AN introduction

A Contracted Independent Organization (CIO) is an officially recognized student organization that has entered into the CIO agreement with the University. CIOs are not affiliated with the University or any of its departments and are liable for themselves. Recognition as a CIO provides certain benefits, including the ability to reserve meeting space on grounds, the right to advertise at the Student Council Fall and Spring Activities Fairs, the ability to request storage space on Grounds, and the potential eligibility to apply for Student Activity Fee funding through Student Council.  Any group of students can assemble and form a club, but only CIO status can grant formal recognition and confer the aforementioned benefits.



Applying for CIO status is not the first step after you have an idea for an organization you want to form. In most cases, students should only apply for CIO status after their organization has been established and operating for enough time to meet the criteria.

Students have the right to assemble and form a club without CIO status. Groups that do not clearly meet the criteria will be asked to apply in later semesters. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to visit the office hours of the Vice President for Organizations or the Organizations Recognition Committee Chair to discuss their organization’s standing before submitting an application.

  • MEMBERS: The organization must have at least ten, committed members that regularly attend programming hosted by the organization. These members must be students actively engaged with the organization. Those who have just attended an interest meeting or who are simply subscribed to a listserv will not be considered members to this end.

  • SUSTAINABILITY: The group must show evidence of sustainability over a period of years, unless the group’s objectives are short-term in nature. This entails that the group has hosted a minimum of three meetings and/or programs that are regularly attended by at least the required ten members before the organization submits an application for CIO status. Only events directly related to the mission of the organization will count toward this requirement, such as business-oriented meetings, fundraisers, and competitions. Interest meetings and social gatherings will not be considered programs directly related to the mission of the group. Organizations should keep records of the eligible events, including photos, videos, presentation slideshows, and agendas. In addition to requesting evidence of events, a member of Student Council may shadow a meeting of the organization during the application process. The organization should prepare a thorough business plan that outlines fundraising and intended expenditures of the group.

  • LEADERSHIP: There must already be an established leadership team of officers as outlined in the submitted constitution. At the minimum, this must include a president and financial officer, or parallel positions.

  • CONSTITUTION: The organization must submit a complete, up-to-date constitution that reflects the current practices of the organization. It should contain descriptive instructions of the organization’s procedures as pertaining to its mission, membership requirements, officer positions, elections, meetings, finances, advisors (if applicable), and the amendment process. The constitution must be consistent with the information presented in the application and during interviews.

  • NONDUPLICATION: A proposed organization must not duplicate the mission of another organization in existence at the University. In evaluating this, Student Council will look to the constitutions of the organizations, their activities, and information registered with the atUVA platform and provided in the CIO Census.


  • The organization must have at least ten student members.

  • At least 51% of the members must be students.

  • All officers must be students enrolled on Grounds at the University.

  • The organization name can only contain the words “University of Virginia” or “UVA” if it is phrased as “at UVA”. For example, it must be “The XYZ Club at UVA,” not “The University of Virginia XYZ Club.”

  • The organization must keep a signed CIO agreement on file with Student Activities.

  • The organization must keep an up-to-date Constitution on file with Student Council containing the nondiscrimination clause:

    • “[YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME] does not restrict its membership, programs, or activities on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family and genetic information.”


  1. The president of the organization will submit a completed application on during the application window. The application should be thorough and make a clear argument that the organization meets all the criteria for CIO status. It is better that groups err on the side of thoroughness rather than brevity.

  2. The Student Council Organizations Recognition Committee will conduct a preliminary review of the application to determine whether the organization sufficiently meets the criteria and warrants further review. Applications that lack the information necessary to judge the criteria or that demonstrably fail to meet the criteria will be deferred for re-submission with more information at a later date.

  3. If the application warrants further review, Student Council will assign each applicant organization to a member of the committee that will serve as the applicant’s primary contact throughout the application process. 

