The University of Alabama, Division of Finance and Operations

Student Organization Construction Project Policy

Unit:  Administration
Contact: Cheryl Mowdy
Title:  Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations
Effective Date: 9/13/2013
Revision Date: 04/25/2016


 
 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the guidelines to be followed by Student Organizations that desire to complete any type of construction project.

In 2005, The University of Alabama established a program to provide financial assistance to UA Student Organizations to help those organizations improve the quality and safety of the residential options those organizations provide to our students. This program has supported the construction of several new Student Organization facilities and renovations and additions to many others.

All projects must follow the process outlined below to ensure that projects are completed in a timely and efficient manner in accordance with the rules established by UA and required by Board Rule 415.

This policy codifies this process and adopts the requirements of Board Rule 415.

Policy

Notifying the University about a Student Organization's intent to conduct a construction project to improve or extend the useful life of the University Facility that is managed and operated by the Student Organization is extremely important. Serious issues could result if the University is not made aware of a project. Therefore, regardless of the dollar amount of the project and/ or the funding source for the project, Student Organizations that plan to do improvements or renewals and replacements to a facility must first contact the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life who will make a determination as to the next step required.

Student Organizations that wish to undertake a project must follow the procedures below:

  • A Project Initiation Request Form (PIR) must be submitted to the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at least one week prior to the next regularly scheduled Student Organization Facilities Committee meeting. Regular meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month, and special meetings can be called if necessary.
  • The Student Organization Facilities Committee will review the PIR and make a recommendation to the Administration regarding whether it believes the project should proceed as proposed or proceed to the Board of Trustees (BOT) for approval, if required.
  • Once the plans are approved by the Student Organization Facilities Committee and/or the Board of Trustees, the Project can begin with the appropriate coordination with UA Construction Administration.
  • All projects with a project cost of $50,000 or greater will be managed by the University and bid in accordance with state procurement and bid laws regardless of the source of funding.
  • Projects with a cost that is less than $50,000 can be managed by the House Corporation of the Student Organization.
  • Projects that connect to or could affect UA infrastructure must be managed by the University, regardless of cost.
  • In accordance with Board Rule 415, architects/ designers for all projects must be engaged/hired by UA, regardless of project cost or funding source.
  • For Student Organizations that wish to apply for new or existing lots or those that would like to request swing space while a project is being completed, the appropriate application must be completed and submitted for review by the Student Organization Housing Advisory Board Committee. The submission of this application is also coordinated by the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
  • Any requests regarding using images of a student organization’s current house or any proposed construction or renovation project must be sent to University Relations in order to follow appropriate University policies and processes regarding the commercial use of images of UA property.

Projects Funded by Monies Borrowed from UA

Student Organizations that wish to borrow money from UA to finance the proposed project will be required to submit a business plan showing the Student Organization's ability to repay the funds. Student Organizations must submit any documentation requested in conjunction with reviewing the business plan. This documentation may include but is not limited to articles of incorporations, by-laws, bank statements, tax returns, and other documents that provide evidence of sufficient collateral to financially and legally back a project. The organization must also show that it currently has no debt. If the organization has any debt internally with UA or externally with a private bank or national chapter, such debt must be paid in full before the University will proceed to request Stage I BOT submittal for a project where the organization requests a loan from UA in order to fund the project. Once the business plan is approved, UA will proceed with the appropriate BOT submittals to seek approval for the proposed project. Student Organizations must adhere to the business plans that are submitted to Finance and Operations and approved by the BOT. If any substantial revisions are made to an organization's business plan, it must be re-submitted to Finance and Operations for approval before such revisions go into effect. Once a Student Organization has paid back its loan in full, a short-term lease between the Student Organization and the University must be executed. Sample lease documents will be provided upon request.

Some expansion and new construction projects will require some current houses to be demolished. Organizations that choose to remain on their current lots and demolish their current houses will not receive money for the equity in their current house because they have chosen to demolish and build new in order to remain in the same location. For Organizations that wish to move to another available lot in order to expand, it may be possible to transfer the equity in their current house in order to have those funds available to use for a new project. In order for this to take place, another Organization in good standing with the University must be willing and financially able to purchase the equity in the current house.

