Student Organization Travel - Risk Management (2024)


Iowa State University vehicles are to be used only for university-related business by Iowa State employees acting within the scope of their employment or delegated responsibilities, which may include assisting a student /campus organization. They may also be rented and used by Iowa State's agents or by authorized university volunteers whose approved scope of service includes university vehicle use. Such use of university vehicles is subject to the Fleet Safety and Vehicle Use/Rental Policy and its procedures. Resulting liability claims are processed pursuant to the Iowa Tort Claims Act,Chapter 669of the Code of Iowa.

Liability for activities of Iowa State student/campus organizations (hereafter also referred to as organization or organizations) and their use of university vehicles is not covered by the Iowa Tort Claims Act in all situations. The university has commercial automobile insurance coverage for organization use of university vehicles. As a result, the procedures below apply for organizations' use of university vehicles as agreed upon in the terms and conditions of the university's commercial vehicle insurance coverage.

Student/campus organizations and advisors should be mindful that use of university vehicles must be: 1) for university business or for the benefit of Iowa State; 2) consistent with the mission of the student organization; and 3) the driver considered an agent of or volunteer to the university (not the organization), before tort claim coverage would be provided in the event commercial insurance limits are exceeded. That determination will ultimately be made by the Attorney General's Office, based on the facts of the claim or lawsuit.

Transportation Services retains the right to deny use of a vehicle by a student/campus organization or sports club, if in its sole opinion: 1) safe vehicle operation cannot be ensured due to weather/road conditions; 2) there has been a past failure of the organization to follow Transportation Service's policies or procedures or the university's Fleet Safety and Vehicle Use/Rental policy and its associated procedures; 3) or due to a past/current failure to adhere to the student organization travel policy. Use of a university vehicle is a privilege and is not an organization's right.

Basic criteria for recognized student/campus organization travel in university vehicles

  • The travel purpose is consistent with the mission of the organization and approved by both the organization's advisor and Risk Management, unless the organization is a sports club. If the organization is a sports club, travel must be approved by the advisor and Recreation Services.
  • The organization must be recognized and currently in good standing with the university.
  • The organization must request use of vehicles through the Student Organization Travel Authorization (SOTA) system. Trip participant waivers must be completed and submitted by all drivers and passengers.
  • The purpose of organization travel, method of transportation to and from the activity, trip itinerary and lodging will be reviewed by the advisor, who will either approve or deny the trip. The advisor will consider the eligible vehicle use categories (see below) and ensure category conditions are met before approving. By approving travel, the advisor affirms he/she will provide university oversight and control of the travel or activity and is knowledgeable concerning the activity or /event to which the organization would be traveling. This includes the advisor's confirmation of appropriate training, oversight, risk management and safety protocols related to the activity and the venue at which the activity occurs. The activity or event must not be personal in nature or solely for an individual participant's personal gain or recognition. When travel involves recruitment or outreach on behalf of Iowa State, the advisor is to ensure that content is vetted and approved by the appropriate department.
  • Following advisor approval of an organization's SOTA application, either Risk Management or Recreation Services (for sports clubs) will review application documentation to verify:
    • Treasurer approval, advisor approval, appropriate number of approved drivers and travel participation agreements.
    • Travel for an activity that involves interaction with youth (individuals under age 18) complies with university policies (Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps; Children in the Workplace) and has completed the additional planning and approvals.
    • University vehicles are not being approved for activities that are solely personal in nature, for personal gain or for an individual's personal recognition.
  • The organization must comply with theTravel - Student Organizations policy.
    • The organization must complete and sign a vehicle use agreement between the student/campus organization and Iowa State.
    • Only authorized drivers can sign vehicle use agreements and pick up keys to university vehicles.
  • Driversof university vehicles on student/campus organization travel must:
    • Be at least 18 years of age;
    • If driving a 15-passenger vehicle and/or a vehicle towing a trailer, drivers must be at least 20 years old and must successfully complete the Transportation Services Large Passenger Van and Vehicles Towing Trailers class, including the hands-on driving session.
    • Have a valid U.S. driver's license for the vehicle being driven with the appropriate classifications, restrictions and endorsem*nts;
    • Satisfactorily complete a motor vehicle record check every twelve months.
  • Passengers in university vehicles on student/campus organization travel must be:
    • At least 18 years of age (with the exception of enrolled Iowa State students under the age of 18), AND
    • An Iowa State student or non-student on the membership roster of the organization renting the vehicle, OR
    • An Iowa State employee acting within the scope of his/her employment or delegated responsibilities, OR
    • An authorized volunteer to the organization, OR
    • An authorized Iowa State volunteer, OR
    • Guests of the university, who are participating in an organization event occurring in Ames, IA, when the event is approved by the Event Authorization Committee (EAC) and operated consistent with any specific travel arrangements or restrictions.
  • Authorized Volunteers
    • An individual may volunteer to a student/campus organization after documentation is provided through a volunteer agreement available at Memorial Union Student Engagement. An authorized volunteer to an organization may ride as a passenger in a university vehicle; but, is not considered an "Iowa State volunteer or agent" when acting in this volunteer capacity and may not serve as the driver of the vehicle.
    • Sponsored and affiliated student/campus organizations are eligible to have Iowa State volunteer drivers when there is appropriate departmental oversight and approval. Exceptions for registered organizations to have Iowa State volunteer drivers may be granted by Risk Management for organizations with oversight and written/documented approval from an appropriate university department/unit.
    • Any volunteer's approved status must be verified by Risk Management prior to approval for university vehicle driving or passenger privileges within the SOTA system.

