Bylaws and Policies

Bylaw 5100

1 Purpose

  1. This bylaw will only apply to Student Groups registered with the University of Alberta Students’ Union.
  2. The conduct and discipline of individual students at the University of Alberta are outlined in the University’s Code of Student Behaviour and other relevant University policies and procedures.
  3. The conduct and discipline of Student Groups registered with the University of Alberta is outlined in University of Alberta policies and procedures.

2 Definitions

  1. Student Group: refers to any group of students applying for or having received official recognition from the Students’ Union. “Student Group”, “group” and “club” can be used interchangeably.
  2. Risk to Persons: referring to any situation wherein there is a reasonable chance that the health, safety, and/or overall well-being of one or more persons could be compromised or threatened.
  3. Risk to Property: referring to any situation wherein there is a reasonable chance of damage, destruction, or vandalism to property which does not belong to the Student Group.
  4. Student Group Committee: The committee of Students’ Council defined in SU Bylaw responsible for overseeing Student Group management within the SU.
  5. University Community: Individuals or groups affiliated with the University of Alberta.

3 Student Group Code

  1. Rights of Student Groups
    1. To have clear rules and expectations for how the Students’ Union expects the group to conduct its activities while registered as an SU Student Group.
    2. Have the right to due process when complaints or problems arise, including but not limited to:
      1. To have clear rules and expectations for investigation by the Students’ Union and the Student Group Committee decision-making process, and know those rules in advance of the commencement of any investigation or decision-making process.
      2. To see evidence against them, and have the opportunity to prepare their defence or explanation in advance of needing to defend themselves or of a decision being made.
      3. Have the opportunity to appeal any decision made to a separate appeals body.
      4. To not be held accountable as a group for the unsanctioned and/or unpreventable actions of a single member or event participant, where the student group has taken reasonable precautions to prevent such actions.
      5. Be informed of disciplinary action and have their appeal heard in a timely manner.
    3. To not be disciplined for actions of past members or executive teams that occurred more than two years previously.
      1. Such actions may be investigated, and comment on the investigation results may be issued.
      2. Such comment on past complaints or offences may affect future rulings where they are indicative of systemic or long-term problems for the group.
    4. To not be subject to frivolous or malicious complaints.
    5. To have access to the privileges as outlined in section 4.1 of this bylaw.
  2. Rights of the University Community
    1. Not be retaliated against for filing or withdrawing a complaint or an appeal.
    2. Know results of investigations launched due to a complaint they made.
    3. Know the reasons for decisions made regarding a complaint they made.
    4. Withdraw their complaint at any time, for any reason.
    5. Any member of the University may file a complaint against a student group and have their complaint thoroughly investigated where necessary.
      1. Complaints from outside the University of Alberta will be responded to at the discretion of the SGS Staff receiving the complaint.
  3. Prohibited Behaviour
    1. Hazing - the practice of rituals or other activities involving harassment, abuse, or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group or as a requirement for their continued membership.
    2. Willful disregard for the group’s recognized constitution.
    3. SU Legislation violations - the group must adhere to all SU Legislation that applies to them.
    4. Serious financial mismanagement, theft, or fraudulent activity.
    5. Not conducting free and fair elections - executives must be chosen by election, where all members are entitled to an equal vote, votes are conducted by secret ballot, and the election must be administered by an impartial officer.
      1. Where separate membership categories exist, all members of the same membership category must be entitled to an equal vote as others in the same category.
      2. Exceptions may be granted by request to the Student Group Committee in cases where elections are not possible due to the size or mandate of the group.
    6. Creating an unacceptable risk to persons or property;
    7. Through intention or negligence, causing damage or harm to property not belonging to the group.
    8. Behaving in a discriminatory manner, such as refusing membership or services, to someone on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, or ability.
      1. Exceptions may be granted in cases where such discrimination is inextricably bound, in a reasonable and justifiable way, to the stated purpose or mandate of the group.
    9. Creating or disseminating physical or digital material that attacks, threatens, or discriminates against any individual, group, or institution, including but not limited to:
      1. Material that is sexist, racist, homophobic, or defamatory.
    10. Through noise, obstruction, or other means, significantly impairing the functioning of regular activities including classes, labs, meetings, town halls, forums, lectures, and scheduled University, SU, or GSA events.
      1. Exceptions for political activity may be made at the discretion of the Student Group Committee.
    11. Retaliating against anyone who files a complaint against a group.

