Student Organization Liability Case Scenarios. Dr. David A. Hoffman Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Office of Citizenship and Community Standards Mr. Kevin Bollinger Area Coordinator Residential Living. Scenario A.
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Dr. David A. Hoffman
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Office of Citizenship and Community Standards
Mr. Kevin Bollinger
Your organization hosts a party at its house along with another student organization. Organization risk management protocol requires that it be a BYOB event and appropriate steps have been taken so that students check-in their alcohol with one of your trained members in the designated refrigerator/location until those guests ask for it (the alcohol is tagged with their name for identification).
As an officer of the organization, you later notice one of the guests is extremely intoxicated, having trouble standing, and is groping some of the women from the co-sponsoring organization. You confront the individual along with one of your designated party security personnel about his behavior and ask the individual to leave. He refuses to do so. You also learn from one of the women that he has groped that this is his first year at Truman and he reported having a blast during Truman Week when he attended several off-campus parties.
Your organization wants to do a fundraiser for your national philanthropy. Your philanthropy committee decides to sell raffle tickets for $1 each or 6 for $5 during the next month. The raffle winner will receive a $250 gift certificate to the Truman Bookstore. As the organization’s officers, do you have cause to be concerned about this activity?
Your organization decides to do a fundraiser to assist with its local projects and charities. The fundraising committee decides to do a casino night with a variety of games available from Collins Rentals. Your organization members will staff each of the game tables. You will charge $5 for individuals or $8 for couples to attend the event. Each guests will be provided with 10 tickets to purchase $250 in casino chips. It is a nice affair in the Activities Room and you have also provided for punch and a variety of finger foods from Sodexho.
Guests can use the 10 tickets they received initially or the tickets they have remaining or have acquired after about 2.5 hours of playing the casino games for a chance to win one of about 20 prizes donated by local merchants, ranging from CDs to a new palm computer. They place their tickets in a box in front of each of the prizes and a drawing is held at 11:30 p.m.
You are the President of a small organization that has limited funds in your Organization’s checking account, approximately $300. The officers of your organization decide to hold a formal dinner and dance at XYZ Banquet Facility. The cost of renting the room for the dance is $250 for the evening and you must guarantee dinner for a minimum of 50 people in advance at $20 per person ($1,000). XYZ Banquet Facility requires a $250 security deposit that will be credited to your bill for the dance room rental, unless any other expenses are incurred such as facility damage. The formal chair finds two local bands that will play each play for $150 ($300) total, payable at the time they arrive to perform. The formal committee plans to charge each of your 30 members $30 per person and they are required to attend the formal. They are counting on each member to bring a date and pay an additional $25 at the door ($1,650 total revenue). The formal committee believes the organization should clear a profit of $150 for the treasury with this event.
The formal chair signs a binding contract with XYZ Banquet Facility for a minimum of $1,000 and has an organizational check for the $250 security deposit (checking account balance now $50). Only 15 of your members bring dates for the evening (loss of $375 in revenue). Two of your members get into an argument at dinner and one of them shoves the other through the room divider, damaging the divider and a buffet table set-up for another group in the other room. XYZ Banquet Facility is pretty cool about it, but keeps the security deposit and hands you a bill for $1,250 ($1,000 food minimum and $250 room rental) at the end of the evening. Your Treasurer can’t write the check to pay the bill because he only collected $375 in cash from the guests at the door and has $650 in the checking account after paying each of the two bands $150 each. As President, things look a little bleak that night, and you are $225 short!
The owners give the organization a week to come up with the balance due. A week has passed and XYZ’s owners contact the University for assistance in getting reimbursed for the $225 your organization has not paid and also are seeking another $250 from your organization now that they have the actual costs for the repair of the room divider, replacement of the damaged table and dishes, and estimated loss of prepared food from the buffet table. If they don’t get it within a week, they indicate they will sue your organization and the University for reimbursement, damages, suffering, and court costs.
Your organization orders $200 worth of recognition plaques from A-B Company in Kirksville for the ten awards you provide to your members at an annual organizational recognition banquet in the Spring. Some members haven’t paid their dues and you don’t have the funds in your account to pay for the plaques. Your Awards Chair and Treasurer have been dodging phone calls from the owner of A-B company, who has been trying to contact them to come pick-up the plaques and pay for them. It is now past the date inscribed on the plaques, so A-B’s owner contacts the Center for Student Involvement about your outstanding bill. The CSI has now contacted you as president of the organization?
