Cleveland State Unviversity

Cleveland State Unviversity


1. What types of Student Government associations do you have on your campus?

Our Student Government Association (SGA) serves as representation for undergraduate and graduate students. Our Student Bar Association (SBA) plays the same role for our LawSchool.

2. What written statements exist that define the relationship between the Student Government and the University’s Administration, the Board of Trustees?(Please provide examples of these documents.

Our STUDENT CONDUCT CODE specifies that “students have the right to establish and elect a democratic student government” (article I.E); the CODE is a document of the ClevelandStateUniversity Board of Trustees.

The SGA Constitution,approved by the Faculty Senate Student Life Committee, specifies that “The governance of ClevelandStateUniversity is vested in the Board of Trustees of the University under the provisions/laws of the State of Ohio. Any SGA responsibility related to the governing of CSU can be enacted when requested or supported by the President of the University (or designee) acting under the authority of the Board of Trustees” (article II.4).

A document requiring University President approval in consultation with the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and the Faculty Senate Student Life Committee (called “Student Organization Policies, Procedures & Guidelines”) specifies that SGA is responsible for allocating “general fee” (i.e. student activity) funds to undergraduate and graduate student organizations, while SBA has the same responsibility for Law School student groups. This same document also specifies that the SGA Print Shop is responsible for managing flyer and banner postings/policies for student groups.

3. Who bestows the authority for the Student Government to exist? What language is used to do this? Where is this language contained?

The documents indicated in question no. 2 above would seem to bestow said authority. Ultimately, the key document for any student organization to exist at CSU is their Constitution…as approved by the Faculty Senate Student Life Committee. NOTE: I also understand that the State of Ohio bylaws dictate that state funded universities have some type of formal student governance (although I have not seen such a document).

4. Is the Student Government autonomous or are they responsible to another University entity? If so, what is that entity (Board, specific office, etc.)?

This is a difficult question to answer. I typically operate with an understanding that our SGA is first/foremost responsible to our Student Body…as our SGA officials are elected by a student body vote….and all SGA funds come from the “general fee” thateach student pays based on the number of credit hours taken. However, the officers of our general fee-funded groups “come under the general supervision and are accountable to the Dean of Students” (from the agreement that each officer signs before taking office); the Dean also has the right to remove an SGA officer from their position in consultation with the Advisor. NOTE: our SGA also requires signature authority for all expenditures…up to $250 from the Advisor…over $250 from the Dean of Students.

5. How is the Student Government structured – leadership, representation, advisor?

Our SGA is structured as follows:

Executive Branch – President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer.

Undergraduate Senate:

a.One Senator for each academic class: Fresh, Soph, Junior, Senior.

b.One Senator for every 1,000 students enrolled in each of six academic colleges(some have as many as three Senators); NOTE: we actually round up from 800.

c.One Senator for each Residence Hall (currently only 2).

d.Two Senators representing student organizations.

e.Three “at-large” Senators representing all undergraduate students.

Graduate Senate:

a.One Graduate Senator for each of six academic colleges.

b.One “at-large” Graduate Senator.

Speaker of the Senate – selected from among and by the seated Senate.

Print Shop Manager – seated Senator selected to run SGA “copy center” (includes all operations; e.g. staff selection/training, scheduling, flyer/banner posting policies).

Advisor – member of Department of Student Life staff designated by the Dean of Students.

Cabinet – the Executive Branch plus the Speaker, Print Shop Manager, Advisor, and any other individual as designated by the President.

Board of Elections – a unit of SGA responsible for establishing election rules and facilitating the entire student body vote each spring semester.

6. How is the Student Activity fee set? By whom?

The fee (called the “General Fee” on our campus) is set by the Board of Trustees acting in consultation with University Administration.

7. How is the Student Activity fee allocated? To whom? What oversight exists and by whom?

I understand that our Board of Trustees and University Administration currently allocate the great majority of the fee to intercollegiate athletics and select student focused construction projects (e.g. RecreationCenter, NewStudentCenter). Less than 15% is then allocated to the General Fee Advisory Committee (GFAC), chaired by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, for what might be traditionally thought of as “student activities” initiatives. GFAC allocates funds to a limited number of general fee-funded groups, including SGA and SBA…plus our campus weekly newspaper, radio station, programming board, monthly culture magazine, law school newspaper, creative writing journal, and Greek Council. The Department of Student Life also receives some programming funds from GFAC. NOTE: 6 of 9 voting members of GFAC are students. Of course, SGA and SBA are expected to fund their constituent student groups…typically at least 150 others….out of the monies received from GFAC.

8. What is the University’s responsibility for oversight of the allocation? How is this defined?

Not sure if I am answering this adequately…but I can offer that each entity funded by GFAC (see above) is asked to submit a year-end summary report that details how all funds were used. GFAC has established a protocol document that specifies how fund allocation is to proceed; this document also indicates that GFAC is to formally review the status of those under their purview once every 4-6 years…with the possibility of revoking “general fee status” if a funded entity no longer warrants such classification.

9. Are there differences in procedures for undergraduate and graduate student government organizations if there is more than one SG? Graduate students vs. undergraduates, part-time vs. full-time.

Our Student Bar Association (LawSchool) has an entirely separate constitution, and thus has different procedures for most of their initiatives.


Steven Liss / Director, Student Involvement (& SGA Advisor)