A liberal arts education is most effective in a living and learning environment hallmarked by curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities on a campus that is safe, nurturing, and inclusive. Accordingly, Trinity College will recognize and provide financial or organizational support to student organizations that agree to follow the regulations and procedures of Trinity, an objective of which is to promote a positive social climate where students feel welcomed, free from risk, and supported in their personal growth by the Trinity student organizations in which they choose to participate. This means that student organizations recognized by the College will not only provide an environment in which members can establish lifelong friendships, develop personally and intellectually, and have fun, but also that these organizations will support and enrich the cultural, social, and intellectual life of the College and communities beyond the campus.
All Student Organizations
All student organizations and associations (student organizations), whether located on or off campus, as well as their officers and their members (both collectively and individually) must adhere to general College regulations and procedures as well as all specific regulations and procedures applicable to the particular student organization. The activities of all student organizations are expected to benefit or serve the Trinity community. Violations will be subject to student grievance procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook.
The College considers social organizations to be those student organizations which have as one of their primary purposes or activities the sponsorship or hosting of social events or activities, whether or not at dedicated locations owned, rented, or associated with those student organizations and whether on or off campus. Student organizations whose membership is based on a particular talent or skill of their members or whose membership is based primarily on the devotion of their members to a narrowly constituted activity, purpose, or principle are not governed
under these rules. Accordingly, organizations that focus exclusively upon a single sport, a particular form of instrumental or vocal music, or the publication of a specific periodical are not considered social organizations because the criteria used by the organization to admit members or to justify the use of College space are narrowly tailored solely to the common activity of the group.
In addition, the College distinguishes between selective and nonselective social organizations. A selective social organization is one having an admissions process that may result in the failure of an interested student to be admitted. A non-selective social organization is one that admits any student who wishes to join. The classification of a student organization as a social organization and as selective or non-selective rests exclusively with the Vice President of Student Affairs. Where the Vice President of Student Affairs deems appropriate, they may exempt social organizations from the application of particular regulations for social organizations.
Selective social organizations and social organizations with a facility enjoy special privileges and therefore are subject to certain requirements in addition to those placed upon non-selective social organizations or other student organizations.
Membership in and/or participation in activities of an unrecognized selective social organization is prohibited. Students who are members of or who engage in activities with an unrecognized selective social organization are subject to discipline by the College, including suspension and expulsion.
Social organizations shall develop and implement each year a program of projects and events whose goal is to improve the Trinity community and/or its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. Programming responsibilities shall fall to most or all of the host organizations members, though non-members may be included as well. Examples of such projects or events include programs that raise awareness about alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault or harassment, sexual orientation and gender identities, or world events; dinners with faculty; arts events and exhibitions; fundraising for non-profit organizations; and cultural celebrations. Other ways by which social organizations may contribute to the life of the campus include co- hosting events with other organizations, collaborate with the Bantam Network to support and mentor peers, and allowing classes or other student groups to use their facilities for an event.
Members of social organizations are expected to participate in and support other student organizations and activities on campus, such as the Tripod, student government, and
Social and program events sponsored by social organizations, whether on or off campus, must comply with the standards, regulations, and procedures in the Social Affairs
Regulations section of the Student Handbook.
Each social organization shall have a dedicated faculty or staff advisor, approved by the Dean of Students or their designee, who helps support academic achievement and fosters ties to the classroom. No advisor may serve in this capacity for more than three social organizations.
All selective social organizations and social organizations with facilities shall comply with the requirement to submit an annual report, as provided in section 4 below. A social
organization with facilities is one that sponsors or hosts events at dedicated locations owned, rented, or associated with those organizations, whether or not in Trinity-provided space and whether on or off campus. All social organizations with facilities must register those facilities with the Director of Campus Life Initiatives and Social Houses at the beginning of every semester.