4 Student Group Recognition

  1. Student Groups that are recognized by the Students’ Union will have access to the following privileges:
    1. Ability to book space with the SU;
    2. Use of the SU’s name and insignia;
      1. For rights to the University of Alberta name and insignia, a group must be recognized by the University of Alberta.
    3. Ability to rent SU property and equipment;
    4. Where practical, exclusive use of the group’s name on campus;
    5. Ticket distribution for events through InfoLink;
    6. Eligibility to receive funding provided through the Student Group Granting Program;
    7. Access to the SGS Executive VIP Card and its associated discounts;
    8. Access to discounted booking rates for SU venues;
    9. Student Group related training, professional development, advising, and support services from SGS and Discover Governance.
  2. Student Group Services (SGS) will be responsible for the administration of Student Group recognition, including but not limited to:
    1. Annual recognition renewal with previously-recognized student groups;
    2. Initial (“new group”) recognition for student groups that have not been previously recognized;
    3. Imposing a temporary freeze on recognition and associated privileges pending the completion of an investigation where a group’s activities pose an immediate risk to persons or property;
    4. Derecognizing a student group under the direction of the Student Group Committee.
  3. Registration submissions will be reviewed and applicants will receive feedback and/or notifications of review within three weeks of submission.
  4. Registrations will be approved or denied as soon as is feasible after being reviewed.
  5. SGS may forward a group’s recognition application to the Student Group Committee for review and final decision when they cannot automatically approve or deny recognition of the group.
  6. Where SGS has automatically approved or denied recognition, a request for reconsideration may be submitted to the Student Group Committee by contacting the Chair and/or the Council Administrative Assistant, to be reviewed at the next meeting of the Committee.
    1. Groups will be informed of the reconsideration process at the time of their application denial.
    2. Requests for reconsideration can be made by members of the group who are in good standing as per the group’s relevant legislation, or any voting member of Students’ Council.
    3. Requests for reconsideration must be received within four months in which the approval or denial took place.
  7. Recognition agreements will have a term limit of one calendar year from the last day of the Student Group’s stated elections month.
    1. Student Groups wishing to renew their recognition agreement will have a grace period of one month following their elections month, during which SGS will make the registration application available, without suspending student group privileges.
    2. A Student Group which fails to submit a renewal application by the end of the stated timeline will have their Student Group privileges suspended until a submission is received and approved by SGS.
  8. Any group seeking Student Group Recognition must:
    1. Have a mandate that does not work directly against the values or legislation of the University of Alberta Students’ Union;
    2. Have a minimum of 10 current University of Alberta Students on its official membership list;
      1. Exceptions may be granted by SGS or the Student Group Committee on a case-by-case basis.
    3. Provide opportunities for undergraduate student involvement;
    4. Provide a constitution that outlines, at minimum, the following:
      1. The official name(s) of the Student Group;
      2. The process by which a student can join the membership;
      3. A description of the officer positions and their roles and responsibilities;
      4. If the group will be handling money, financial management processes including bank account maintenance, indication of at least two (2) and not more than four (4) positions to have signing authority, maintenance of detailed financial records, and the direction that all assets collected and held by the group will be used in fulfilling the group’s stated purpose, objectives, and goals.
      5. A fair and democratic process for selecting officers;
      6. A process for dissolving the student group should members decide to end the group’s activities, including what will happen to any assets, financial or otherwise;
      7. A group’s constitution cannot contradict any other requirements of Student Groups specified in this Bylaw.
    5. Complete a suitable recognition application as requested by SGS.
  9. SGS may deny a group’s registration if:
    1. The group does not meet the minimum administrative requirements in their application;
    2. A group applying for initial recognition has a name or title that substantially mimics or duplicates that of an existing recognized Student Group or on-campus service, which would reasonably confuse one for the other, or a Student Group that has been derecognized by the Student Group Committee within the last three (3) years.
  10. The Student Group Committee may deny a group’s registration if:
    1. The group’s name, mandate, bylaws, or planned activities are deemed to be discriminatory, derogatory, or in violation of University and/or SU values, legislation, rules, or regulations;
    2. The group’s planned activities pose an unacceptable level of risk to persons or property.

