Student Groups Recognition

Student Groups represent a diverse range of interests of Columbia University students.

The Arts and Sciences Graduate Council is the sole body that officially recognizes Columbia University GSAS student groups, granting them benefits such as funding opportunities, advertisements, and space reservations.

Benefits

Policies

  • Groups must submit a Recognized Group Annual Report Form each year, or will be suspended
  • Groups must be a positive reflection of ASGC and GSAS, both within the university and externally
  • Groups must be led by ASGC-represented students (as described in the group constitution) and group activities must be executed by ASGC-represented students. Non-ASGC members may be associated with groups, but they may not:
    • be involved in group decision-making (e.g. only ASGC-represented students may vote, as described in the constitution)
    • act on the group’s behalf (e.g. execute events)
    • interact with University departments or outside organizations on behalf of the group
  • Only ASGC-represented students may run for an officer position or vote in the student group. All others may be members as observers.
  • Groups assume financial responsibility for damage caused by the organization to any space or equipment to University facilities
  • Groups must accept the Constitution, By-Laws, and decisions made by ASGC.
  • Groups shall provide any information requested with regards to the organization’s sources and uses of funding as requested by ASGC.
  • Groups must be open to all members of the Columbia graduate community regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, veteran’s status, or physical ability
  • Groups must accept all rules mandated by University policy and local, state, and federal law.
  • Groups must remain at least 50%+ ASGC-represented students at all times.
  • Planning an event, or spending money on behalf of your student group? Please read all guides and policies here! PDF Document | Word Document

Procedures

Group Recognition is bestowed by vote of the ASGC plenary at every plenary meeting except the April meeting (see ASGC Events calendar for plenary dates). At least three University business days prior to the plenary meeting at which your group will be voted on, you must:

  1. Submit an application for Student Group Recognition
  2. Email the ASGC Vice President at: asgc.vicepresident@columbia.edu to confirm receipt of application.
  3. The ASGC Vice President will review the application and Constitution and will suggest changes to conform with ASGC, GSAS, and University policies.
  4. After the changes are made, an official invitation will be extended for your group to present at the ASGC plenary meeting.

Once invited, your group recognition application will be added to the plenary meeting agenda. At the meeting, you will be given 2-5 minutes to explain to the plenary the purpose of your group and why it should exist. Department representatives will have the opportunity to ask questions, after which they will vote on recognition. A majority vote is required to be recognized by the ASGC as a student group.

General Policies

In order to be approved as an ASGC-recognized group, your group must be unique and have a purpose that cannot be fulfilled by other existing student groups. Your group cannot be directly supported or recognized by a university department, program, or office, or have ties to an existing student group. Groups that are affiliated with a national organization (such as Amnesty International) are ineligible for ASGC recognition.

Constitution

Your group must have a constitution that clearly states the following:

  • The purpose of your organization.
  • The requirements for membership.
    • Please keep in mind that your group must have at least ten GSAS students currently represented by ASGC. No less than 50% of your membership must be GSAS students currently represented by ASGC. Membership must be open to all GSAS students currently represented by ASGC in accordance with Columbia’s non-discrimination policy.  If your organization requires dues, your constitution must contain a hardship clause such that members unable to pay dues may be exempted from them and allowed to participate in group activities.
  • How decisions will be made by the group.
    • We suggest proposing a simple voting scheme. Voting membership may be restricted when clearly germane to the purpose of the activity. Only GSAS students currently represented by ASGC may vote or participate in decision-making of ASGC-recognized student groups.
  • The number and function of its officers.
    • Your group must have at least two officers: president and treasurer. Each office must be held by a different student, and each student must be a GSAS student currently represented by ASGC. Your constitution should clearly state your organization’s election procedure and dates; the duties and terms of your group’s officers; and the removal process for officers.
    • All officers must undergo leadership training by the Office of University Life, as mandated by New York State law.
  • The frequency and organization of meetings.
    • Your constitution should explicitly state how decisions are made during a meeting (i.e., majority vote after formal movement).
  • The procedure for amending your constitution.

Your constitution must also contain the ASGC Clause, which states: The [your group name] agrees to abide by the Essential Policies for the Columbia Community. This constitution, amendments to it, and the by-laws of this organization shall be subject to review by ASGC Executive Board to ensure that they are in accordance with the aforementioned rules and regulations.

Example constitutions can be found here and with our current ASGC-recognized student groups.

Student Groups officially recognized by the Arts and Sciences Graduate Council have two options to reserve a space on campus for their events, outlined below.

Reserving the Conference Room (Philosophy 302)

With a capacity of 24 people, the conference room at Philosophy 302 is probably the best option for your group meeting.

To reserve it, please submit a request. If there are issues with the form, please contact Ann Madigan (GSAS Student Affairs Manager).

Reserving Space on Campus through UEM (University Events Management)

Recognized student groups can reserve space in Lerner Hall and various other locations on campus through University Event Management (UEM) by following the procedure outlined below. Be aware that space is at a premium at Columbia and it is therefore wise to make reservations well in advance. Consult this page for venue pricing for recognized student groups reserving UEM-managed spaces. However, for most standard group meetings (no AV/tech, security, facilities, food/catering, alcohol), UEM-managed spaces should be free.

To reserve space through UEM:

  1. If you are a new student group or reserving UEM spaces for the first time, please contact Ann Madigan (GSAS Student Affairs Manager) to obtain a username and password for Virtual EMS Access.
  2. Follow the instructions on this website to reserve space
    • Go to the ‘My Account’ tab near the top of the page to login and reserve space
    • You should contact Ann Madigan anytime you reserve space. Your event will not be approved by UEM without prior approval from Ann Madigan.
  3. If the event that your group is reserving space for is more complicated than a standard group meeting or meets any of the criteria below, you must send a brief email to Ann Madigan that includes the following: (1) a description of the event (2) an explanation of why it meets any of the criteria below (3) contact information for the student leadership involved in the event and (4) a list of any Columbia administrative departments involved in the event (e.g. public safety, UEM, etc.). Your event will not be approved by UEM without prior approval from Ann Madigan.
    • Event will include >50 people
    • Tickets being sold/distributed for the event
    • Monetary transactions will occur before/at the event
    • Alcohol will be served at the event
    • A non-ASGC group is involved in the event

For information regarding pre-calendaring of space through UEM, please visit this website. We will also email the primary contacts for all student groups when the pre-calendaring period is open for the next semester.

Other spaces throughout campus can be reserved through departments or other administrative bodies. UEM has compiled a list of where to request space for many of the frequently used venues on campus. If any of these spaces require the approval of a group advisor, please contact Ann Madigan. Please note that some of these spaces are considerably more expensive and may have additional restrictions beyond what is described here.