Georgetown University is built on a two hundred year commitment to a Jesuit, Catholic understanding of higher education. As a Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown is committed to an understanding of education that embraces the transmission of knowledge as well as the formation of character.
It is the University’s intention that its extra- and co-curricular programs will provide opportunities for the development of knowledge and skills and the cultivation of virtues. They should be the source of community building and an opportunity for celebration. Through the content of the activities the members share, through the process of leading and managing a club, through the shared experiences of the members, these hopes can be realized.
The Catholic and Jesuit identity of the University informs its policies and practices, including the organization and governance of student organizations. For this reason, the University has developed the Access to Benefits policy, which identifies benefits granted to student organizations, as well as the criteria that student organizations must meet in order to be granted these benefits. This policy strives to respect the multiple expectations of our community, honoring our commitment to a robust discourse about the wide-ranging, diverse ideas that form the basis for student interests and respecting the identity and traditions of Georgetown as a Catholic and Jesuit university.
Granting of benefits through the Access to Benefits policy does not imply endorsement by Georgetown University, but rather identifies and articulates the resources which the organization is granted by the University, herein defined as “benefits.” Five Advisory Boards (Center for Social Justice Advisory Board for Student Organizations; Media Boards; Performing Arts Advisory Council; Student Activities Commission; and the Advisory Board for Club Sports) are charged with evaluating requests and making recommendations regarding whether new groups whose activities fall within their areas should be granted access to benefits pursuant to this policy. Each board includes student representation and is predicated on a charter or constitution that outlines its mission. The five boards are advisory to the Vice President of Student Affairs, who may accept or deny their recommendations.
There are other forms of student assembly that may be granted access to benefits from an entity separate from a student advisory board, such as a university department. For example, certain groups of students are granted access to benefits by a department when that university department that has unique knowledge of its activities. Hence, New Student Orientation is granted access to benefits only through the Center for Student Programs, and all varsity athletic teams have access to benefits only through the Department of Athletics. Organizations granted access to benefits by a university department are encouraged to abide by this policy and the Student Organization Standards, established by the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Access to benefits is open to any groups which meet the following criteria:
- Have open membership, unless they have obtained special permission from an advisory board or department to employ an appropriate selection criteria, for example musical talent or athletic skill
- Have at least twelve currently enrolled full time students as members
- Do not duplicate any existing group
- Are governed by a formal constitution
- Agree to comply with all relevant university policies, including policies applied by the relevant and applicable advisory board or university department
- Complete the requirements set forth in the new organization development program, as dictated by the applicable advisory board or department
A group is not eligible if, in its mission or practices, it:
- Is unlawful or in violation of university policy
- Endangers the safety of anyone or of university facilities
- Threatens to disrupt or obstruct university functions
- Fosters hatred or intolerance of others
- Directly and substantially advocates positions inconsistent with Roman Catholic moral tradition
- Conducts business secretly
- Represents an affiliation with a national or local social fraternity or sorority
- Is purely commercial or financially profitable to group members.
Several types of resources are granted routinely when access to benefits is granted. These include:
- Funding from student activity fees, student tuition dollars, residual contract fees, alumni donations, or other sources of university revenue
- Ability to reserve campus spaces and equipment, including programming and event space, as well as meeting and storage space
- Technological support, including access to a university website and an email alias to assist in organization communication
- A mailbox and use of the university mailing system
- Access to the weekly student programs broadcast email, university calendar system, and other official communication channels
- Inclusion in annual Student Activities Commission Fair, and other university ceremonies
- Inclusion in the university financial accounting system, including a dedicated cost center and ability to transact financial business under the auspices of Georgetown University, with oversight of a professional staff advisor
- Access to advising support in order to negotiate organizational development or university business
- Access to other university services and resources, including legal counsel and technological support
Resources granted separately from the Access to Benefits Policy
In keeping with the philosophy and purpose of a university in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition, and the spirit of the Speech and Expression Policy, there are certain resources available to students wishing to advance the exchange of ideas. These resources are provided to facilitate the student’s role as an active member of the academic community, and are made available provided that the student does not violate university policy and abides by the Student Code of Conduct. The resources granted to individual students are:
- The ability to reserve a classroom for the purpose of discussing an idea or issue. The use of a classroom to provide a forum for such discussion is subject to the University Registrar’s guidelines for acceptable use of a classroom space.
- The ability to use Red Square or, in inclement weather, the Leavey Center Lobby, to express one’s viewpoint publicly on an issue or topic.
Students who use classroom spaces as public space for the free exchange of ideas bear responsibility for acknowledging the following at the beginning of their program:
This program is hosted by (individual student(s)), and is not sponsored by Georgetown University. Any views expressed in this forum are the views of the individual, and do not imply endorsement or support by Georgetown University. The space for the forum has been made available because of (host’s name) role as a student at Georgetown University.
Students will need to affirm their responsibility for making this statement on the University Registrar’s Classroom Request form. Failure to make this statement may result in consequences that include being denied the ability to reserve a classroom space in the future. Students are encouraged to acknowledge this provision on publicity and marketing materials for such events.
In summation, the Access to Benefits policy is in place to allow and encourage students to assemble around a common interest or experience. It makes available a common set of University resources to support their effort and enhance the University community to those groups that meet the stated criteria. This policy is consistent with the Catholic and Jesuit commitments to the unfettered search for truth and the formation of character. Questions about the Access to Benefits policy can be directed to the Vice President of Student Affairs.