social activities scheduled on weeknights must end at 11 p.m. so as not to interfere with students' sleep or study, or other events on campus.
  • Events which require amplification (for musical instruments, stereos, vocal performances, or public address) may not take place at times or locations which will interfere with scheduled class times or other previously scheduled events and must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

Student Travel

Vanderbilt registers and assumes responsibility only for those official overnight or out-of-town trips sponsored and directed by an administrative division of the University (e.g., the marching band). The University assumes no responsibility for events sponsored by groups such as sororities and fraternities. However, such organizations must-in advance of the trip-inform their advisers (the Greek advisers in the case of fraternities and sororities), and report information regarding out-of-town events to the Office of Schedules and Reservations.

Any student who wishes to travel on behalf of or as a representative of Vanderbilt University or any approved student organization must receive written authorization in advance from the appropriate dean. (See also the section entitled "Universal Waiver" in Chapter 5.)

Reserving Facilities

Only registered organizations (or those with registration pending) may reserve the use of campus buildings and facilities. Reservations must be made in advance.

For nonacademic uses of most Vanderbilt facilities, reservations are made with the Office of Schedules and Reservations. Reservations for Dudley Field, VU Track, Memorial Gym, or McGugin Center are made with the Department of Athletics in McGugin Center.

A basic charge is made for most facilities. Some facilities are available for use by student organizations without charge; if, however, the facilities will require more than ordinary housekeeping services after use, the organization must pay for the additional service.

Requests for Exceptions

The responsibility for compliance with the foregoing regulations for social events lies with the sponsoring organization. Requests for exceptions should be made at the time of registration through the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

Sound Amplification and Noise

Functions or special events which require electronic sound amplification (for musical instruments, stereos, vocal performances, or public address) must be registered with the Special Events Registration Committee and approved by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee. Electronic amplification may not be used in the vicinity of classroom buildings, the library, the hospital, or the apartments for family housing. Use of outside amplification at any event or function held in close proximity to the residence halls must involve consultation with the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Sound amplifiers may not be positioned without authorization in such a way as to provide outside amplification (e.g., inside buildings or on porches).

Due to the capacity of certain automotive speaker systems to disturb the quiet of the campus, use of these systems at sufficient volume to be heard outside of the vehicle is prohibited.

Authorization for late evening concerts or events to be held outside and where campus-wide attendance is expected may be granted for Friday and Saturday nights, with the hours set at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the dean's designee. Individual groups having parties primarily for the benefit of the group or at an informal rush function may be granted authorization for afternoon or twilight concerts or events, as appropriate. Outdoor amplification equipment may be used with activities such as late afternoon or early evening pep rallies, speak-out programs on Rand Terrace, twilight concerts, and carnivals, etc., so long as they do not interfere with scheduled academic or administrative activities.

Moderate sound amplification for informal listening on decks and patios of Greek houses and residence halls is permitted from 4pm to 8pm on Fridays, and noon to 8pm on Saturdays. The Dean of Students or the dean's designee may issue additional guidelines for activities routinely permitted without specific authorization, such as weekend music playing in fraternity row. These guidelines may be revised upon the recommendation of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, or Panhellenic Councils, or other student representative groups, or upon the initiation of the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

Sound amplification-whether specifically authorized or informal, inside or outside-may be monitored by University officials, student representative groups, or IFC or Panhel representatives. Monitoring may include on-site inspections and the use of a decibel meter.

Local laws prohibit the use of amplification outdoors between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am if a facility is within fifty feet of a residence except when exempted for a special event or gathering and if a permit is issued by the Metropolitan Nashville Government. At all times, consideration should be given to the neighboring communities as stated in the "Good Neighbor Guidelines".

Amplification which violates University policy or local ordinances may be discontinued at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the dean's designee, or a representative of the Dean of Students (including officers with the University Police Department, or directors in the Office of Housing and Residential Education).

Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising

Distribution of Notices in Campus Mail Boxes (See "Mail Services" in Chapter 4), Display of Posters, Banners, and Printed Announcements

Notices that provide information regarding student activities or academic matters, or make announcements pertinent to the business of the University may be posted on campus. Commercial advertising matter and posters unrelated to the University are prohibited since advertising opportunity is provided in campus publications. Individuals who advertise services to students (e.g., typing or sale of books) may post small notices on bulletin boards.

