Student Engagement

Constitution Guidelines

Every ISU student organization is required to have an approved constitution uploaded to the student organization database. If the status of your current constitution is pending, you have 30 days to work with Student Engagement to make any requested revisions.  

Below are guidelines to follow as your constitution is created or modified.  

There are certain components that must be written exactly as described. These components are bolded below. 

Constitution Template is also available for organizations to use or adapt.

Article I - Name:  

State the name of the organization. The name of the organization may not contain any Iowa State University identifiers. These include, but are not limited to: iastate, Cy, Cyclone(s), Iowa State University, Iowa State, I-STATE, ISU. 

It is allowed to state that the organization is located at Iowa State, Iowa State University, and/or ISU. 

Example: The name of this organization shall be Constitution Club at Iowa State University.

Article II - Purpose:

Articulate the purpose, beliefs, and goals of the organization, as well as the type and scope of the organization's activities and affiliations. 

Example: The purpose of the Constitution Club is to enhance students’ understanding of creating and modifying constitutions for their student organizations. Constitution Club’s goals are to provide direction for student leaders, to teach students about university policy, and to be a resource for student organizations. To achieve these goals, Constitution Club will maintain a website with clear and concise constitution guidelines.  

Article III - Statement of Compliance:

The following statement is required:

(Name of Organization) abides by and supports established Iowa State University policies, State and Federal Laws and follows local ordinances and regulations. (Name of Organization) agrees to annually complete President’s and Treasurer’s Training. 

Article IV - Non-Discrimination Statement:

The following statement is required.

Iowa State University and (Name of Organization) do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, race, ethnicity, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a U.S Veteran.

Article V - Membership:

Outline specific requirements and expectations for membership to be granted into the organization. 

Example: Membership shall be open to all registered students in good standing at Iowa State University.

Article VI - Officers:

This article should outline the executive structure of the organization. This section should discuss officer duties, terms of service, dates for elections, method of election, minimum cumulative GPA for officers, and impeachment and replacement of officers.  

At a minimum, each student organization is expected to designate one officer as the chief student leader (usually titled "president"), one officer authorized to deal with the organization's finances (usually titled "treasurer"), and one officer who provides general oversight to the group ensuring that the organization is operating in conformity with the standards set forth by Iowa State University and Student Engagement (usually titled "advisor"). The titles of these positions may vary according to the needs of the organization, but the three separate job functions must be provided in this article.  

For more ideas of officer roles and responsibilities, election and selection processes, and impeachment/reinstatement procedures, head HERE.

Example: “The President shall oversee the activities of the organization, preside over all meetings, and keep files of the organization’s duties and traditions. The President’s term of service shall be one academic year.

  • Risk Management Officer - All recognized student organizations at Iowa State University must identify an officer responsible for risk management. This may be part of an existing officer position, Vice President - for example, or be a separate position. The following risk management duties must be included in the constitution:  

(a) help minimize potential risks for club activities,

(b) recommend risk management policies or procedures,

(c) to submit documentation to ISU’s Risk Management Office and

(d) to ensure that proper waivers and background checks are on file with Risk Management for events (if applicable).

Example: Candidates will each have 5 minutes to speak with club membership during a general meeting. After candidates speak, voting will occur by secret ballot. A simple majority vote by due-paying members is required to elect an officer.

Example: The election process will take place annually in the month of April.

  • Impeachment/Removal of officers - Specify how impeachment proceedings begin and how impeachments are voted on in order to become final. Also, state whether or not the person who is impeached is allowed to speak or be present during the final vote. Include 2-3 examples of impeachment offenses. 

Example: Impeachment or removal of an officer may be considered if an officer fails to uphold the duties of their position or commits wrongdoing against another club member. Impeachment proceedings may be initiated by a written complaint submitted to the President. If impeachment charges are being brought against the President, the written complaint should be submitted to the Vice President. To move forward with impeachment proceedings, 2/3 of executive officers must vote to continue the removal process. The officer being impeached should be notified at least 2 weeks before the general impeachment hearing. The officer will have 5 minutes to speak in front of the general membership, then a secret ballot will be held. An officer can be impeached by a simple majority vote of due-paying members.

  • Replacement of officers - Describe how an officer’s position is filled whenever a vacancy occurs. Consider whether a replacement is appointed or elected using regular election procedures.  