Appeals process

An appeals committee for these procedures will be comprised of one representative from each of the following: Government of the Student Body (GSB), Division of Student Affairs, Transportation Services, Risk Management, and Assistant Vice President for Business Services. A member of the affected organization will be asked to attend the appeals committee meeting to provide additional information. A representative from the Office of University Counsel may also be asked to attend appeals committee meetings and provide input from both a legal and risk perspective. Both the member of the organization and legal counsel, when attending appeals committee meetings, will serve in a non-voting capacity. When the appeals committee cannot timely meet to review an appeal, the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance or designee may review the appeal.

Eligible vehicle use

Competitions:Organization is participating in a competition (a contest of skills or abilities) that is within the purpose of the organization, and the competition is:

  • Sponsored by a college or university,OR
  • Held at a college or university and organization is competing in a collegiate division,OR
  • Approved by Recreation Services for participation by member organizations of its Sports Club Council,OR
  • Sponsored by a third party (non-college/university), and organization and/or its members are competing in a collegiate division or are representing Iowa State as a group instead of competing for personal recognition and/or benefit.

Note: The use of university vehicles for travel to practice for collegiate competition is allowed when such practice is not possible on the Iowa State campus and travel is necessary to practice for approved competition. First consideration will be given to practice sites within the state of Iowa.

Community Service:Organization is volunteering to a legitimate, organized community service project,AND

  • The service project is consistent with the mission of the organization,AND
  • Is encouraged/requested by an Iowa State department/unit,OR
  • Is funded in whole or in part by an Iowa State department/unit.

Recruiting, mentoring and/or outreach on behalf of an Iowa State department/unitwhen at the written request of - and coordinated by - an Iowa State department/unit.

Attending conferences/meetings/retreats and representing Iowa State when:

  • Conference content is consistent with the mission of the organization and its constitution,AND
  • Giving a presentation on behalf of the university to conference attendees,AND/OR
  • Conference/meeting content is education or training tied to the organization's mission AND/OR
  • Conference/meeting content is tied to an academic component or curriculum OR department/unit program at Iowa State,AND/OR
  • Event is sponsored by and/or held at a college/university.
  • For sponsored and affiliated organizations when attending a conference/meeting for content directly related to that organization's mission at Iowa State.

Note: Trips will generally not be approved if the organization is part of another organized local, state or national organization. Those organizations would be expected to make their own travel arrangements for participants.

Participating in industry/career tours(similar to an academic field trip):

  • At the written request of and endorsem*nt by an Iowa State department/unit noting the value to the Iowa State student participants,AND
  • Visiting a business that has operations consistent with the mission of the organization and an official program at Iowa State.

Providing support or assistance for Sponsored or Affiliated organizations' approved events or needs(i.e. SUB, college student councils, Greek Week, Homecoming, etc.), with approval by either Event Authorization Committee (EAC) or the corresponding university department/unit.

Participating or performing in an artistic or performance-based event, such as Dance Club, Hip-Hop Club, etc.:

  • When the performance is consistent with the mission of the organization, AND
  • At the written request of and endorsem*nt by a university department/unit noting the value to the Iowa State student participants, OR
  • At the written request of and endorsem*nt by a university department/unit noting the value of positively representing Iowa State as a goal of the performance.
Student Organization Travel - Risk Management (2024)
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