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Organization Advisory Committee

The Organization Advisory Committee (OAC) is designed to help advising departments adopt consistent standards for recognition; including initial recognition, renewal of recognition and other matters involving student organizations.
Students interacting at the 2012 activity fair

The OAC ensures that each of the five advising departments is fair and consistent and that every Student Organization is meeting the Living the Liberal Arts goals through annual assessments from each Advising Departments. 

In addition, the OAC makes recommendations to the Provost, Dean of the College, or other respective designees on establishing additional Advising Departments. The OAC also hears appeals from actual and prospective Student Organizations that were denied or revoked recognition by an Advising Department.

The OAC is the advisory body designated to act on behalf of the University to ensure that Advising Departments adopt consistent standards for initial recognition, renewal of recognition, and other matters involving Student Organizations covered by this Relationship Statement. The OAC is composed of one student and one faculty or staff member from each advising department, and is chaired by the Dean of Students.

The 5 advising departments include:
1. African, Latin, Asian, and Native American Cultural Center (ALANA)
2. Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI)
3. Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE)
4. Office of Chaplains 
5. Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs


What is an Independent Student Organization (ISO)?

An ISO means an organization established by Colgate University students to pursue a common interest. An ISO can be established by any group of students that petitions an Advising Department for recognition, and that can demonstrate, to their respective Advising Department, it meets requirements of the Relationship Statement, as well as the requirements for their respective Advising Department.

What is a Sponsored Student Organization (SSO)?

An SSO is operated by a University department, office or unit, rather than by students. Each SSO is established to serve the goals of the sponsoring department, office or unit, which oversees its operations and provides it necessary advice and financial support. SSOs are not subject to the Relationship Statement, and exist at the will of their sponsoring departments, offices and units.

What are the Organizations of Excellence Goals?

The Organizations of Excellence goals, also known as the Living the Liberal Arts goals are the common set of principles that complement the education mission of the University. These goals serve to enhance campus life, create opportunities for social interaction, and foster personal growth. These goals are as follows:

- Intellectual Development
- Citizenship, Leadership and Service
- Diversity, Access and Inclusion
- Personal Growth, Health and Wellness
- Accountability
- Lifelong Connections

Furthermore, it is the expectation of each recognized organization that the relevant principles and potential initiatives below are present in their organizational strategic planning, goal setting, and operations. The Organizations of Excellence document is a guide to help a group set relevant goals and can be reviewed annually.

For more information on the Living the Liberal Arts goals, or Organizations of Excellence Goals, see APPENDIX A in the Colgate University Student Organization Relationship Statement.

What are the annual assessments every student organization is evaluated by?
Annual assessments for Independent Student Organizations differ from that of Fraternities and Sororities. See the link below for the respective annual assessment that these two types of organizations are evaluated.

How are Independent Student Organizations (ISO) evaluated?
ISOs shall operate and be evaluated in accordance with University policy and Living the Liberal Arts goals. Each ISO is expected to respect both community standards and the rights of others. Each group is accountable for transparency and fairness in considering potential new members, as well as the behavior of its members and its invited guests at events sponsored (or co-sponsored) by the organization. Pledging and hazing are prohibited.

In addition, the appropriate ISO officer(s) are expected to attend workshops focused on leadership and skill development, organized by the University and Student Government Association every semester. ISO Presidents and Co-leaders must annually sign a hazing attestation statement, acknowledging that they have read and understood the University hazing policy.

How are Fraternities and Sororities evaluated?
Fraternities and Sororities should be affiliated with a national or international organization, support the mission of the University as an academic institution seeking to provide students with a superior education in the liberal arts, and promote student conduct consistent with the principles of their founding.

Organization Advisory Committee Bylaws


All members of the OAC, other than the Chair except as provided below, have a single vote; provided, however, that the student and faculty/staff representatives of an Advising Department shall abstain from voting on appeals from decisions by their Advising Department to deny initial recognition or renewal of recognition of a Student Organization. All motions, decisions, and recommendations of the OAC are determined by simple majority vote of those present and voting. In the case of a tie vote, the Chair will cast a tie breaking vote. Members of the OAC may not vote by proxy, and must be present at a meeting in person, or if the Chair deems appropriate by conference telephone or similar communications equipment allowing all members to hear one another at the same time, in order to vote.


Quorum will be 8 members plus the Chair, with at least one student or faculty/staff representative from each Advising Department. If quorum cannot be reached the meeting will be rescheduled.

Duties and authority of Chair

The Chair will preside at all meetings of the OAC and will have authority to resolve any procedural questions or disputes arising in the course of a meeting.


Meetings will be twice a semester and will be coordinated by the Dean of Students. Additionally, the Dean of Students may call a meeting of the OAC outside of quarterly meetings as necessary to discuss issues that, in the Dean’s discretion, should not await the next scheduled quarterly meeting.

Selection of OAC membership

The Director/Head of each Advising Department or their designee will serve as the Advising Department’s faculty/staff representative on the OAC, and will serve as long as they hold their position as Director/Head of the Advising Department. Student representatives are determined independently by each Advising Department and serve for a term consisting of an academic year or until earlier resignation or removal by their Advising Department. Student OAC members must be in good academic standing, and students who have been found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct and received a sanction of probation or suspension are not eligible to serve as OAC members. A vacancy created during the term of office of a student member may be filled pursuant to paragraph C above, for the remainder of such term, by the Advising Department that appointed the student. Students may serve multiple terms on the OAC.

OAC membership

The OAC shall be chaired by the Dean of Students. In addition, one faculty or staff representative from each Advising Department and one student representative of each Advising Department will be members of the OAC. Subject to the requirements of paragraph D below, each Advising Department may select its representatives using whatever process it deems appropriate.

Responsibilities of the Organization Advisory Committee (OAC)

The OAC shall:

 - Take steps designed to ensure that the practices of each Advising Department are fair and consistent;
 - Provide advice and recommendations to assist Student Organizations in meeting the Living the Liberal Arts goals;
 - Develop criteria for annual assessments of Student Organizations by each Advising Department consistent with the specific requirements listed in Appendices B or C (as applicable) of the Relationship Statement;
 - Make recommendations to the Provost, the Dean of the College, or their respective designees, on the possible establishment of additional Advising Departments; and
 - Hear appeals from actual or prospective Student Organizations that were denied initial recognition or renewal of recognition by an Advising Department.


Capitalized terms used but not defined in these Bylaws shall have the meanings given to them in the Colgate University Student Organization Relationship Statement, as in effect from time to time (the “Relationship Statement”).


Amendments to these Bylaws may, if consistent with the Relationship Statement, be presented by any member of the OAC (including the Chair). The amendment must be presented to the OAC in written format as it would appear within the current Bylaws. The OAC can approve the amendment to the Bylaws by a two-thirds majority vote, in which case written notice of the amendment will be given to the Dean of the College. The amendment will become effective if not overruled by the Dean of the College (or her/his designee) within 10 business days of the Dean’s receipt of that notification.