Contracts & Insurance


Goods and Services

  • Signing contracts and purchasing goods and services are important parts of program planning.
  • You must be cautionary because this involves a financial commitment for your RSO.
  • Phone messages, verbal agreements, memorandums, and emails can all create contractual commitments.
    • Organizations or Individuals can be held liable for these contracts, both oral and written.
  • The University is not party to any contract made unless it involves university funds or significant sponsorship by the University.  If this occurs:
    • The contract must be referred to the departmental staff person to ensure compliance with the University’s contract requirements for signatures, etc. (see below for more details).
  • All contracts should be done in advance of any work to be performed or products to be shipped.
  • If it is a University contract, it cannot be signed by a student org.

University or ASM funds

  • If your RSO is receiving funds from a university department, office, or student government to purchase goods or services you must:
  • When department or office funds are used:
    • The terms of any contract must comply with various laws and university policies
    • An official university signatory must sign the contract
  • Examples of contracts are:
    • A University Purchase Order
    • A contract offered by the supplier
    • A University Rider used to modify a Supplier’s Agreement
    • A University Standard Service Agreement
    • A Memorial Union or ASM “Entertainer Agreement”
    • Various other template agreements

Non-University Funds

  • Contact the provider to secure needed information
  • Make sure your facility is reserved for the relevant date and that that facility meets the provider’s needs/specifications
  • Make sure all contracts contain all necessary information about the activity including
    • Date, Time, Place, Topic, Fee, Travel Arrangements, Security Arrangements, Cost, etc.
  • Keep written records of all contacts, contracts, riders and amendments, as well as a list of all verbal communication and any agreements made
  • Read all documents carefully and note any disclaimers, provisions, or language that shifts liability from the contractor to your group.
  • Make sure that the details are correct and the document doesn’t contain any blank spaces
  • If you want to make a correction to a contract:
    • Cross out and insert your changes if space allows
    • OR use a rider that specifically amends the original
    • Make sure both parties sign the amendment
  • Prepare 2 originals of the contract when possible so both parties each have a signed copy
  • Returned the signed contract and any riders to the provider and keep a copy of the agreement after it has been signed by both parties, retain copies for the event plus five years.
  • RSOs are responsible for their financial commitments
  • Contact the university office involved with your program with any questions before agreeing to anything
  • Contracts often contain insurance and indemnification clauses which may place an obligation on your organization either to provide insurance, or to waive all responsibility against the other party. The University does not provide insurance for student organizations so make sure you understand these sections of the contract and make sure you can fulfill your obligation before you sign

Dances, Musical Events, Speakers

  • Make sure the facility you want is available AND reserved for the day you want
  • RSOs holding an event on university property may not invite non-university general public to these events unless sponsored by a university department
  • If the event is scheduled in the Wisconsin Union, additional policies apply
  • See RSO Large Events for more information or contact Campus Event Services
  • Get a contract in writing from the entertainer(s) before starting publicity
  • Remember there are charges for using a university facility for revenue producing events
  • If tickets are sold ahead of time, they must be printed
  • Sales tax will be due on tickets sold


  • University Liability Insurance
    • The University is insured through the State of Wisconsin’s self-insurance program
    • Coverage is limited to liability caused by the negligence of University employees and agents of the University while in the course and scope of conducting official university (state) business
    • RSOs are NOT normally covered by this insurance program
    • Students negligent actions may be covered if the activity is supervised by departmental staff and the activities are consistent with the department’s mission – do not count on this unless you have discussed this with the department or Risk Management beforehand
  • Special Events Insurance—For events not covered by the University’s liability protection
    • If there is potential risk for injury or property damage to others (not participants), the Office of Risk Management can assist RSOs in obtaining liability insurance for the event only
      • This will protect your org and members from the financial risk of claims being made against them
      • Examples of events where this may be relevant: Animal events, dances, or concerts, pyrotechnics, juggling chain saws, generally any activity that has the potential to seriously injure people physically or emotionally.
    • There is a charge based on the type of event being held,  the number of days and the anticipated attendance
  • Corporate Sponsor Insurance coverage


  • A Professional agency contract is a standard contract used by speakers or performers who use the services of a professional agent for the purpose of scheduling and collecting fees and stating the terms of service.
    • Confirmation letters, contracts or other documents will need to be generated by your organization if you are seeking to employ the services of speakers or performers who do not use a professional agent.
      • The documents you send should specify all necessary information: date, time, topic, travel arrangements, fees, liabilities, security arrangements, time and type of payment, and any other information you deem necessary.
      • It is better to err on the side of having too much information rather than too little.
      • Be specific as to exactly what you ARE and ARE NOT paying for.
  • A contractor is the entity providing the goods or services under a contract.
  • A contractee is the party receiving the goods or services from the contractor.
  • A rider is an attachment to a contract that contains various terms and conditions, spelling out the necessary details of the purchase or service. A rider may be used in a variety of ways such as to amend a contract and to expand the terms of a contract initiated by a professional agency

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