(1) GPA Requirements for Application
The College Recognizes only two types of selective social organizations:
- Annual Membership Organizations (AMOs), in which the term of membership is one year, normally terminating at the end of the academic year. Readmission is based on the same criteria by which prospective members are admitted for the first time; and
- Continuing Membership Organizations (CMOs), in which membership continues throughout a member’s enrollment at Trinity, and possibly thereafter
A student whose first-time membership in an AMO commences in the Fall semester is required to have a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for the immediately preceding Spring semester or achieve a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for at least one of the Fall and Spring semesters of the first academic year of membership. A student whose first-time
membership in an AMO commences in a Spring semester is required to have a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for the immediately preceding Fall semester or achieve a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for the Spring semester in which membership commences. All students who seek membership in an AMO shall not currently be on academic probation
or censure by the College. A member of an AMO who fails to satisfy the GPA requirement is not allowed to continue as a member of the AMO and may reapply only if the student has a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for the semester (Fall or Spring) immediately preceding the semester of reapplication. Once a member of an AMO fulfills the GPA
requirement, the student is not again subject to the GPA requirement for that AMO.
In order to apply to a CMO, a student must be at least a sophomore, shall have either a semester GPA of at least 3.0 for the immediately preceding semester (Fall or Spring) or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at the time of application, and shall not currently be on academic probation or censure by the College. A students continuing membership in a CMO is not conditional upon the students cumulative or semester-by-semester GPA.
(2) Admission Process and Conditions of Acceptance
The Admission process for selective social organizations shall consist of: a period devoted to introduction/application to the organization (sometimes referred to as recruiting or rush); the issuance of invitations to join the organization (sometimes referred to as bids); a period during which those invited to join may respond; and, at the option of the organization, a period of orientation/education for first time members. All such periods and activities shall be scheduled in consultation with the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee, but the admission process shall normally not extend beyond the end of the fifth full week of classes. An organization whose selection process corresponds with the housing lottery will work with the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee to determine a schedule for its selection process. Within the week following the deadline for acceptance of invitations to join each such organization shall supply the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee with a complete and up-to-date list of members and officers.
Each selective social organization shall supply information about the organization to each student who applies and to any member of the Trinity community who so requests. The information supplied shall include at least the following:
- A statement of purpose (including a statement of purpose of a parent organization if applicable);
- Membership criteria;
- A statement of the financial costs to members, including all dues, social or programming fees, dining fees, membership fees, and any other fees that may be reasonably expected to be charged;
- A description of the orientation or educational program (if any required of new members; and
- Other information requested by the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee.
Each selective social organization may sponsor an alcohol-free preapplication event for first-year students during the last two weeks of April. Any orientation or educational program for new members must be approved by the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee and, if the organization is a member, by the Inter- Greek Council. No such program shall last for longer than ten consecutive days.
Except for the acceptance of an invitation to join, payment of any required fees, and completion of an orientation/education program (if any) approved by the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee, there shall be absolutely no other expectations placed upon a new member that pertain to social acceptance or other conditions for membership. Any other activity, occurring on or off campus, which the Vice President of Student Affairs determines is a condition for membership or social acceptance will be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including prohibition of the organization and expulsion of participants from the College. Pledging and hazing, as defined in the Student Handbook, are specifically prohibited. (See: Hazing, within the Policy Statement on Discrimination, General Harassment and Abuse)
(3) Continuing GPA; Coeducational and Diversity Requirements
Beginning with the grades received at the end of the Fall semester of 2014, the collective average GPA of the membership of each selective social organization shall be at least 3.0 in each semester.
Selective social organizations are expected to reflect the diverse nature of Trinity and may not discriminate in admissions on any basis prohibited by law. Selective social organizations may have single-sex membership and are not required to accept members inconsistent with the organizations admissions policy.
All social fraternities and sororities both on and off campus composed primarily of Trinity College students will be considered Greek-letter organizations and subject to all College standards, regulations, and procedures governing student organizations and rules, regulations and procedures that specifically apply to Greek-letter organizations.
