Policy 3101
Faculty/Staff Advisers to Student Organizations

Date of Current Revision: September 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of University Unions


The university offers students the opportunity of developing new interests, expanding cultural and social horizons, exercising leadership, serving their fellow human beings and finding outlets for social entertainment through recognized student organizations. The university considers these opportunities intrinsic to its educational mission, since they encourage the total development of the student by providing an environment for social, cultural, emotional and personal growth.

While a large responsibility for a student's growth rests with the student, faculty/staff advisers are responsible for assisting students in developing and producing programs and experiences that will broaden their learning, apply and interrelate acquired knowledge, and create patterns of behavior that will lead to a richer, fuller life, which is uniquely and individually their own.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Faculty/Staff Member:
Includes full or part-time instructional faculty member, full or part-time administrative & professional faculty member, full-time classified staff member or wage employee.

Front-end Budgeted (FEB) Organization:
A student organization that receives an allocation of student fees (from the Student Government Association) during the spring semester for the following academic year.

Recognized student organization:
A student group organized around a common cause, theme, interest or organization external to the university that meets all of the criteria set forth by the university required for official recognition. More information can be found on the JMU Student Organizations web page, the JMU Sport Clubs web page, and the Student Handbook.


This policy applies to all advisers of recognized student organizations at JMU. It applies to all recognized student organizations at the university, including those organizations recognized through the Office of Student Activities and Involvement (OSAI) and those recognized through the Sport Club program in University Recreation (UREC).


The university requires that each recognized student organization maintain an active relationship with at least one faculty/staff member who is interested in and committed to promoting the club’s constitutional functions, university policies, and the requirements of either the Office of Student Activities & Involvement or the University Recreation department. All student organizations must have an adviser who is a faculty or staff member at JMU as defined above. Additionally, the organization should be in contact with their adviser on a regular basis. Faculty/staff advisers are operating as employees of the university while performing their duties under this policy, and are responsible for compliance with all university policies, rules and procedures.


Information on the role of an adviser, liability concerns and services for advisers is addressed more specifically in procedures provided by OSAI and UREC.


Faculty/Staff Adviser to Student Organizations and Sport Clubs:

  1. To carry out the duties assigned to the adviser by the organization's approved constitution.
  2. To serve as a liaison between the University and the student group; to interpret communicate and advise the organization on university policies and procedures (including the Financial Procedures Manual, the JMU Manual of Policies and Procedures); and to be an official "guest" at the organization's functions when appropriate.
  3. To be aware of and assist the organization in the management of its financial operations. In addition, for front-end budgeted (FEB) organizations reporting to the Media Board, the adviser shall ensure the organization’s compliance with all state and university financial procedures including, but not limited to, Financial Procedures Manual Section 3045 (Local/Agency Funds) and OSAI’s financial procedures for FEB organizations. For other FEB organizations, the University Unions Associate Director of Finance is responsible for ensuring compliance with financial policies and procedures. For Sport Clubs, the UREC Assistant Director for Budget and Finance is responsible for ensuring compliance with financial policies and procedures.
  4. To assist the organization in planning and executing its programs and events, and to refer organizers to appropriate university resources which may aid in the planning process.
  5. To oversee the organization's applications for use of university space, vehicles and fund raising (in conjunction with policies in the Student Handbook. and University Policy 5101) and to verify the organization's requests for financial support through student fees (Student Government Association Front-End Budgeting or Contingency Funds).
  6. To consult periodically with OSAI or UREC concerning the organization's direction, programs and function and to notify the appropriate office in the event the organization has decided to disband or has ceased to function as a student organization.
  7. To serve as an advisor until it is impossible to continue advising a student organization. In the event an advisor cannot continue advising, they must create a succession plan with the student organization for securing another advisor. While Student Activities & Involvement and University Recreation staff can assist in locating a new advisor, it is the responsibility of the student organization to secure a new advisor and adjust all paperwork.
  8. To serve as an adviser until a successor is appointed if for any reason it is impossible to continue as adviser to the organization. Additionally, if an advisor participates in a study abroad program or goes on leave (sabbatical, maternity, etc.) during the school year, they must inform the Office of Student Activities & Involvement or the University Recreation department (as appropriate) and provide an interim advisor.
  9. To submit, in writing, a formal resignation of duties as an adviser to the appropriate office within 10 days of the notification to the student organization.
  10. To assist the organization in the periodic examination of its progress toward the goals specified in the organization's constitution and to suggest alternatives that may aid in goal attainment.
  11. To serve on the hearing board for organizational disciplinary matters as needed. The appropriate office will provide training prior to disciplinary hearings. 


Faculty/staff advisers of student organizations not adhering to the requirements set forth above will relinquish their faculty adviser role and responsibilities.

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.




The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President and is generally delegated to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning.

Previous version: May 2015
Approved by the President: May 2002

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