Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Resource Guide say about discipline?
A: On Page 14 of the Harvard College 2019-2020 Recognized Student Organization Resource Guide, a sentence notes that “Student Organizations who are found to have elected a member of a USGSO to a leadership position will be put through the Student Organization Discipline process and that student will be removed from the leadership position." The guide notes that “leadership positions” are defined to include “officers and board members of the organization.”

Does evidence of a student organization leader’s USGSO membership trigger investigation related to possible disciplinary action by both the DSO (through the Student Organization Discipline process) and the Ad Board (through a case on student conduct) — coordinated or uncoordinated?
A: If the College is made aware of a possible violation of the USGSO policy, the College will bring the student(s) in to speak with the DSO directly and take appropriate action dependent on the circumstances of the case. Each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis.

As a reminder, the Policy was incorporated into the Handbook for Students through the Faculty's regular process of reviewing and updating The Handbook language. As is stated in the policy, a student who belongs to a USGSO is not eligible for certain leadership positions or fellowship support.  Therefore, if a student is found to be in a USGSO while also holding a leadership position in a recognized organization or serving as a captain, or while under consideration for a fellowship, the student will need to give up the leadership position or fellowship support. The College’s usual processes concerning candor with Harvard administrators apply in this area as in all other areas of student life.  Therefore, if a student is found to be lying to an administrator or to be misrepresenting their membership status, that student will be subject to standard disciplinary proceedings as currently described in the Handbook. Policy violations relating to social misconduct and misrepresentation of membership status are reviewed by the Administrative Board.

If a student leader and/or the student organization in question refuses to abide by a DSO mandate that the someone be “removed” from the leadership position, what sanction will ensue?
A: In each instance of a reported violation of any kind, the situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. The specific actions that may potentially be taken will vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

Is it correct that Harvard affiliates can use the “student conduct concerns” form on the Ad Board website to report students who might be in violation of the USGSO policy? Is there any other means by which such a situation can be reported to the Ad Board?
A: Students may submit concerns of any kind via the Ad Board form. In accordance with Harvard’s typical processes, actions taken on the basis of such submissions will vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

What kind of evidence is necessary to verify a student’s affiliation with a sanctioned organization? What kind of supporting documentation, if any, would be required?
A: Each situation varies and is handled on a case-by-case basis. The details regarding what information will be needed to substantiate a particular claim will vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

Has there been at least one instance of a complaint filed with the DSO or the Ad Board with regard to a student’s violation of the USGSO policy?
A: We are not going to comment on the number of cases brought to our attention or any other specifics related to alleged violations of the policy.

Has there been at least one instance of an investigation or disciplinary review related to a student’s violation of the USGSO policy? If so, has there been at least one instance of formal disciplinary action by consequence of such a process?
A: We are not going to comment on the number of cases brought to our attention or any other specifics related to alleged violations of the policy.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, please contact Rachael Dane at rachael_dane@harvard.edu.