To promote diverse and inclusive opportunities in undergraduate student life, empower undergraduate student leaders, and ensure fair governance along with responsible fiscal policy, the officers of the Activities Board at Columbia, hereafter referred to as ABC, swear to uphold this Constitution faithfully. 


ABC is an undergraduate governing board that operates on behalf of its constituent groups. ABC governs organizations with a diverse range of interests, including Academic, Black, Dance, East Asian, Engineering, European/Middle Eastern, Indigenous, Latine, Media, Music, Performance, Pre-Professional, Publications, Special Interest, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander groups. ABC serves the following primary purposes: 

  • Advocates for and represents the interests of its groups;

  • Determines funding and approves groups’ expenditures;

  • Sets funding and policy guidelines for its groups; 

  • Determines group recognition and derecognition status. 



The ABC Executive Board shall consist of the following five officers: 

  • President, whose powers and responsibilities include calling and presiding over ABC meetings, coordinating ABC, holding ABC elections, and managing relationships with fellow governing boards and student councils; 

  • Vice-President, whose responsibilities include presiding over ABC meetings when the ABC President is unavailable, and assisting the President and other officers in executing and enforcing the policy decisions made by ABC; 

  • Treasurer, whose responsibilities include balancing the ABC account and executing monetary legislation made by ABC; 

  • Secretary, whose responsibilities include leading the New Group Recognition Process, sending out the regular ABC newsletter, taking minutes of weekly ABC meetings, and making them publicly accessible;

  • Tech Director (if appointed), whose responsibilities include website maintenance and technology-related initiatives. They do not receive a vote, and are not considered within the executive board quorum within the remainder of this document. 


There will be at least fifteen ABC Representatives, according to the interests described in Article I: Purpose. The duties of the Representatives shall include advising a set category of groups, which involves the following: 

  • Maintaining regular communication with group leaders, including making a concerted effort to attend or arrange for at least one meeting or event per semester per group represented, notification of important meetings, deadlines, and related information; 

  • Advising groups with programming, finances, and helping them understand ABC procedures, rules, and regulations; 

  • Acting as the primary source of information for ABC regarding the group’s activities, and making recommendations to ABC with regard to actions taken by the board concerning the group, including recognition, de-recognition, appeals, and allocations. 

Notwithstanding the amendment process outlined within this Constitution, the board may revise its Article I: Purpose with a ⅔ majority vote. No representative may be disenfranchised through this process; however, the addition of interests may necessitate additional appointments or special elections, according to the procedures set forth in ARTICLE X. 


The Columbia Office for Undergraduate Student Life (USL) appoints one advisor to the ABC board. This advisor is not required to attend ABC meetings, nor do they receive a vote in board matters. Nevertheless, the executive board is required to meet at least monthly with ABC’s appointed undergraduate student life advisor, unless such an appointment has not been fulfilled. 


  • Every member of ABC has one vote, except for the President, who may vote only in the event of a tie. 

  • Meetings shall be held weekly, and all meetings shall be open to the public unless closed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote by all present voting members of the Board. 

  • A quorum of a simple majority of the voting members of the board must be present for any business to be conducted. 



To be a recognized group of ABC, a group must: 

  • Not be community service, political, religious, athletic, or activist in purpose. Honorary societies, fraternities, sororities, and privately incorporated organizations are also ineligible; 

  • Be open to all members of the Columbia community regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, veteran’s status, academic major, or physical handicaps; 

  • Be composed of at least twenty (20) members, unless the nature of the group precludes a 20-person membership; 

  • Have a membership consisting of three-fourths (3/4) Columbia College and/or the School of Engineering and Applied Science and/or Barnard College and/or the School of General Studies undergraduate students. 

  • Have at least one of the President, Vice-President, or Treasurer be a full-time undergraduate student of Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Barnard College, or the School of General Studies. This person will be required to complete required training at the start of the academic year; 

  • Not duplicate the function and/or recognized purpose of any other ABC organization; 

  • Require access to University facilities and resources not otherwise available to them as an unrecognized group. 


  • Recognized groups may include “Columbia” as part of the name of the organization. The organization may not, however, use the name “Columbia” in such a way as to represent to others that the organization is authorized to act on behalf of the University (e.g. when the organization is negotiating or signing contracts); 

  • Recognized groups at minimum also have access to Student Engagement-provided resources, including advising, space and services in Lerner Hall (and other buildings) for group programming, use of a group inbox for communications, a financial account, and the ability to request funding from ABC. 


