A Crash Course in Applying for CIO Status

An Introduction to CIOs

A CIO, or Contracted Independent Organization, is the status of an organization of students that has entered into the CIO agreement with the University. CIOs are not affiliated with the University or any of its departments and are liable for themselves. However, CIOs receive certain benefits including the power to reserve meeting space on grounds, the right to advertise at the Fall and Spring Activities Fairs, and the ability to apply for Student Council funding. Any group of students can assemble and form a “club”, but only CIO status can grant formal recognition (sometimes needed for funding purposes or parent organizations) and confer the aforementioned benefits.

Requirements for Status

  • At least 10 members, more than half of whom are full time UVA students
  • A detailed written constitution containing organization leadership, meeting format, funding plans, purpose… (see a template constitution below)
  • The prescribed non discrimination language (see below)
  • A mission that is not redundant of that of any existing CIO
  • A mission that will benefit the University community
  • A sustainable format: your organization must be set up so that it will outlast your time at UVA. CIO status is not for groups of friends looking for funding for their mutual interest.
  • Your organization name can only contain the words “University of Virginia” or “UVA” if it is phrased as “at UVA”. For example, University of Virginia Whale Riding Club would not be allowed, but Whale Riding at UVA is acceptable. Additionally, Virginia Whale Riding is allowable.

You should only apply for CIO status after your organization is up and running – this is not a first step after you have an idea of an organization you want to form. We generally ask groups that have not yet been meeting regularly with at least ten members to grow their organization and then apply again in a later semester.

When Can You Apply for Status?

The CIO Application is open from September until April. It closes about a month before the end of the academic year to let the StudCo team process all completed applications before we break for the summer. The VPO and Student Activities reserve the right to close the application at any time in order to keep up with current applicants. The 2016-17 application will go live on Monday September 5th. Expect to hear back from someone in Student Council within two weeks from when your application is completed and submitted.

The Application Process

  1. Submit a completed application through atUVA here. 
  2. Wait for an email from a CIO Consultants member or the VPO.
  3. Make necessary revisions to your application.
    • Often applications are imperfect when first submitted and need multiple cycles of revision after being reviewd by the VPO and/or University Student Activities staff members. The more complete an application is when initially submitted, the shorter the review process will be.
  4. Meet with the VPO for an interview or have CIO consultants members attend your group’s meeting.
    1. You will get an email from the VPO or members of CIO consultants telling you which of these options will be pursued and setting up a time.
    2.  If you have members attend one of your meetings, please conduct the meeting as you normally would. The CIO consultants members will be impartial observers, they are not there to participate. Be prepared to stay after the meeting for a few minutes to answer any questions that do not come up naturally in the meeting.
    3. Interviews are informal and held in the the office of the VPO in the PAC (unless otherwise instructed.) See the map to the PAC on the contact tab. Most interviews last under 20 minutes.
  5. The Student Council Representative Body votes on a bill containing your organization.
    • All organizations must be confirmed by the Rep. Body. Generally, we wait until multiple proposed organizations are ready and then send a bill to the floor with multiple pending organizations to be voted on. Votes are held every other Tuesday after StudCo general body meetings (usually around 7pm, Newc. South Meeting Room). You are not required to attend the vote unless explicitly asked.
  6. Status is confirmed by administration.
  7. Attend a new organization orientation or VPO town hall.

The whole process takes between three weeks and a month on average. It can take longer if multiple revisions are needed or if there is a high demand.

    • At least 51% of the group’s members must be students
    • The group’s officers must all be full-time, fee-paying students
    • The group must keep an updated copy of its constitution and a list of its officers on file with Student Council
    • The group must have signed a Contracted Independent Organization agreement, and have  agreed to the non-discrimination policy
    • Submitted a proposed business plan describing the operational logistics of the potential CIO

This EXACT language must be included in your constitution.


“A student organization is ineligible for CIO status when the organization restricts its membership, programs, or activities on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family and genetic information. Notwithstanding these requirements, a CIO may petition to restrict its membership based on gender (e.g. all-male or all-female a cappella groups) or an ability to perform the activities related to the organization’s purpose by filing a written request with the Office of the Dean of Students. In evaluating any such requests, the University will look not merely to the constitution of an organization but to its actual practices and operations.”