Notices must carry the name of the responsible campus organization or department.

Notices, posters, flyers, banners, etc., may not use logos or trademarks of alcoholic beverages, or mention or refer to alcoholic beverages or their availability at an event. "B.Y.O.B.," as shorthand for "Bring Your Own Bottle," may be used on postings, etc., for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process.

Nails, tacks, tape, or staples may not be used to attach posters to trees or buildings, but posters and banners may be tied to tree trunks with string. Stakes bearing signs may not be driven into the ground.

Bulletin boards at Rand Hall, Sarratt Student Center, and kiosks at Stevenson Center and Kissam Quadrangle may be used for poster display. Bulletin boards in classroom buildings, however, are reserved for announcements concerning academic programs. Notices may be attached to kiosks or bulletin boards with thumbtacks, but they may not be stapled or taped anywhere. Notices may not be posted on automobiles.

Student groups may place posters that measure no more than 36" by 48" on the posting boards attached to the exterior walls of Rand. Each organization is limited to one poster or flyer, regardless of size, on each board.

Permission to display banners in any residence hall must be obtained from the appropriate area Assistant Director for Housing and Residential Education. Permission to hang posters in the interior of Rand Hall must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Dining.

Posters that are not removed within three days after the date of an event, will be removed by the University, and the person or organization responsible for them will be charged for their removal. Organizations will be held financially responsible for enforcing these policies with candidates for their respective offices. If an organization continually violates these policies, it may lose the privilege of posting notices or have its registration withdrawn. (See the Student Organization Manual for more specific information.)

Hand-Painted Signs and Banners

Hand-painted signs and banners should be made with acrylic latex house paint, which can be cleaned up with water. This paint will not dissolve in water or run, once dry. If a poster or banner stains the surface to which it is attached, the responsible student or organization will be charged for the stain removal.

Permission to paint designated windows in the dining or housing areas must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Dining or the Director of Housing and Residential Education, respectively.

Sale and Solicitation

These regulations apply to the sale or distribution of goods and services and the solicitation for, promotion of, and advertising of any item, program, or service.

The following guidelines generally apply:

  • Sale and/or promotion are limited to activities permitted under municipal, state, and federal laws. Individuals and groups must conform to local licensing laws. Authorized sales and/or promotions must not disrupt the normal operation of the University.
  • Tax-exempt property of the University may not be used as the place of business for profit of on- or off-campus groups or individuals. Facilities of the campus, including Rand Hall, Rand Terrace, Sarratt Student Center, Dudley Stadium, the Student Recreation Center, and Memorial Gymnasium, may not be used for the sale or promotion of activities that are not related to the University except by arrangement with the appropriate University office.
  • Sale of newspapers and newsletters must be authorized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration. Papers may be sold in vending machines on Rand Terrace and in specified, pre-approved residence halls.
  • Concession arrangements for athletic events and all events at Memorial Gymnasium are made with the Department of Athletics.
  • Arrangements for sale or solicitation at Rand Hall or Rand Terrace, by registered organizations or by University departments, are made with the Office of Schedules and Reservations. (See the paragraph below on Sale and Solicitation by student organizations.) Businesses may not use a University post office box as a business address.
  • Students registered with the Office of Housing and Residential Education may serve as on-campus agents of their own businesses. They may solicit business through the campus media and provide services such as distribution of newspapers in the residence halls. Commercial advertising using bulletin boards must be authorized by the Director of Housing and Residential Education. Campus mail boxes may not be used for commercial advertising unless the advertising is handled as regular U.S. mail with necessary postage paid. University affiliation or endorsement may not be stated or implied in the business address or business name of individuals or groups doing business on campus.
  • Door-to-door solicitation or promotion in residence halls by off-campus organizations and businesses is prohibited. Written authorization of the Director of Housing and Residential Education is required for student door-to-door solicitation, promotion, or distribution of literature. Solicitation for insurance and the like may take place in residence halls only with the invitation of the student. Campus newspapers and other similar publications may be distributed in the lobbies of residence halls where containers to prevent littering are provided by the student organization.
  • Sale or solicitation by a registered organization is permitted to the members of the group and/or to the campus community. No approval is required for the operation of dining rooms and rental of living quarters by fraternities and sororities, sale of foodstuffs and beverages in the Overcup Oak and the Stonehenge Cafe, sale of tickets for admission, and occasional sale of items for fund raising when the funds are for the use of the organization in its regular activities and are deposited into the organization's University account. These activities may not be promoted off campus except when the activity also serves the similar interests of other academic institutions and, therefore, is promoted on other campuses as in the case of concerts and lectures. The Dean of Students or the dean's designee must authorize any advertising or publicity to the general public.
  • The location of the sale(s) must be approved by the Office of Schedules and Reservations.
  • The Director of Housing and Residential Education may regulate times and places of delivery of items, including foodstuffs such as cakes and pizzas, or gifts such as flowers.
  • The Dean of Students or the dean's designee must authorize the solicitation for donations by Vanderbilt organizations for off-campus organizations.