  • All groups will be placed into one of the interests defined in Article I. 

  • Each category, covering a specific interest, will elect their own ABC Representative. 

  • Groups may submit requests to the ABC board for changing categories. Changes in categories will occur by a simple majority vote of the ABC board. 


  • All groups must keep a Constitution on file with ABC. The minimum requirements for board approval are that the Constitution is structurally sound and does not contradict a provision of the ABC Constitution. 

  • A group wishing to change its Constitution must submit an amended Constitution along with reasons for the change to the ABC Board. The amended Constitution must be approved by a simple majority of the full ABC board. 

  • If a change in the mission statement of the group is deemed significant enough by ABC, the group may instead be referred to the New Group Recognition process. 


  • All ABC recognized groups are held accountable to meet and maintain the minimum requirements necessary for ABC membership, outlined in the ABC constitution, in Article III, Section 1. To that end, ABC has the right to conduct an auditing process throughout the year; 

  • The objective of the auditing process is to ensure that student groups adhere to the rules outlined in this constitution, ABC bylaws, ABC policies and procedures, and meet the necessary requirements to maintain their recognized status. In the event of non-compliance or failure to meet the minimum standards, an inspection process will be initiated.

  • Groups may be randomly selected for accountability review in combination with recommendations from advisors and representatives; 

  • Groups selected for audit will be required to submit relevant information, including internal documents, in accordance with the auditing standards; 

  • The ABC board will review all submitted forms to make sure that groups are meeting and maintaining the minimum criteria for membership in ABC; 

  • During the auditing review process, ABC shall conduct a review of group programming and spending. The Executive Board of ABC shall determine whether any group’s behavior is grounds for appropriate penalties and/or improvement plans to meet and maintain criteria for membership. 

  • The Executive Board of ABC shall notify the corresponding representative that their group is eligible for further review. 

  • The representative, the group, and its advisor shall meet to discuss the situation. The representative may recommend a group to ABC for penalty and/or improvement plans. 

  • ABC shall vote on a recommendation for penalty, outlined in Article VI, or for derecognition, outlined in Article VII. A 2/3 majority vote of the board is required for any recommendation to proceed. 

  • Groups affected by the Auditing and Accountability process may choose to appeal the decision by notifying their representative or the ABC Executive Board. The group shall present its case in person to ABC, and ABC shall vote on the group’s appeal. A simple majority shall be necessary to sustain an appeal.





ABC recognition grants groups certain privileges, including but not limited to the right to request funding from ABC, the undergraduate student councils, and Columbia’s various funds and departments, access to event management spaces free of charge, power to vote in ABC elections, and the inclusion of “Columbia” as part of the name of the organization. 

To apply for ABC recognition, an organization must submit an application to USL by a date set by ABC and announced at the beginning of the spring semester. Groups will then complete a secondary application that includes: 

  • A membership list with signatures of all members; 

  • A signed constitution, complete with a statement of purpose; 

  • A completed New Group Application. 


  • The New Group Recognition Chair, if appointed by the Secretary, who will otherwise fill the role themselves, will receive applications and initiate communication between applicants and ABC representatives for the applicants’ group category. Unqualified and incomplete applications may be rejected at any point during the NGR process at ABC’s discretion. Groups must have at least one semester of dedicated programming before applying for ABC recognition. 

  • All applicants will meet with the appropriate ABC representatives to discuss their applications. 

  • ABC representatives will prepare short briefs of groups’ applications for the board to be distributed at interviews. 

  • The entire board will interview all of the groups during a specified NGR presentation date. Before each group is interviewed, representatives will quickly brief the board based on their meetings with applicant groups. The Board has the option to alternatively conduct written interviews, accept video submissions, or otherwise alter the interview process in equitable fashion. 

  • ABC will then deliberate which groups to recommend to Phase 2 of the NGR Process.

  • ABC should make every effort to encourage speedy recognition and deliverance of services. A group shall be recommended when a simple majority of ABC members vote to accept them. 

  • Groups have the right to appeal to the ABC executive board regarding ABC’s decision. If three-fourths (3/4) of the executive board vote to grant their appeal, they will come in for a hearing in front of the entire ABC board, where the board will vote again on the group’s application. 

  • A new group shall receive all privileges associated with ABC recognition and its category effective immediately after approval from Undergraduate Student Life. 


  • If at any point in the recognition process a group fails to qualify or achieve the necessary votes, the New Group Recognition Chair should provide said group with reasons for why the group was not recognized. 