Unless the Vice President of Student Affairs determines otherwise, all Greek-letter organizations shall be classified as selective social organizations and as such must comply with all standards, regulations, procedures, and objectives of this section 3 and sections 4 and 5 below. Unless an apartment or off campus house explicitly and openly
associates with a particular organization or funds social events from a particular Greek organization, they will not be considered Greek houses. In a reported incident alleging violations of College policies at these locations, the alleged misconduct will be considered individual, unless an investigation establishes a preponderance of evidence for organizational misconduct. As stated in “All Student Organizations” section: Violations will be subject to student grievance procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook.
All Greek-letter organizations are required to be members of the InterGreek Council (IGC) and shall be held accountable for such standards and conduct as established by the IGC. To ensure proper governance and communication among Greek letter organizations as well as to provide a central point of contact for the College, the IGC must hold
regular meetings and work to promote the positive contributions the Greek letter organizations make to the campus and the larger community in which the College resides. The officers of the Greek-letter organizations may establish such other organizations as they deem appropriate, subject to approval by the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee, to assist in the conduct of the Greek rush process and other activities related to the recruitment, promotion, and education of new members of Greek-letter organizations. The IGC and all such other organizations formed by the Greek-letter organizations shall meet periodically and upon request with the Vice President of Student
Affairs or their designee to discuss their activities.
(1) GPA Requirements for Application
Because membership in a non-selective social organization is open to all applicants, a student need not have a specified GPA to apply for admission to such and organization.
(2) Admission Process
Each non-selective social organization shall develop and publish, subject to approval by the Vice President of Student Affairs, information about the organization and the procedures used for applying to or joining that organization. Each non-selective social organization shall supply this information about the organization to each student who applies and to any member of the Trinity community who so requests.
(3) Continuing GPA; Coeducational and Diversity Requirements
Because membership in a non-selective social organization is open to all applicants, a non-selective social organization need not maintain a specified average GPA for its members.
Non-selective social organizations are expected to reflect the coeducational nature of Trinity and may not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, color, gender expression, gender identity, or on any other basis prohibited by law. Non-selective social organizations with facilities are required to demonstrate in their annual reports that their activities and their membership are open and inclusive.
Social organizations having privately owned or rented space must carry liability insurance in the amount specified by the College. All such insurance policies must remain in effect whether or not the College is in session. All such insurance policies must name the College and its agents as additional insured.
The College shall also be named as a certificate holder. Each such organization must provide an up-to-date certificate of insurance to the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee each year prior to the beginning of the fall semester. The College will, upon request by a social organization and its compliance with all other standards, regulations, and procedures of the College, use its best efforts to provide liability insurance at cost to any social organization that is unable to otherwise obtain such
insurance or that wishes to obtain such insurance through the College. The College shall charge any organization for which it procures insurance only the premium that the College pays for such insurance for that organization.
The College may withhold privileges from, suspend, or prohibit any such organization that fails to comply with the insurance requirements.
All selective social organizations and social organizations with facilities shall submit by March 1 of each year an annual report to the Student Organization Review Committee (SORC). The report shall summarize all public activities and events of the previous twelve months hosted or assisted by the organization and include an assessment of the impact of the organizations programs on the community and such other information as SORC or the Vice President of Student Affairs, in collaborative discussion, may require. This report should also highlight academic achievement and leadership positions members of the organization hold on campus. Each organizations report shall be signed by each officer of the organization, as well as an alumni officer or representative, where applicable.
The annual reports shall also describe the efforts and progress made by the organization to comply with the requirements of section above (General Requirements for Social Organizations). Such annual reports shall also list all members and officers of the organization submitting the report.