Your organization has a tradition of having its female pledges sing songs as a group to a number of men that the active members find attractive in the residence halls. While the organization gets permission from Residential Living to do this between 7-9 p.m. on a weekday evening in several of the halls and the hall directors are made aware of your organization’s plans, a Truman hall director notices that only certain young women in your organization appear to be singing to the residents. She knows that some of the members are pledges, because they are residents of her hall. She is also concerned about the fact that they only sing to the attractive men in the hall. The Hall Director informs her Area Coordinator and a referral is made to the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards.
A female first-year resident is crushed when she doesn’t get selected for IMQT organization. She goes to talk with her SA and informs her that during recruitment she was humiliated by members of the organization. She is somewhat overweight, although she lost 50 pounds during the last two years of high school by making significant and healthy lifestyle changes and is within 15% of her ideal body weight. During one evening of recruitment week, recruits were asked to unclothe until they were dressed only in their bras and panties. Organization members circled areas on each recruit’s body that the group felt needed improvement with bright markers!
This student is now crushed that she allowed her self to be humiliated like that in front of these other women (they circled her breasts, hips, thighs, and stomach). The SA contacts the Hall Director who provides support and encourages the student to seek counseling at University Counseling Services and to file a complaint against the organization under the Student Conduct Code. As President of the organization, you have just received a charges letter from the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards?
Your organization is known as the “SOCIAL” organization! It has lots of party’s at the house during the semester. During recruitment, four of your members take two of the organization’s new recruits to the house they rent off-campus. The members decide to have some fun with the new recruits and offer them some beer, even though they know the recruits are only 18. After they have a few beers, the new recruits get a little relaxed. The four organization members indicate that they will only vote for them to become full members at the end of the semester if they can prove they can hold their liquor. They have to down four double-shots of Jack Daniels and chase it with a 32 oz. mug of beer within 15 minutes.
Your organization hosts “Blow Out Party II” of the semester at its off-campus house. Several guests drive to the party and park in the lot on your property. There is a mix of Truman students from the “right” organizations and their guests, some of whom are not Truman students. You have an excellent risk management protocol (only individuals on your guest list and their one guest are allowed into the party, underage students are identified and not allow to bring alcohol into the party, and you have strict control of each guests BYOB alcohol through your tagging system.
Later in the evening, you ask some of your guests to leave because they have had too much to drink and are causing a disturbance. The one’s causing the trouble are not Truman students, but your Truman student guest agrees to get them out of there. The Truman student gets in his car, but his guest refuses to refuses to get in the car. Some other non-Truman women guests decide to get involved in the situation and jump onto the hood of the car while the Truman student is backing out. The driver of the car stops, but two of the women fall off and land face first. The problem guest quickly gets in the car and the Truman student thinks this is his opportunity to get his guest off your property, so he leaves.
After he leaves, it is discovered the two women guests landed pretty hard. It is clear they have lost some teeth and have some nasty cuts on their faces. Your officers are contacted and the organization does the right thing by calling 911. The women are transported to the hospital. It is later determined that along with each losing four of their front teeth, one broke her nose, and the other her jaw along with the nasty cuts and abrasions that required 100 stitches between the two of them. They sober up the next day and are not real thrilled to learn about their medical bills for the night before, the medical treatment they are facing, and that they will probably have some facial scars for the rest of their life. The Dean of Student Affairs Office is made aware of this event by the Kirksville Police Department.
You organization plans a weekend retreat at the Lake of the Ozarks. You are able to rent a fine facility with several cabins and multipurpose lodge for your meetings. You have 50 members, but decide to carpool to save on gas and many of the members don’t have cars. You plan to leave Friday around 4 p.m. and have about 8 members who can drive. One of your driver’s is a chronic procrastinator. You are aware when she arrives that she pulled an all-nighter Thursday to finish a paper for English that was due that morning. One of your other members drives a car that is about 25 years old. It will do 70 if he pushes it, but it leaves a thick trail of black smoke in its wake. His tires also look they have seen better days.
Your group departs and stops for a pre-arranged dinner at Chevy’s in Columbia at about 6 p.m. The members have fun and are back on the road again at 8 p.m. Although the driver’s agreed not to drink, a couple of the guys had a few beers. The convoy is entering the construction zone and the highway narrows to two lanes as you approach Osage Beach. There is also some fog. Ms. All-Nighter falls asleep at the will momentarily and swerves into the oncoming lane and hits another vehicle. Her car spins around and hits the clunker car. His car is now really spewing smoke as the remaining three cars in the convoy approach behind them. You can imagine what might happen next! As President, you were in the last car and were able to stop in time. It is now Monday morning and you are meeting with the Dean of Student Affairs.