• Student Activities and Organizations
  • Report
  • Higher Ed

Student Organizations and Activities: Managing the Risks

Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
February 2022

Why Read This

Serious injuries and fatalities involving student organizations have led to claims that have cost United Educators (UE) and its members more than $100 million. Specifically, a college or university can be held liable if a court determines the institution could have reasonably foreseen the harm that occurred in a particular case and failed to take adequate precautions.

This report guides administrators through strategies to mitigate risks including:

  • Establishing risk management teams
  • Using waivers
  • Developing policies regulating group travel and alcohol use

Key Takeaways

  • Higher levels of control over student organizations generally create a greater institutional duty to oversee the organizations and protect students affiliated with the organizations from harm. While institutions may decide less involvement is better, there may be laws and other policy considerations that dictate institutions’ need to actively participate.
  • Institutions must decide whether a student organization should be sponsored, independent, or unrecognized. Even when organizations are unrecognized, institutions should establish policies to regulate their behavior.
  • Greek organizations merit special attention because they produce a disproportionate number of serious claims.

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