Student Organizations and Governance is dedicated to supporting the acquisition of experiential knowledge by student organization and student government leaders. We deeply value student initiative and work to provide access to the unique learning environments that student organizations and self governance represent. We encourage student engagement as it creates a sense of belonging, enables access to the campus community, and provides leadership opportunities. Student Organizations and Governance equips student leaders with resources that enable access to assistance in fundraising, conflict management, event planning, navigating the Vanderbilt financial system, and collaboration with peer organizations, departments, and faculty. We facilitate student development, encourage dialogue and appreciation of others, celebrate diversity, and create community, thus empowering students to effectively represent and advocate for the concerns of their constituents. The vision of Student Organizations and Governance is to enable students to become contributing citizens and thoughtful leaders in global societies.
The Office of Student Organizations and Governance, in collaboration with Vanderbilt Student Government, would like to introduce a new online student engagement platform, called Anchor Link. As a part of a new initiative to help centralize and organize student involvement on campus, student organizations will have the opportunity to renew the registration of their organizations, maintain a roster of their members and officers, store their organization’s history through maintaining important documents, advertise their events, and keep track of their on-campus involvement–all within one vibrant online community.
Letter from the Dean
Dear Student Organization Leaders and Advisers,
Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy embodies our commitment to sustaining and nurturing a community in which all students may participate fully in the Vanderbilt experience. Our policy requires that all students are presumed to be eligible for membership in registered student organizations and that all organization members in good standing are eligible to compete for leadership positions, though it is up to each organization to select its own leaders. Below, you will find a statement of the policy and responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ) as well as information about Anchor Link, our online student organization registration platform.
Each March, student organizations may begin to apply for registered status and will be asked to affirm their compliance with our nondiscrimination policy. The staff of the Office of Student Organizations and Governance will remain available to discuss any questions students may have regarding how the policy might apply to specific organization. We ask that all student organizations submit their registration application by April. We encourage organizations to complete the process as soon as possible since we will begin reviewing submissions as soon as we receive them.
We sincerely hope that all student organizations will apply, and that they will satisfy the requirements for registered student organization status for the 2013-14 academic year. We recognize that some groups, including some religious student organizations, may decide not to register. We will respect any such decisions and hope that those groups will continue to be actively engaged with our students and community, albeit without the rights and privileges accorded registered student organizations.
If you have any questions about the registration process, compliance issues, or Anchor Link, please contact Student Organizations in Sarratt Student Center 207 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do every day to lead and support our student organizations; your work enhances the richness of our community and advances our mission. I am honored and privileged to serve as your Dean.
Associate Provost and Dean of Students
Registration and Renewals
Existing student organizations are required to re-register annually to maintain their official status and will complete this process within Anchor Link at https://anchorlink.vanderbilt.edu. New student organizations will go to the “Organization Directory” and click on “Register a New Organization”. Registration materials are reviewed and approved by representatives of the Dean of Students office, provided the organization provides the information requested and agrees to comply with Vanderbilt policies and regulations. Registration for the 2013-14 academic year will begin in March. A list of currently registered student organizations is available here.
Items you will need to complete the Student Organization Registration Process:
1. Name, Vanderbilt Email Address, Cell Phone Number, and VUnetID for the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary;
2. Name, Vanderbilt Email Address and Campus Phone Number and Cell Phone Number for the Faculty or Staff Adviser;
3. Electronic Version of the Organization’s Constitution to upload;
4. Electronic Version of the Officer and Adviser Affirmation Form. You will need to print the form, and have it signed by the President and Adviser(s). The Form will then need to be scanned (can be done in 207 Sarratt) and uploaded as a part of the registration process;
5. Electronic organization profile picture;
6. Vanderbilt.edu email addresses for all members either separated by commas or entered one address per line.
In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with DisabilitiesAct (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Executive Order 11246, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation i , gender identity ii , or gender expression iii . Registered student organizations must be open to all students as members and must permit all members in good standing to seek leadership posts. Single-sex organizations are permissible to the extent allowed under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to Anita J. Jenious, J.D., Director; the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department; Baker Building; PMB 401809, 2301 Vanderbilt Place; Nashville, TN 37240-1809. Telephone 615-32(2-4705) (V/TDD); FAX 615-34(3-4969.)
i. Sexual orientation refers to a person’s self-identification as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual,asexual, pansexual, or uncertain.
ii. Gender identity is generally defined as a person’s own sense of identification as male, female, both, or neither as distinguished from actual biological sex, i.e. it is one’s psychological sense of self.
iii. Gender expression is everything we do that communicates our sense of identification to others
Frequently Asked Questions and Responses Regarding Vanderbilt’s Nondiscrimination Policy
1. What is the importance of Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy for registered student organizations?
Registered student organizations (RSOs) exist under the auspices of the University and therefore must abide by its policies, including the nondiscrimination policy. The University has explicitly listed as prohibited grounds of discrimination those that have historically been frequent bases for invidious discrimination in our society. However, our nondiscrimination policy was not meant to be, and is not, limited to those enumerated grounds. Under our policy, all students are presumed to be eligible for membership in RSOs and all members of RSOs in good standing are eligible to compete for leadership positions. The University has no role in selecting leaders of RSOs; that is for the members of each organization to decide for themselves.