  • A group wishing to appeal a decision should provide the ABC Executive Board with reasons for reconsideration. The appeal will only be considered if at least one member of the ABC Executive Board determines the group has provided new information relevant to the review of the application, at which point the request will be reviewed again by the full board. The board must vote to accept their appeal with a ⅔ majority vote. Following this discussion, the procedure in Section 2, Clause 6, is activated to complete the appeal. 



If a group accumulates debt, then ABC shall take the following actions: 

  • As much as possible of a group’s debt should first be reclaimed from the group’s revenue. 

  • ABC may then reclaim a group’s initial allocation as debt payment until the full debt has been repaid.

  • Exceptions under this policy may be granted by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of ABC or three-fourths of ABC executive board members. 

Revenue is automatically rolled over, but unused allocation is reclaimed at the end of the fiscal year. 


Definition of the ABC archives: The board must generate archives and preserve documents in a manner that is fair, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible to the greatest extent possible. All board documents, defined as documents reviewed by the entire board for a meeting, excluding personally identifiable information, for the year must be achieved within a permanent storage repository with DOI by the end of a board’s term, either in Columbia Commons Archive ( or Zenodo ( 

ABC reserves the right to make additional agreements with a group specific to their circumstances so long as the agreement does not violate a principle of this Constitution. The agreement must be made clear in writing, signed by both parties (an electronic signature is sufficient), and preserved in the ABC archives as well as transferred to incoming boards of both ABC and the group. ABC agreements must be coherent with and ratified according to ABC’s constitution, bylaws, policies, and procedures. 



The ABC reserves the right to impose the following sanctions on groups: 

  • Allocation Deduction;

  • Freezing of Account;

  • Suspension of ABC privileges;

  • Recommendation of Group Derecognition;

  • Recommendation of Disciplinary Action.

Sanctions may be levied in response to violations including: 

  • Failure to either attend semesterly Town Hall meetings or vote in ABC elections; 

  • Late submission of allocation packets, whose deadline is set by the ABC President uniformly for groups. The ABC President may grant extensions on the allocation packet, according to their discretion; 

  • Late submission of budget proposals, if a deadline is set by the Board with simple majority; 

  • Violation of ABC regulations; 

  • Serious and deliberate misrepresentation of financial figures; 

  • Failure of a group’s executive board to attend required training sessions. 


Financial penalties imposed by ABC for failure to attend Town Hall meetings or submit a budget proposal by the deadlines set by ABC shall not exceed 10% of total allocation. Groups must be given at least three (3) weeks’ notice of upcoming deadlines. 


ABC may impose all other sanctions only through a 2/3 vote by the full board.



The following criteria shall make a group eligible for derecognition: 

  • Ceasing to program events that are core to the group’s function for 2 consecutive semesters.


  • Undergoing a substantial drop in membership.

  • Violating ABC or University policy, including (but not limited to) not attending Club ReFuel, not attending the ABC Town Hall, and/or misusing allocation and revenue. 

  • Not otherwise being in good standing with the University or its affiliates. 


  • During the allocation review and auditing and accountability process, ABC shall conduct a review of group programming and spending. The Executive Board of ABC shall determine whether any group’s behavior is grounds for derecognition. 

  • The Executive Board of ABC shall notify the corresponding representative that their group is eligible for derecognition. 

  • The representative, the group, and its advisor may meet to discuss the situation. The representative may recommend a group to ABC for derecognition. 

  • ABC shall vote on the recommendation. A 2/3 majority vote of the board is required for group derecognition. 

  • Upon derecognition, Student Financial Advising, ABC, OMA, Undergraduate Student Life, and any other relevant parties shall be notified. FTFs and space requests shall no longer be approved for said group. 

  • A recently derecognized group may choose to appeal this decision by notifying their representative and the ABC Executive Board. FTFs and space requests shall not be approved while the appeal proceeds. The group shall present its case in person to ABC, and ABC shall vote on the group’s appeal. A simple majority shall be necessary to sustain an appeal. Groups are also eligible to apply for returning group recognition, which follows the same policies and procedures as new group recognition, except in the secondary application. 



The Bylaws shall detail the procedures by which ABC shall carry out its duties, including but not limited to budget allocation, appeals, group recognition, and judicial review, as well as policies relevant to groups, including but not limited to categorization, funding guidelines, and use of resources.


The Bylaws shall be contained in a separate public document, titled “ABC Bylaws” and may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of ABC. 