If such Organization exists, UA will pay for an appraisal to determine the value to be assigned to the equity in the house. The appraisal will take place as close to the current organization's move out date as possible. UA can decide to get the appraisal done at an earlier date, if necessary, and the organization living in the house must sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the condition of the house at the time of the appraisal.

Organizations that must purchase the equity in another Organization's house to demolish that house to expand on a bigger lot must pay for the equity in said house before they can proceed with their new construction project.

Student Organizations that borrow money from the University, and who use the services of an external firm for financial management services such as billing and collection of dues, fees, or rents, (a) must have written agreements in place regarding the financial services provided; and (b) must provide a copy of the agreement(s) to UA. If a change in financial management firm occurs, the agreement with the new financial management firm must be provided to UA upon execution of the new agreement.

Student Organizations that borrow money from the University should provide copies annually of proof of the following: (1) property and liability insurance as required by their loan agreement; and (2) fidelity coverage (e.g., comprehensive crime insurance, commercial crime insurance, or bonds) related to the indebtedness owed to UA.

Student Organizations that borrow money from the University shall provide the University on an annual basis an audited (if available) or unaudited financial statement for any entity that signs the loan agreement, such as the local house corporation and/or the national organization. Such financial statement shall be provided no later than sixty (60) days after the close of the relevant fiscal year. Student Organizations must also provide additional financial or other information to the University when in the reasonable judgment of the University such information is necessary to evaluate the ability to repay the loan. Further, Student Organizations must comply with all rules, Regulations, and filing requirements of the Internal Revenue Service applicable to and necessary to maintain their current tax status.

Student Organizations that wish to borrow money from UA to finance the proposed project must also show due diligence regarding the mitigation and prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault, and hazing as well as showing the organization's commitment to the recruitment of a diverse student membership and to the development of the intercultural competence of its members as it relates to the University's Strategic Plan for Diversity. Specifically, organizations will be required to submit a Chapter/Group Project Plan detailing policies and educational programs aimed at mitigating instances of hazing, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol abuse. In this plan, Chapter/ Group should provide evidence with regard to the following: (1) measures currently being undertaken by the local Chapter/Group and Chapter/Group leadership to educate the entire membership about the negative effects that alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, and hazing have on Chapter/Group members, the organization, and the University as a whole and (2) the implementation and enforcement of Chapter/Group policies aimed at mitigating and preventing drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault and hazing. Organizations will also be required to submit a Chapter/ Group Project Plan detailing the policies and educational programs that support the recruitment of a diverse student membership and the advancement of intercultural competence. Annually, the Chapter/Group will be required to submit both of these Chapter/Group Project Plans to the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the beginning of each academic year, prior to the start of the first day of fall classes. Guidelines for developing these plans are provided below.

Mitigation of Hazing, Sexual Assault, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse

  1. Risk Management:
    1. Chapter/ Group must submit a copy of their current local and national risk management policies, specifically those pertaining to alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, and hazing.
    2. Policies should include sections that address the following topics:
      1. Social event management: 
        Include a copy of the Chapter's/Group's social event guidelines.
      2. Crisis response policy/ flow chart
        Include a copy of the Chapter's/ Group's incident response and/or crisis management plan.
      3. In-house judicial/ conduct/ standards board
        Include a copy of any policies and/ or regulations that outline the purpose of the Chapter's/Group's judicial board, the selection of members, training of members, and potential sanctions
  2. Harm Reduction:
    1. Chapter/ Group must submit a copy of a Harm Reduction program that details the educational programming initiatives offered by the Chapter/ Group throughout the year to all members in an effort to educate the entire Chapter/ Group membership. Specifically include those programs aimed at preventing inappropriate/ dangerous behaviors resulting in alcohol/ drug abuse, sexual assault, or hazing.
    2. Educational programming initiatives should include sections that address the following topics:
      1. Responsible use of alcohol
      2. Alternatives to hazing and steps towards eliminating the culture of hazing within a Chapter/ Group
      3. How to detect and/ or identify problem drinking and/ or chemical dependency behaviors
      4. Resources available to members that are experiencing issues as the result of chemical dependency, sexual assault, and/ or hazing

