Introduction to Risk Management
The operations of student organizations have become complex and the possibility of litigation occurring as a result of their activities and programming is greater than ever before. Given the increased risk to both student organizations and their participants, UWM would like to be able to approach these exposures proactively by providing student organizations with a way to examine and manage the level of liability exposures during student organization activities. While the risks are in some respects not as extensive as those faced by for-profit businesses, student organizations still face many of the same risks as those faced the private sector.
University insurance rarely covers student organization activities.
The purpose of these risk management resources is to provide a brief outline of some of the more important issues that student organizations may need to consider to ensure that everyone involved has a safe and fun experience.
There are tools for helping student organizations identify and manage risks in the following forms:
Pre-Event Risk Planning
What is risk: risk is defined as “the threat or possibility that an action or event will adversely or beneficially affect an organization’s ability to achieve its objectives”. This definition links risk to achieving the organization and/or University objectives and also identifies that risk management is not just about recognizing and mitigating a negative risk but also enables the identification of risk-taking opportunities that may lead to positive benefits.
Risk management is defined as:
“A process which provides assurance that:
• objectives are more likely to be achieved;
• damaging things will not happen or are less likely to happen; and
• beneficial things will be or are more likely to be achieved.”
The risk management method enables:
• the identification of risks;
• the evaluation of risks;
• helps in setting acceptable risk thresholds;
• the identification and mapping of controls against those risks; and
• helps identify risk indicators that give early warning that a risk is becoming more serious or ‘crystallizing’.
Methods to manage risk may include: purchasing commercial insurance, arranging for security, traveling with an advisor, rotating drivers etc.
The goals of these risk management guidelines are to ensure that your organization plan and hosts events that are safe and fun experiences. Risk management is the process of advising organizations of the potential and perceived risks involved with the activities, as well as students supervising organization activities, taking corrective actions/steps to minimize accidental injury and/or loss.
The first step to successful event planning is to begin planning early by asking your organization some questions:
• Why are we putting on this event?
• What do we want to achieve by having this event?
• Does this event help us to meet our organization’s goals?
• Who is the audience for this event?
• Do we have enough members and resources to organize this event?
• Is there a facility to hold this event safely?
• Is there enough time to organize this event in a safe manner?
• Will alcohol be served at this event?
• Is the program legal?
Next complete a comprehensive assessment of the risk involved in the event or activity. Student organizations must consider risks in the following five categories:
• Physical – risks involve harm or injuries to the physical body.
• Reputation – risks apply to the reputation of the individual officers, members, organization or the university.
• Emotional – risks pertain to the thoughts and feelings of the organization’s members, participants or attendees and any other constitutes of the event or activity.
• Financial – risks involve both the budget for the specific event and the overall financial health of the organization.
• Facilities – risks include both the safety of the facilities used for your members/participants and the maintenance of the facilities used.
What is a Risk Matrix?
Risk Matrix is an application that can be used to capture identified risks, estimate their probability of occurrence and impact, and rank the risks based on this information. Risk Matrix also provides a capability for documenting how these risks will be handled (action plans) and tracking the effect of this action on associated risks.
The University of Wisconsin System publishes guidelines regarding the extent to which the State Self-Funded Liability Program (SSLP) applies to the activities and functions of Student Organizations available online at: www.uwsa.edu/oslp/rm/manual/part_10/stdtorgs.htm. Key factors in determining the liability protection in a given situation are the campus mission, the level of benefit and control that exists between the organization and the University, and the agency status of individuals involved.
The organization acknowledges that its activities, including some which may occur on the campus of UWM, are not eligible for liability protection under the State of Wisconsin Self-Funded Liability Program and need to obtain a special-event(s) liability policy at its own expense.
Therapy Animals on Campus policy: https://orgsync.com/21733/files/981628/show
Healthy Healers therapy services agreement: https://orgsync.com/21733/files/981626/show