5 Event Registration

  1. Student Groups that are recognized by the Students’ Union may register their events with the SU to gain access to SU spaces, venues, and insurance policies.
    1. Event registration status will not affect a group’s ability to advertise or continue planning their event.
  2. Student Group Services (SGS) will be responsible for the administration of event registration.
    1. SGS will respond to all event registration applications within five (5) business days or twenty-four (24) hours of the event taking place, whichever occurs first.
    2. When necessary, SGS can request an extension of five (5) business days from the Student Group Committee.
  3. SGS may forward a group’s event submission to the Student Group Committee for review and final decision when they cannot automatically approve or deny the event.
  4. Where SGS has automatically approved or denied an event application, a request for reconsideration may be submitted to the Student Group Committee by contacting the Chair and/or the Council Administrative Assistant, to be reviewed by the Committee.
    1. Groups will be informed of the reconsideration process at the time of their application denial.
    2. Requests for reconsideration can be made by members of the group who are in good standing as per the group’s relevant legislation, or any voting member of Students’ Council.
    3. Upon receiving the request, the Committee will make a decision on the request at their next meeting, or within two (2) calendar weeks, whichever occurs first.
    4. If the Committee requires more time to make a decision, they may extend the reconsideration period by up to two (2) calendar weeks.
    5. Where an extension has been granted, the Student Group shall be informed of the length and reasons for the extension within a reasonable time frame.
  5. Any group registering their event must submit a complete event registration form.
    1. Events that require SU business, venue, or equipment rental, that may require special or additional insurance, or that may require special licensing or other external authorization, must submit their event registration at least two (2) calendar months from the event date.
    2. Events that only require a meeting room booking must submit their registration at least 48 business hours from the time of the event.
  6. SGS may deny a group’s event registration if:
    1. The group does not meet the minimum administrative requirements in their application;
    2. Registration is not received with enough time to book an event;
    3. The event would pose an unacceptable level of risk to persons or property.
  7. The Student Group Committee may deny a group’s event registration if:
    1. The event’s name or planned activities are deemed to be discriminatory, derogatory, or in violation of University and/or SU values, legislation, rules, or regulations;
    2. The event would pose an unacceptable level of risk to persons or property.

6 Complaints Against Student Groups

  1. Relevant parties:
    1. The group against which the complaint was filed, referred to hereafter as the respondent;
    2. The complainant;
    3. Student Group Services;
    4. The Students’ Union Executive and Discover Governance for all cases involving Student Representative Associations;
    5. The Graduate Students’ Association for all cases involving groups registered with the GSA;
    6. The Dean of Students for all University registered Student Groups.
  2. Receiving Complaints
    1. Any student, staff member, or Student Group member may submit a complaint or concern regarding a student group to SGS staff.
      1. Complaints from individuals or organizations outside of the University Community may be responded to at the discretion of SGS.
  3. Responding to a Complaint
    1. Within one week, SGS must notify all relevant parties of the complaint received, rules allegedly broken or damages allegedly caused, and the process moving forward to address the complaint.
    2. All relevant parties will be informed that informal conflict resolution or mediation is available and that they may access informal mediation at any time, provided the complaint is not serious, and all parties consent.
    3. If SGS intends to conduct an investigation, the SU staff member assigned to their case must inform all relevant parties of the process, their expected involvement, and their rights and responsibilities throughout the investigation.
    4. If SGS intends to launch an investigation, the group will continue to function in good standing until the investigation is complete.
      1. Notwithstanding section 6.3.d., SGS may temporarily freeze a group during the investigation period if that group’s ongoing activities could cause tangible risks to persons or property.
      2. The temporary freeze will last for up to one (1) calendar month, or until the completion of the investigation and the ruling of the Student Group Committee, whichever occurs first.
      3. If more time is needed to investigate or make a decision, the Student Group Committee may choose to extend the temporary freeze by up to one (1) calendar month, after which the freeze will be lifted.

7 Student Group Complaints Against Individuals

  1. Complaints may be brought by a group against an individual student if the group is having trouble with a member, or if an individual student outside the group is causing trouble for the group.
  2. All parties will be informed that informal conflict resolution or mediation is available and that they may access informal mediation at any time, provided the complaint is not serious, and all parties consent.
  3. The Students’ Union will not conduct investigations on individual students.
  4. If necessary, the complainant may be referred to the Code of Student Behaviour or the Individuals At Risk Program.