Example: To fill an officer vacancy, a special election will be held within two weeks of the previous officer’s leave. The special election will follow the same procedures as general elections.

  • Minimum Cumulative GPA for Officers - All recognized student organizations at Iowa State University must include the following statement (or its equivalent) in their constitution:

The officers of this organization must meet the following requirements:

(a) Be in good standing with the university and enrolled: at least half time (six or more credit hours), if an undergraduate student (unless fewer credits are required to graduate in the spring and fall semesters) during the term of office, and at least half time (four or more credits), if a graduate-level student (unless fewer credits are required in the final stages of their degree as defined by the Continuous Registration Requirement) during their term of office.

(b) Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) as stated below and meet that minimum GPA in the semester immediately prior to the election/appointment, the semester of election/appointment, and semesters during the term of office. For undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, the minimum GPA is 2.00. In order for this provision to be met, at least six hours (half-time credits) must have been taken for the semester under consideration.

(c) Be ineligible to hold an office should the student fail to maintain the requirements as prescribed in (a) and (b).

*NOTE* The wording of the above statement may be made specific to the student organization, but no student organization may enact eligibility requirements for officers less stringent than those appearing above. Student organizations may enact requirements more restrictive than those provided by the university.

Article VII - Advisor:

All recognized student organizations at Iowa State University must provide a general statement about the duties and method of selection of the club’s advisor. Discuss advisor duties, terms of service, method of election, selection or appointment, impeachment, and replacement of advisors here.

  • Advisor Duties - Outline the duties of the advisor 

Example: The Advisor of this organization shall attend executive meetings, maintain communication with university administration, and assist with the leadership development of the organization’s officers.

  • Method of Election/Selection of Advisor(s) - State whether the advisor is appointed by a department, selected by officers, or elected by the general membership 

Example: The Advisor of this organization shall be selected by a unanimous decision of the executive officers.

  • Advisor(s) Term of Service - Specify whether your advisor is serving year to year, at their leisure, or while they are at Iowa State University

Example: The Advisor of this organization shall serve an indefinite term length at their leisure.

  • Impeachment/Removal of Advisors - Specify how impeachment proceedings begin and how impeachments are voted on in order to become final. Also, state whether or not the person who is impeached is allowed to speak or be present during the final vote.

Example: Impeachment proceedings for the Advisor shall follow the same format as Officer impeachment proceedings.

  • Replacement of Advisors - Describe how an advisor’s position is filled whenever a vacancy occurs (is a replacement appointed or is a replacement elected using regular election procedures?)

Article VIII - Finances:

This article should outline the manner in which the finances of the organization should be handled. All recognized student organizations at Iowa State University must include the following statement (or its equivalent) in their constitution:  

All monies belonging to this organization shall be deposited and disbursed through a bank account established for this organization at the Campus Organizations Accounting Office and/or approved institution/office (must receive authorization via Campus Organizations Accounting Office). All funds must be deposited within 48 hours after collection. The Advisor to this organization must approve and sign each expenditure before payment. 

Constitutions must include a description of dues. Constitutions must state that dues will be (a) x-amount, (b) dues will not exceed x-amount, or (c) no dues will exist. 

Example: Dues will not exceed $10 per semester.

This article should include any other relevant information about the organization’s finances, if not present in the bylaws. This can include: 

  • Detailed financial procedures including the amount and collection procedures for dues. 

  • Money handling details and expectations, including who holds purchasing cards. 

  • Budgeting, funding, and money-raising/allocation details. 

  • What should happen to the organization's funds if the organization is dissolved. 

Article IX - Amendments and Ratification:

This section explains how constitutional amendments are made, as well as the procedure for adopting a constitution and any future amendments. At a minimum, your constitution must be voted on and approved by the general membership of your organization. This article should also include a statement requiring submission of an updated constitution and bylaws to Student Engagement within 10 days should the document be amended following recognition. 

Example: A proposal to amend this constitution may be extended to Officers by any voting member of the organization. Proposals should be presented to the general membership at least one week before the vote. A constitution may be amended with a 2/3 vote of due-paying members. The amended constitution will be submitted within 10 days to Student Engagement for approval.

Related Pages to Consider:

Student Engagement to schedule an appointment to review your constitution


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