Student Organization Fundraising

Organizations that are registered with the Office of Student Organizations have a variety of options available to them for funding their organization and its programs. Before considering any of these options, an organization should:

  • Define its goals and plans for the year.
  • Create an itemized budget for annual needs and/or any special projects, based on those goals.
  • Determine what monetary support the group already has, e.g., membership dues, Student Activities Fee money, etc., and learn about other potential sources.
  • Calculate what kinds of funds are needed, and be able to articulate how this money will be spent.
  • Consult its adviser to ensure the budget plans are feasible.

The various options available to student organizations for funding are described in detail in the Student Organization Manual, but can be summarized as follows:

The Student Activities Fee

Students enrolled in Vanderbilt University pay a Student Activities Fee. The Student Finance Committee (SFC) makes annual allocations from these fees to registered student organizations that sponsor programs, projects and services that benefit the students who have paid the fees. Applications for a regular allocation are available in January, and are due to the Student Finance Committee at the end of February for funding in the following academic year. In general, programs must demonstrate a wide campus appeal and be available to all students (including graduate and professional students) free of charge or at a reduced rate, and must enhance the overall educational, social, and cultural climate available to all students.

Due to the nature of the Activities Fee's purpose, certain organizations and programs are ineligible for receiving regular activities fee allocations. Further, funds allocated by the Student Finance Committee are subject to some restrictions on their use. For more information on student organization eligibility and programming restrictions for activities fee money, consult the Student Organizations Manual, available from the Office of Student Organizations, 207 Sarratt as well as online at*

Co-Sponsorships or Department Allocations

Many student organizations and student programs can be subsidized by grants or allocations from academic or administrative departments. If the program or organization derives from an academic discipline (e.g., the Chemistry Majors Association) or complements the academic experience, the corresponding academic department is the best place to solicit funding. Many administrative departments may also be willing to supplement programs or services. To solicit their financial support, it is best to schedule an appointment with a member of that department to discuss partnerships which benefit both the organization and the department. For more information on co-sponsorships, consult the Student Organization Manual, available from the Office of Student Organizations, 207 Sarratt.

Dues, Ticket Sales, and On-campus Fundraisers

Registered student organizations are entitled to charge dues to their membership. Dues must be deposited in an organization's University account upon receipt. Registered groups may also charge admission to events, provided that the primary purpose of sales is to raise money for the benefit of the organization, or for the benefit of a charitable group, and not for the benefit of individual members of the organization. In accordance with Tennessee state law, students may not sell tickets for a raffle or lottery. Drawings for door prizes awarded to ticket-holding participants at an event are permitted.

No approval is required for the sale of tickets for admission, or for the sale of items for fund raising when the funds raised are solely for the organization or its charity and are deposited into the organization's University account. Students must make arrangements with the Coordinator of Schedules and Reservations to reserve a table or room to sell tickets or items. Students must also secure the approval of the Director of Housing and Residential Education in order to sell or deliver items door-to-door in the residence halls.

Sales and promotional activities must be conducted by members of the registered student organization. No organization may sponsor the sale of goods or services to students on behalf of a non-Vanderbilt commercial enterprise, except where the sales activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as Orientation, Homecoming, or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee.

For information regarding other on-campus sources of funding, consult the Student Organization Manual, available from the Office of Student Organizations, 207 Sarratt.