8 Investigations

  1. Investigations of Student Group activities and complaints against Student Groups will be conducted by a Student Group Services staff member, to be assigned at the time that SGS chooses to initiate an investigation.
    1. When necessary or advisable, SGS may delegate the investigation to another SU staff member, provided that staff member is:
      1. Able to remain impartial during the investigation;
      2. Not named as a party in the complaint; and,
      3. Not acting as an advisor to any party named in the complaint during the investigation period.
    2. The investigation shall not last longer than one (1) calendar month.
      1. Notwithstanding, the staff conducting the investigation may request an extension of up to one (1) calendar month from the Student Group Committee if necessary.
  2. Principles
    1. Investigations will be objective and impartial, with consideration for the standards of natural justice and adherence to relevant governing legislation.
    2. Investigations will not be used as a form of discipline, and further action will not be considered until the investigation is complete.
      1. If SGS has reason to believe the group poses a significant risk to persons or property, they may impose a temporary freeze on a Student Group’s activities during the investigation period as per section 6.3.d of this bylaw.
    3. Staff will make reasonable efforts to ensure all involved parties have a full understanding of the process and relevant rules before the investigation begins.
    4. Evidence will be collected fairly and without bias.
    5. Respondents will be given a reasonable chance to present their own evidence.
    6. Respondents will be provided with the details of the complaint, rules allegedly broken, damages allegedly caused, and a reasonable amount of time to consider the allegations before being expected to provide evidence or explanation.
    7. All evidence will be considered carefully and without bias towards or against any party involved in the investigation.
    8. Student Groups will be given reasonable opportunity to contact and consult with advisors or mentors of their choice, and may bring those advisors or mentors to any meetings.
  3. Before launching an investigation into a complaint, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Involved parties do not wish to access informal mediation.
    2. The nature or contents of the complaint indicates one or more of the following:
      1. The complaint refers to existing Students’ Union rules that may have been broken or tangible damages that may have been caused;
      2. The complaint can be addressed under Students’ Union rules;
      3. The complaint does not appear to be vexatious or malicious in intent;
  4. If the complainant and respondent wish to access informal mediation after the investigation has begun, the investigation may be halted.
    1. Any investigation findings collected up to that point will be kept on file until the issue is resolved.
    2. The investigation may be continued if informal mediation is not successful, or if evidence suggests that the group or its activities could pose a risk to persons or property in the immediate future.
  5. The SU staff member conducting the investigation will contact as many of the relevant parties as possible to collect information regarding the complaint, including but not limited to:
    1. The complainant;
    2. The respondent;
    3. Witnesses; and
    4. Any other stakeholders who may be able to provide information or context for the complaint.
  6. Investigation Reports
    1. Upon completion of the investigation, the SU staff assigned to the case will compile a report for the Student Group Committee.
    2. The report will include, at minimum, a summary of information collected, what rules were broken, what damages were caused, and the relative severity of the infraction.
  7. Past complaints or contraventions may be considered to provide context when considering the appropriate response, provided they are relevant to the case and are not more than 5 years old.
    1. Unconfirmed rumours or unfounded past complaints will not be included as information in the report.
    2. Based on the findings, the SU staff member conducting the investigation may recommend an appropriate response in the report.
      1. The Student Group Committee is not obligated to implement any recommendations made in the report.
    3. Upon completion, the report will be forwarded to the relevant parties in the case for review, and the Student Group Committee to make a decision.
      1. All involved parties will also be provided with information on the next Student Group Committee meeting and the process for appealing Committee decisions.

9 Student Group Committee Decisions

  1. The Student Group Committee may meet to make decisions and rulings as per Bylaw 100, the Bylaw 100 Schedule, their Standing Orders, and any other relevant legislation.
  2. Decisions must be made at the next meeting of the committee, or within two (2) calendar weeks of receiving the item, whichever occurs first.
    1. If the committee requires more time to make a decision, they may vote to extend their deadline by up to two (2) calendar weeks.
  3. Parties involved in a Student Group investigation may attend any Student Group Committee meeting at which the report for their investigation is being reviewed.

10 Student Group Appeals

  1. Challenges to Student Group Committee decisions may be initiated within two (2) calendar weeks of the decision by the following:
    1. Any Student Groups affected by the decision;
    2. Parties named in a complaint or investigation of a student group.
    3. Any voting member of Students’ Council.
  2. The following Student Group Committee decisions may be challenged:
    1. Denial of Student Group recognition;
    2. Denial of Student Group event registration;
    3. Actions taken in response to a complaint against a Student Group.
  3. All challenges to decisions made by the Student Group Committee will be heard by the DIE Board in a Panel of First Instance.
  4. Rulings of the DIE Board regarding Student Group Committee decisions may be appealed in accordance with Bylaw 1500 and the DIE Board Protocols.
  5. DIE Board may, at their discretion, modify or overturn Student Group Committee decisions brought before them in a Panel of First Instance or a Panel of Appeal.