Liability Issues for Advisors

Serving as an advisor of a student organization requires knowledge and sensitivity to certain liability issues. Acting as the advisor to a student organization is part of your official duty as an employee of the University. Consequently, when you act in this capacity, you are acting as an agent of the University. As such, you are accountable to the University for your actions. Issues of liability are a reality and they should help us make good decisions, but they should not prohibit the organization from being a dynamic group that engages in activities that enrich the students' academic experience.

The rule of thumb for determining liability is the reasonable person standard, which is defined as "that degree of care which a person of ordinary prudence would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. . .endeavor should exercise under similar circumstances" (Black's Law Dictionary). In this matter, the law relies clearly on common sense.

Included in this handbook are policies that have been developed to act as guides to help protect the University from potential liability. As an advisor, it is incumbent on you to read, become familiar with, and follow these guidelines. Below are listed some of the policies that have the most potential for liability, along with the handbook references where the policies can be found.

Alcohol & Drug Student Handbook

Student Org. Advisor Handbook
Risk Management Annual Mandatory Risk Management Trng.
Hazing Student Org. Advisor Handbook
Vehicle Use Student Org. Advisor Handbook
Trips Student Org. Advisor Handbook,
Money Student Org. Advisor Handbook,
Sexual Harassment

Student Handbook

Admin./Staff Guidelines,

Chapter IX

Faculty Handbook

Remember that there is always help available to you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please contact the Director of the Student Center & Leadership Activities. If this person does not know the answer, the University's legal counsel will be consulted to ensure that the best decision possible is being made.