Off-Campus Fundraising

If an organization has exhausted all other sources of funds on campus, it may be possible to solicit funds from sources off campus. Funds can be obtained in several ways: through solicitation of parents and alumni, solicitation of area merchants and large corporations, and invitations for co-sponsorship or gifts in kind from businesses.

Guidelines for Soliciting Parents and Alumni

The Office of Institutional Advancement maintains some historical records of student organization membership, and may be able to provide a student organization with mailing labels of the organization's alumni. To obtain a set of labels, a group may call Development and Alumni Relations at 322-2929 to determine if there is a list of its organization's alumni. If so, the group may obtain written approval from its student organization adviser, and provide this approval letter and a copy of its solicitation letter to Office of Institutional Advancement for review. If the purpose of the solicitation and the letter's content are approved, labels will be provided.

If the organization or program is relatively new, does not meet criteria for funding from other sources, or does not have alumni labels available to it, the organization may solicit parents and alumni for contributions. Before beginning a campaign, student organization leaders must submit a one-page summary of the program or project's mission and budget to the Office of Student Organizations. If all other funding options have been exhausted, and the program is consistent with the organization's goals and compliments the University's mission, the Office of Student Organizations will refer the proposal in writing to the Office of Institutional Advancement for assistance. Pending their review, the Office of Institutional Advancement will assist student organizations with approved proposals.

Guidelines for Solicitation of Area Merchants and Corporate Sponsors

Area merchants and corporations can contribute to student organization endeavors in two ways: by a simple donation of money, items, or merchandise, or by a donation of money, items or merchandise in return for some recognition, an arrangement sometimes known as co-sponsorship.

1. An organization that plans to solicit an area merchant or corporation for a simple donation or gift with a value of less than $1000 must notify the Office of Student Organizations in writing of its plans and instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Records (201 Alumni Hall, Nashville, TN 37203-9977).

2. An organization that plans to solicit an area merchant or corporation for a simple donation or gift with a value greater than $1000 must secure authorization from the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, 322-3683 and instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Records.

3. Before an organization invites an area merchant or corporation to "co-sponsor" an event by contributing any amount, it must receive authorization from the Office of Student Organizations. Generally, student groups may acknowledge the assistance or contribution of co-sponsoring merchants or corporations in programs, banners, displays, or event memorabilia (party favors, T-shirts, caps, etc.). Sponsorship is the passive listing of the name or logo of a sponsor tastefully displayed on a T-shirt or banner, or listed among sponsors in a program. (It is not intended to solicit business. It simply acknowledges the support of the team, the event, etc. The Office of the Dean of Students does not endorse advertisements for off-campus businesses, such advertisements being those that are designed to bring more business to the off-campus concern.) Student groups may not permit co-sponsoring merchants or corporations to conduct sales or sales promotion, or distribute free samples in conjunction with any student organization program or event, unless the sales promotion activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as Orientation, Homecoming or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee. Co-sponsorships by alcoholic beverage or tobacco brands or distributors are prohibited.

As is the case with student organization and departmental co-sponsors, groups are strongly recommended to develop a written co-sponsorship agreement with external co-sponsors. Written agreements should list time and date of program, the agreed-upon responsibilities of all co-sponsoring parties, and the required signatures of all co-sponsoring parties. Sample agreements can be obtained in the Office of Student Activities once co-sponsorship plans are approved. It is not necessary for co-sponsoring agencies to send contributions to Gift Records.

Grants and Foundations

Many private and corporate foundations and federal agencies have funds or grants available for organizations seeking funding for educational or service programs. Grant writing requires a great deal of research, but can yield positive results. The Office of Sponsored Research (322-2631) is a good resource for additional information.

Soliciting for Charity

Student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, may solicit the student body for charitable purposes. The following guidelines apply:

  • Solicitation must be registered and approved by the Office of Student Organizations.
  • Up to 15 percent of the gross funds collected may be used to recover costs incurred in the solicitation-the rest must be turned over to the recognized charitable organization.
  • Donations to reimburse expenses incurred by the student organization over the 15 percent may be solicited independently if the purpose of this solicitation is clearly stated.
  • Financial reports of expenses, incomes, donations, sales, and disbursements must be made available to the Office of Student Organizations and the appropriate student governing body.
  • Organizations may solicit using Vanderbilt in their names if they comply with these policies.

