Becoming a CIO | UVA Student Council

The CIO application is now closed. It will reopen in the spring semester. Please see below for more information.

AN INTRODUCTION TO CONTRACTED INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATIONS:

A Contracted Independent Organization (CIO) is an officially recognized student organization 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, recognition as a CIO provides certain benefits, including the ability to reserve meeting space on grounds, the right to advertise at the Student Council Fall and Spring Activities Fairs, the ability to request storage space on Grounds, and the potential eligibility to apply for Student Activity Fee funding through Student Council.

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.

UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CIO STATUS:

  • The organization must have at least ten student members.
  • At least 51% of the members must be students.
  • All officers must be students enrolled on-Grounds at the University.
  • The organization name can only contain the words “University of Virginia” or “UVA” if it is phrased as “at UVA”. For example, it must be “The XYZ Club at UVA,” not “The University of Virginia XYZ Club.”
  • The organization must keep a signed CIO agreement on file with Student Activities.
  • The organization must keep an up-to-date Constitution on file with Student Council containing the nondiscrimination clause:

“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.”

CRITERIA FOR RECOMMENDATION FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Members: The organization must have at least ten, committed members that regularly attend programming hosted by the organization. This should not just be students who attended a single interest meeting or subscribe to a listserv.
  • Leadership: There should already be an established leadership team of officers as outlined in the submitted constitution. At minimum, this must include a president and treasurer or their parallel positions.
  • Constitution: The organization should submit a complete, up-to-date constitution that reflects the current practices of the organization. It should contain descriptive instructions of the organization’s procedures as pertaining to its mission, membership requirements, officer positions, elections, meetings, finances, advisors (if applicable), and the amendment process.
  • Nonduplication: A proposed organization should not duplicate the purpose of another organization in existence at the University, including inactive organizations.
  • Positive Contributions: A proposed organization should be likely to make positive contributions to the University community, whether socially or academically.
  • Sustainability: The group should show evidence of sustainability over a period of years unless the group’s objectives are short-term in nature. This includes at least three meetings and/or programs attended regularly by at least the required ten members before applying for CIO status. The organization should present a thorough business plan that outlines fundraising and intended expenditures. This is not the first step after you have an idea of an organization you want to form. In most cases, students should only apply for CIO status after their organization has been up and running for some time to meet the criteria. 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.

CIO APPLICATION DATES:

The CIO Application is open for approximately eight weeks during semester, closing a month before the end of the academic term to grant Student Council enough time to finish processing the pending applications before breaks. The application is closed for the fall semester, but it will reopen from January 29  to March 30.

THE APPLICATION PROCESS:

  1. Submit a completed application on atUVA.com.
  2. The Co-chairs of CIO Consultants check atUVA for new applications every week and assign each applicant organization to a CIO Consultant responsible for serving as the organization’s primary contact through the process.
  3. The CIO Consultant reviews the application for the requirements and criteria. They will then contact the organization about next steps.
  4. Often applications are imperfect when first submitted and need multiple cycles of revision after being reviewed by the Student Council and/or University Student Activities staff members. The more complete an application is when initially submitted, the shorter the review process will be. Please make sure your constitution meets all the requirements, especially including the nondiscrimination clause.
  5. Once the application is deemed sufficient by the CIO Consultants committee, they may contact you about attending one of your organization’s meetings. If you have CIO Consultants 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 or to clarify some aspects of your application.
  6. If the application and meeting are deemed to meet criteria, the Vice President for Organizations will contact you about meeting to discuss your organization’s application. Interviews are informal and typically held in the Newcomb PAC (room 164). The PAC Assistant at the front desk can direct you to the VPO’s office (164J).
  7. The VPO will make the decision to either approve or deny the approval of the organization by the Representative Body on the basis of the above criteria. If recommending denial, the organization may retract their application and reapply at a later date when they satisfy the criteria, or it may choose to go to vote before the Representative Body.
  8. The Student Council Representative Body votes on a bill containing your organization with the VPO’s recommendation. All CIO’s must be confirmed by the Representative Body. Generally, the VPO waits until multiple proposed organizations are ready and then sends a bill to the floor with multiple pending organizations to be voted on during the Student Council legislative session. The VPO will let you know as to the date of the vote. You are not required to attend the vote unless explicitly asked but are welcome to come.
  9. The organization’s application will be approved on atUVA by Student Activities.
  10. New CIO’s should schedule and attend an orientation with the CIO Consultants.

The process in full may take between four and six weeks depending on the amount of revision that must be made to the original application. Student Council reserves the right to terminate an application if the organization consistently fails to respond to communication in a timely manner.