The purpose of the annual report is to prompt a self-examination by each organization of its activities and programs and their effectiveness; to serve as a basis upon which the organization can plan its activities and programs for the following year, to provide a basis for the College to evaluate whether Trinity owned space should be reassigned, and to serve as a basis on which SORC and the Vice President of Student Affairs may evaluate the progress of the organizations efforts to comply with the regulations, procedures, and objectives of the College and to assess whether the organization should continue to be recognized by the College. SORC shall comprise two students, two members from the faculty, and an administrator as constituted yearly by the Vice President of Student Affairs. In appointing members of the faculty, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall consult with the Dean of the Faculty; and in appointing members of the student body, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall consult with the Student Government Association.
Upon request by the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee or SORC, the officers of the organization shall meet with the Vice President of Student Affairs or their designee and/or SORC to discuss the report and future plans to comply with the Colleges requirements for social organizations.
The Vice President of Student Affairs and/or their designees have primary responsibility for seeing that all students and student organizations comply with the standards, regulations, procedures, and objectives of the College, and student life staff are prepared to assist student leaders in meeting their goals and maintaining compliance with College requirements. In the event the Dean and/or his or her de- signees determine a social organization is failing to meet standards or objectives or to comply with regulations or procedures of the College, he or she may issue a warning with reasonable time to correct the problem or may restrict specified privileges up to and including prohibition of the organization, Depending on the nature of the deficiency or violation. The Dean and/or his or her designees will also work closely with SORC and the social organizations to
provide information that will help in the annual review process and ensure that the work of the Deans office and SORC are consistent.
If SORC determines that a student organization is failing to meet a reasonable standard of service to the community, it may issue a warning to the organization specifying what is determined to be the organizations deficiency and a reasonable time to remedy the deficiency. Continued failure of the organization to meet a reasonable standard of service may result in SORC recommending suspension or prohibition of the organization.
If the Vice President of Student Affairs determines that an organization has failed to meet an applicable collective cumulative average GPA requirement, the Vice President of Student Affairs may issue a warning to the organization. The organization will have only the following semester to come into compliance. If, at the end of that semester, the organization has not achieved the required average GPA minimum, the Vice President of Student Affairs may take additional disciplinary action, including suspension or prohibition of the organization.
Any student who participates in a prohibited student organization will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from the College.
The College may reassign any space within its control designated for a student organization for failure to comply with the standards, regulations, procedures, and objectives of the College. The annual review process will also help ensure that College resources are allocated effectively and in support of the current interests of the student body. In the case of non-selective social organizations with a College facility, SORC will review whether the organization is using the facility to its fullest potential and for appropriate purposes. If SORC recommends to the Vice President of Student Affairs that a space should be reassigned for such reason, this finding alone does not mean that the organization is in violation of any College requirement, and the organization may continue to be recognized, provided it complies with other applicable standards, regulations, procedures, and
In the event that an organization disputes a determination by the Vice President of Student Affairs of: restriction of privileges, suspension, or prohibition of the organization, it may file a notice of appeal to the Vice President of Student Affairs in accordance with the student grievance procedures as outlined on the page Procedures for Grievances against Students. Otherwise, the decision shall be considered final.
Student Government Association
An organization of dynamic student leadership since 1974, the Trinity College Student Government Association (SGA) is elected by the students, for the students. As the centralized representative governing entity of the student body, the SGA holds regular senate meetings to deal with a broad range of campus issues relating to student life, community development, and academic affairs and welcomes hearing from students on all issues that affect the student body. The association also oversees every recognized student organization and works to promote a vibrant, engaged life at the College.
SGA Nondiscrimination Statement
The Trinity College Student Government Association adopted the following nondiscrimination statement on December 9, 2007:
“In keeping with the mission statement of Trinity College, aforementioned in this handbook, the student body will not tolerate acts of discrimination, including but not limited to, discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, physical characteristics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status in student interactions, in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, recruitment policies, employment policies, and other College administered programs.”
The statement owes a debt of gratitude to M.I.T. and Bates for their nondiscrimination policies.