III. Plan of Action/Strategic Plan

  1. Chapter/ Group must submit a copy of (1) a current plan of action as well as (2) a five-year strategic plan aimed at mitigating hazing and alcohol, sexual assault, and drug abuse.
  2. Current plan of action
    Provide a detailed description of current policies, programs, and procedures for monitoring, managing and mitigating incidents involving hazing, sexual assault, alcohol and drugs.
  3. Five-year strategic plan
    1. Provide a plan of action that covers the next 5 years focusing on continued education and programs aimed at ongoing efforts to eliminate, or prevent, cultures of hazing, alcohol and/ or drug abuse, and sexual assault within the Chapter/ Group.  Specifically include those policies and educational programs aimed at preventing inappropriate/ dangerous behaviors resulting in alcohol/ drug abuse, sexual assault, or hazing.
    2. Provide a yearly evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives.
      Chapters will be required to submit to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life by May 1st an evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives.
      1. Chapters not submitting an evaluation will be considered "Not in Good Standing," with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and will not be able to host events on campus at their chapter facility until an evaluation has been submitted.
      2. Chapters who submit an evaluation with predominantly poor reviews will be required to meet monthly with a staff member from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to revamp their current plan of action as well as their 5- year plan.

Recruitment of a Diverse Student Membership and the Advancement of Intercultural Competence

  1. Non-Discrimination:
    1. Chapter/Group must submit a copy of their current local and/or national nondiscrimination policies, specifically those pertaining to membership selection, initiation and chapter operations.
    2. Chapter/Group must submit documentation verifying that officers, members, and advisors are trained on and follow local and/or international nondiscrimination policies as well as those of The University of Alabama.
  2. Diversity:
    1. Chapter/ Group must submit a copy of a Diversity program that details the educational programming initiatives offered by the Chapter/ Group throughout the year to all members in an effort to educate the entire Chapter/ Group membership. Specifically include those programs aimed at the recruitment and retention of a diverse student membership, the development of intercultural awareness and competence, and creation and sustention of a culture of inclusion.
    2. Educational programming initiatives should include sections that address the following, but are not limited to:
      1. Recruitment Strategies
      2. New Member Education
      3. Officer Training
      4. Advisor Training
      5. Alumni Outreach
      6. Partnerships with campus and/or community constituents
  3. Plan of Action/Strategic Plan
    1. Chapter/ Group must submit a copy of (1) a current plan of action as well as (2) a five-year strategic plan aimed at the recruitment and retention of a diverse student membership, the development of intercultural awareness and competence, and the creation and sustention of a culture of inclusion.
    2. Current plan of action
      Provide a detailed description of current policies, programs, and procedures for monitoring, managing and mitigating incidents involving discrimination. Specifically address how Chapter/ Group will address individual and group violations of non-discrimination policies.
    3. Five-year strategic plan
      Provide a plan of action that covers the next five years focusing on continued education, and programs aimed at ongoing efforts to eliminate, or prevent, discrimination within the Chapter/ Group.  Specifically include those policies and educational programs aimed at the following:
      1. Recruitment Strategies
        1. How Chapter/Group recruits and pledges students representing varied backgrounds (i.e. race, color, creed, national origin, ability, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation)
        2. How Chapter/Group recruitment practices reflect a spirit of inclusion and community
      2. Intercultural Awareness and Competence
        1. How Chapter/Group initiates education programs or discussions on topics of diversity and inclusion
        2. How Chapter/Group educates members on inclusive language and party/theme events
      3. Culture of Inclusion
        1. How Chapter/Group creates an environment where each member feels respected and appreciated
        2. Provide a yearly evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives.
    4. Chapters will be required to submit to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life by May 1st an evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives.
      1. Chapters who submit an evaluation with predominantly poor reviews will be required to meet monthly with a staff member from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to revamp their current plan of action as well as their 5- year plan.
      2. Chapters not submitting an evaluation will be considered "Not in Good Standing," with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and will not be able to host events on campus at their chapter facility until an evaluation has been submitted.

Other Department and/or Divisions:

Scope

This policy applies to student organizations who desire to complete a construction project.

 
 

Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations

Approved by Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations, 04/25/2016