  • At least 20% of funds initially allocated to ABC must be reserved to fund co-sponsorships, accepted via a competitive application pool from all ABC student groups, with priority given to newly recognized groups.
  • ABC must host town hall within the first month of a given semester, to provide at minimum a general presentation of ABC policy, introduce representatives, and survey groups. 



All committees, including the judiciary committee, are established by a proposal by the ABC Executive Board and a simple majority vote of the board, or appointment by the ABC President. 


Committee assignments will be made under such rules as the ABC board or ABC President may establish for a specific committee, with the following exceptions: 

  • At least one (1) Executive Officer of ABC must serve on each standing committee. 

  • The chair of the committees will be appointed by the Executive Board.

  • Members of ABC must recuse themselves as appropriate if that member has a conflict of interest regarding one of the groups under the committee’s jurisdiction. 


  • A quorum of 2/3 of the members of the committee must be present for the committee to vote on any recommendations. 

  • At least one-half (1/2) of the committee must vote in favor of a recommendation for the recommendation to pass. 



Executive Board and Representative positions are only open to any continuing full-time undergraduate student in the Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Barnard College, or the School of General Studies. 


Representative elections must start within two weeks of Spring Town Hall. All candidates for an ABC position are required to hand in a candidate statement to be made available to the voting population before the date of the election. 

  • Election of ABC Executive Board Officers:

    • Candidates for Executive Board roles must have served for at least one year as a Representative or Executive Board member. If the executive board is still vacant without a nominee with such experience, the board may at that time designate a new nominee who does not fulfill the criterion in this clause. 

    • Candidates for each Officer position will be elected by members of the ABC, both of the previous and newly elected board, not running for that office.

    • Voting for an office will commence after all candidates for that office have spoken, starting with that of President. Candidates who fail to win a particular Officer position may choose to run for the next Officer position. Elections will proceed in the order of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. 

    • Candidates may appeal to the ABC President to demand a recount before the next Officer election takes place. 

  • Election of ABC Representatives

    • Each category of groups will vote only for candidates running to be a Representative for their specific category.

    • Candidates will be given at minimum one (1) week to campaign to the groups of their intended category.

    • A candidate may run to be a Representative for only one category of groups per election.

    • All groups maintain the responsibility to submit a vote for their Representative to ABC. Each group receives one (1) vote. Votes must be made by members of the groups’ executive boards.

    • Proxy votes are prohibited. An executive board member of an ABC recognized group who sits on the executive board of another group may cast separate votes on behalf of his/her/their respective organizations. 


Once a board has been newly elected, the representatives attend required weekly ABC meetings. There will be three transition meetings, during which time the previous ABC board shall continue to be invested with all functions and powers spelled out within the ABC Constitution. Representative training is a required component of the first meeting. Review of this constitution, along with an oath to faithfully fulfill its guidelines, are a required component of the second meeting. Election of the new ABC executive board is a required component of the third meeting. Following the third meeting, the new ABC board will be invested with all functions and powers spelled out within this Constitution. 


  • If a Representative resigns, applications for the vacancy shall be solicited from the general Columbia undergraduate student body. A new representative may then be appointed by a simple majority of ABC. 

  • If a member of the ABC Executive Board resigns, a new officer may be appointed by a simple majority of ABC after nominations are made from within the ABC board. 


Grounds for impeachment shall include serious abuse of membership privileges, neglect of the duties set forth in the ABC Constitution, or deliberate violation of the ABC Constitution. Impeachment proceedings may be initiated by any of the following four methods: 

  • Nonattendance, defined as a less than 50% attendance rate at required weekly ABC meetings, by an ABC representative or executive board member may result in suspension and removal, signed in writing by at least two of the four Executive Officers. The Tech Director is not bound by the attendance policy, but should be fulfilling their obligations and be accessible to the Representatives and the Executive Board. 

  • A motion by at least three of the four Executive Officers of ABC.

  • A request submitted in the form of a petition signed by no fewer than six (6) of the ABC Representatives. 

  • A request submitted in the form of a petition signed by one or more officers of no fewer than one-fifth (1/5) of all registered ABC groups or, in the case of impeaching a representative, two-thirds (2/3) of a representative’s groups. 

Following impeachment, an officer may be removed from office by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the ABC, or a three-fifths (3/5) majority vote of all general body groups. 


The Judiciary Policy shall be contained in a separate document and may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of ABC. 


Amendments to the ABC constitution must be passed by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote by ABC and two-thirds (2/3) vote of voting ABC member groups.

 Last Updated: January 26th, 2024