  4. The committee member will review the application to ensure that the organization meets all of the University’s requirements. Applicant organizations may violate a CIO policy related to use of the University’s name/symbols or fail to include the non-discrimination language in the constitution. Be sure to review all University requirements on this page before submitting an application. The committee member will return the application to the applicant organization to fix these violations in a timely manner before proceeding with the review process.

  5. The committee member may also seek supplemental information from the applicant organization to ensure that the group meets Student Council’s criteria. The more thorough an application is when initially submitted, the shorter the review process will be.

  6. The committee member may contact you about shadowing one of your organization’s meetings. Organizations should conduct this meeting as they normally would. The Organizations Recognition member will be an impartial observer; they are not there to participate. Be prepared to stay after the meeting for a few minutes to answer any questions that do not come up naturally in the meeting or to clarify further aspects of your application.

  7. If the organization is deemed to meet the criteria, the Vice President for Organizations will contact you about meeting to discuss your organization’s application. Interviews are informal and typically held in the Newcomb PAC (room 164). The PAC Assistant at the front desk can direct you to the VPO’s office (164J).

  8. After speaking with one or two members of the organization’s leadership team, the VPO will make the decision to recommend either approval or denial of CIO status by the Representative Body on the basis of the criteria. If the VPO decides to recommend denial, the organization will have the opportunity to retract the application and to reapply at a later date when they satisfy the criteria; it may also choose to go to vote before the Representative Body.

  9. The VPO will submit a bill to the Representative Body containing the names and missions of organizations in the final steps of the CIO application process, accompanied by a recommendation for their approval or denial. Typically, the VPO waits until multiple organizations are ready for consideration and then sends a bill to the floor with multiple pending organizations to be voted on during the Student Council legislative session. The VPO will let organizations know the date and time of the vote. Organizations are not required to attend the vote unless explicitly asked, but are welcome to attend and speak during the public comment. All CIO’s must be confirmed by the Representative Body. If an organization is denied by the Representative Body, it may appeal or wait the requisite one year before applying again for CIO status.

  10. Following approval, organization’s application will be approved on by Student Engagement staff.

  11. New CIO’s should attend a CIO Orientation with the CIO Consultants committee.

The application process takes at least four weeks to complete in full. The speed of the process is largely dependent on the speed with which organizations respond to the Organizations Recognition Committee. Student Council reserves the right to terminate an application if the organization fails to respond to communication in a timely manner.


The application for CIO status will be open from Monday, January 21 to Friday, February 22.

Applications will be reviewed in priority of the order in which they are submitted.  Applications that are incomplete or whose submitters do not respond to emails in a timely manner will lose priority in their review.


Any CIO wishing to gain first-time Club Sport CIO status must:

  • be in good standing with the University (active status on atUVA) and eligible to use University facilities and services for a period of one academic year

  • meet with the Director or Coordinator of Intramural & Club Sports for final approval


Greek-letter social organizations or societies must pursue Fraternal Organization Agreement (FOA) status to be in relationship with the University. They do not qualify for CIO status. Although not an exhaustive list, Greek-letter social organizations meet the following criteria:

  • The primary purpose of the organization is social in nature, and may include a core component of cultural/identity connection.

  • The organization is not primarily professional or academic in purpose, mission, or affiliation (i.e., professional or academic fraternities/sororities and honor societies).

  • The organization utilizes a Recruitment/Rush/Intake process to select new members.

  • The organization employs formal sisterhood/brotherhood (or equivalent) terminology when describing its individual members as well as its membership network.

  • The organization is a member of a national governing body (e.g. fraternity/sorority national headquarters) and/or has a formally structured alumni organizational base (e.g., House Corporation Board)

In all cases, Student Council and the Office of the Dean of Students will make the final determination regarding a student organization’s classification as a CIO or FOA.


Below you will find the CIO Agreement, to which all organizations seeking CIO status pledge to abide, and a constitution template that may serve as an optional template for organizations structuring their governing document.