Violations of these policies will subject the officers of the organization to disciplinary action by the Conduct Council, and the organization may also lose its registration. Organizations failing to distribute at least 85 percent to the charity may be required to make up the difference from other organization funds.

Requests for exceptions to these guidelines should be made in writing to the Office Housing and Residential Education at least two weeks before the solicitation.

The Office of Student Organizations has responsibility for enforcing these policies and prescribing the conduct of those who participate in charitable solicitation. It is the responsibility of the individual student or organization doing the solicitation to comply with these policies and the prescribed conduct. Student organizations soliciting for charitable purposes will be required to comply with state and local laws regulating charitable solicitations.

Vanderbilt University Charitable Giving Policy

As a not-for-profit educational institution, Vanderbilt University seeks and receives the support of the community through its delivery of health care, its athletic programs, its participation in the commercial real estate market, and its status as a corporate citizen, as well as in other ways.

Nashville has a strong tradition of charitable fundraising and a tradition of generous participation in charitable dinners by the corporate community. Although Vanderbilt University raises funds in the Nashville community for its own academic and research programs, it actively participates in this tradition both through in-kind contributions to community services, particularly in those areas that are related to Vanderbilt's mission, such as education, and in occasional instances through financial contributions to fundraising events.

Charitable donations in lieu of sending flowers in memory of the bereaved may be made by the University if the donation does not exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

All contributions will be made in the name of Vanderbilt University and Medical Center.

Soliciting for Religious Activities

The Director of Religious Affairs coordinates religious activities. Student religious groups, after being registered by the Office of Student Organizations, will be assisted by the Office of the University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries in fulfilling their aims insofar as these are consistent with other University policies.

Campus religious groups must be registered, and registered religious groups must have faculty advisers. Representatives of off-campus organizations may be invited onto the campus for specific purposes, but these representatives may not interfere with the self-determination of campus groups. Representatives of religious organizations may visit residence hall rooms only with the prior invitation of the resident students of those rooms.

Off-campus representatives of religious organizations may meet with groups on campus and assist them in fulfilling their aims (when these are consistent with procedures established in this section of the Student Handbook) only after securing the written permission of the Director of Religious Affairs. This permission may include a letter of introduction to the University provided by the Director of Religious Affairs and will specify procedures to be followed. The Director of Religious Affairs will assist in providing meeting places.

Solicitation for religious purposes by on- or off-campus groups or individuals is governed by the same regulations stated in the sections "Publicity, Promotion and Advertising" and "Student Organization Fundraising". Specifically, persons are strongly discouraged from approaching individuals whom they do not know in order to recruit them for religious reasons. Note that employees may not engage in religious solicitation in their job settings. Dormitory visitation by individuals from off campus are to be at the invitation of a particular student, for a particular time, in that student's room, only, and with the permission of that student's roommates, if any. For example, persons who are invited to visit in a dorm room may not recruit on the hall among other students. The policy also prohibits the use of any common spaces in dormitories or campus buildings for recruitment, training, prayer groups, or any other activities unless the group is a registered student organization.

Vanderbilt does not infringe on any individual's religious freedom. Indeed, the University encourages the free flow of religious ideas as well as lively debate among persons from varying religious persuasions. However, Vanderbilt will endeavor to protect students and others in the University community from unauthorized solicitation.

For further information concerning religious solicitation, students should consult the Office of the University Chaplain (*).

Soliciting for Employment

Employment representatives (including current students who may be employed with an organization) who wish to recruit students for any type of job must register with the Career Center, 220 Student Life Center, 322-2750. Arrangements must be cleared in advance and specific procedures must be followed.

Organizations recruiting anywhere on campus must obtain Career Center permission. Recruiting includes the posting of bulletin board notices for jobs, hosting employment-related meetings, or distributing materials on campus. All approved notices must clearly state the organization, product or service involved, and a job description. Notices may not be posted on automobiles, distributed in the residence halls, or posted on any other unauthorized space on campus.

Employers who wish to post positions electronically for internships or full-time permanent employment should forward notices to the Career Center by email at To post part-time jobs or student employment jobs electronically, employers should contact Student Employment in the Financial Aid Office at 615-322-3591 or* Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in the prohibition of future recruiting activities by the offending organization.