2. What are the benefits of being a registered student organization?
Registered student organizations (RSOs) are entitled to certain privileges, including the use of the Vanderbilt University name to signify their institutional affiliation; eligibility to apply for funding from various sources; participation in the University-sponsored student organization recruitment fair; use of listservs, group mail, and URLs administered by the University; and other resources. Student groups that are not registered are welcome to meet on campus informally or to reserve spaces through the Office of Reservations and Events. Also, non-registered student groups may also communicate with students via email (including University email), social media (e.g., Facebook), and certain bulletin boards and kiosks on campus.
3. Does the University discourage student participation in groups that are not registered?
4. Does the University’s nondiscrimination policy permit RSOs to impose qualification- or performance-based eligibility requirements for membership or leadership?
Yes, as long as such requirements do not serve as pretexts for exclusion based on status or belief. Numerous RSOs have qualification- and performance-based requirements for membership or leadership that are fully consistent with University policy. In general, belief-neutral and status-neutral requirements are acceptable. Some examples:
- Singing groups require students to audition.
- Honor societies and others have GPA cutoffs.
- Groups may require members to pay dues.
- Groups may require members to attend meetings regularly.
- Groups may require that only those students who have been in good standing for a specified period of time or who have served on at least one committee are eligible to be officers.
- Groups may have numerical limits to membership as long as membership is open to all students.
5. Does the University’s nondiscrimination policy permit single-sex fraternities and sororities?
Yes. The University’s policy explicitly incorporates and follows Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which allows for single-sex social fraternities and sororities.
6. Does the University’s nondiscrimination policy permit single-sex RSOs other than fraternities and sororities?
As noted, the University’s policy incorporates and follows Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. In addition to fraternities and sororities, Title IX provides for certain other single-sex groups. Title IX also permits singing groups to establish requirements based on vocal range or quality that may result in single-sex choruses. But such groups must permit all interested students to try out. Single-sex intramural sports teams are allowed pursuant to Title IX where selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or where the activity involved is a contact sport.
7. Does the University’s nondiscrimination policy permit RSOs to impose belief-based or faith-based requirements for membership or leadership?
No. The policy provides that all Vanderbilt students are eligible for membership in all RSOs. The policy requires that any member in good standing of any RSO must be eligible to compete for any leadership post in that RSO. For example, Republicans and Independents are eligible to join the College Democrats, and any member may run for office, though it is up to the members to select their leaders. This is true for all RSOs at Vanderbilt.
8. How can an RSO ensure that the organization’s mission and identity are not compromised by students who want to take it over?
Experience at Vanderbilt and other universities shows that students become members and compete for leadership positions in organizations whose missions they support. RSOs are encouraged to articulate what they do and what they stand for clearly so that students can make informed decisions about which organizations to join. RSOs are also permitted to adopt attendance and other neutral requirements designed to distinguish between students who are genuinely interested in an organization’s purposes and those who are not.
9. How can student organizations ensure that they are in compliance with the nondiscrimination policy?
The Dean of Students and staff in the Office of Student Organizations and Governance are available to consult with student organizations, and students hoping to form organizations, about the organization’s purposes, policies, and practices and to answer any questions about the application of the nondiscrimination policy. The Office of Student Organizations and Governance can be reached at email@example.com and is located in 207 Sarratt.
10. Does the University have any advice for student organizations formulating their policies for approval by the Office of Student Organizations and Governance?
All submissions to the Office of Student Organizations and Governance should accurately reflect the student organization’s mission, policies, and practices. In order to ensure that prospective members of the organization understand what the organization does and stands for, and what will be expected of them as members and prospective leaders, organizational submissions should make clear the organization’s defining characteristics. While membership and eligibility to compete for leadership positions must be open to all, groups are welcome to emphasize the purposes, policies, and practices that make them distinctive.
Policies and Guidelines
For policies and guidelines, please see the Student Organization Manual or the Student Handbook. For more information about student organizations, contact the staff at the Office of Student Organizations and Governance.
Who to Contact
If you have questions about student organizations at Vanderbilt, please contact:
Student Organizations and Governance
Office of Student Organizations
Nashville, TN 37240
615.322.2471 | (fax) 615.343.8081