The constitution of a student organization is the guiding structure for the group. It is critical to helping keep an RSO on-track with its mission and organizing the work of the group. Every RSO is required to have a constitution and it must be uploaded as part of the registration process (new and renewal registrations). This page will help to provide some guidance in understanding, developing and making changes to your RSO's constitution.
What's in an RSO Constitution?
The contents of a constitution will vary by organization, but it serves the same purpose for everyone. Information in a constitution is not meant to change yearly or often. It should be developed so that it remains consistent for multiple years, to allow the organization to work towards achieving a consistent mission through the same process and procedures.
A typical constitution includes...
- Official organization name and acronyms
- The group's mission and/or vision statements
- Affiliations (i.e. regional/national organizations)
- Membership types
- Special membership recruitment/application guidelines
- Officer titles and responsibilities
- Elections processes
- Advisor responsibilities
- Bank account and organizational money guideline
- Standard/required events of the RSO
- Guidelines on how to make changes to the constitution (see below)
Your organization can add additional topics to your constitution if you so choose.
University Required Sections
In order to register with the University of Washington Tacoma, there are two required statements that must be included in an RSO's constitution. A constitution submitted without these sections will not be approved.
All RSO constitutions must contain the following non-discrimination clause. Edits are allowable, but only to add to the list of identities/categories. Edits cannot remove or delete any identity/category.
"Membership will not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, pregnancy, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, disability, or veteran status.”
UW Tacoma Student Membership Clause
All RSO constitutions must contain the following membership clause.
“The majority of the membership of this organization shall consist of regularly enrolled students of UW Tacoma. Only those members who are currently registered UW Tacoma students have voting privileges.”
How to Make Edits/Changes to Constitution
While constitutions should be written so that they are semi-permanent, there may be times that something needs to change. Maybe a new officer position is created, an election process needs to change or you develop new affiliations that you want to officially recognize. If you need to make adjustments or additions to your RSO's constitution, you should follow the steps laid out in your current constitution to do so. We highly encourage RSOs to have an "Amendments" section that outlines how changes are made.
A typical "Amendments" section of a constitution includes information such as the specific number/percentage of members that must vote to approve changes, how changes are proposed and presented to the membership, what constitutes a change that must be voted on (versus something that can just be changed - i.e. grammar edits) and any other requirements that your RSO wants to set.