ASWU approves proposed changes to club chartering policy

 

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor 

Proposed changes to club chartering policy were approved by ASWU on Sept. 13.

The changes focus on four areas of the club chartering policy.

Faculty and staff are reviewing the proposed changes now then their feedback will be reviewed by ASWU and students again, ASWU President Jeff DeBray said.  

“Last year President Beck called us to put together a task force regarding club policy and club chartering that is what has begun in the fall,” DeBray said. “Rhosetta Rhodes and I are the co-chairs of that task force with faculty and students at large, there were more students there than any other group that is represented.”

The changes will be on the rules about national affiliation of clubs and the role of club advisors. They will also discuss changing the person who approves club from vice president of student life to director of student activities. The committee will also look to change the process of approval for bringing speakers to campus, DeBray said, according to the Sept. 20 ASWU meeting minutes.

The proposed changes will allow to clubs to have national affiliations. These affiliations have to be approved by ASWU.

“The mission statement of the national affiliate will be submitted to ASWU and it will be checked if it is aligned with the school’s and ASWU’s mission and if it is in the best interest of students to be aligned with the national affiliation,” said DeBray.

“As far as national affiliations go, I think as a university, if Whitworth wants to be a university and not a college being involved with national associations regardless of what they are is something we should be doing,” Oliver senator Hannah Underwood said.

Underwood voted against the proposed changes.

"I voted to oppose because we shouldn’t have the power to have people come onto campus or not and I think that director of activities decide," Underwood said, according to the Sept. 20 ASWU meeting.

“I think there should probably be some changes,” Underwood said. “I don’t think the ones people have proposed are the right ones.”

These affiliations should not be with hate groups or hate speech, Underwood said.  

“The proposed change is to allow all clubs to have national affiliation, if they choose to do so. A lot of our clubs already do have that,” Bell said.

The clubs have to inform the Financial Vice President of any financial contribution they gain from their national affiliates so that ASWU funds are divided among clubs fairly, DeBray said.

“It does bring a lot of non-Whitworth influence into our student clubs. It really brings the student-ness out of the ‘Associated Students of Whitworth University.’ It turns it into ‘associated students and affiliated parties of Whitworth,’” Eugene Bell the president of Swing and Ballroom dance club and the secretary of Pep Band said.

“It kind of takes away from our individuality and Whitworth’s mission to encourage good dialogue between students,” Bell said. “When you bring in outside parties they don’t know the Whitworth mission while you can educate their liaison, it is not going to be the same as Whitworth faculty being an advisor. It is not going to be of students by students it’s going to be an extension of someone else.”

Advisers are expected to be more engaged with their clubs according to the proposed changes.

“An adviser is going to be more knowledgeable about things like liability and signing contracts just so a club is able to do that well and responsibly and timely and maximize their capacity,” DeBray said.“Advisors are going to be attending club meetings they will hopefully be submitting reports on what’s going on with their club to the financial vice president and more involved.”

Increasing the role of advisers helps students get connected to more resources and it also helps to make sure a club is active, DeBray said.

“I think [increasing an adviser’s role] is a good idea for many clubs because student-faculty relations is a big part of this campus, I mean with ‘Dine with a Mind,’ it just seems fitting that even in our clubs it will be nice to have a little bit of faculty involvement,” Bell said.

Advisers will be a real source of support for clubs not just people on paper as a requirement for a club to exist, Bell said.

“Right now what they have decided is that the voting members of ASWU have to vote on when a club wants to bring a speaker or an artist to campus we have to vote whether they can come or not,” Underwood said. “I don’t think it is our position at all to decide as students who can come and come who can go.”

If funds are to be requisitioned from ASWU the Finance Committee must approve, if the requested funds are greater than 300 dollars then the assembly votes on it, according to the ASWU website.  

If you need to requisition funds to bring a speaker to campus, ASWU has to approve them so, in a way, they already approve the speakers that come to campus, Bell said.

“I am of the opinion that our director of student activities, Celisse, should be in charge of giving a yes or no,” Underwood said.  

Asking the right questions before a club brings a speaker to campus is important. We will be considering if the speaker represents the interests of students, if the speaker meets the mission of the university and ASWU, DeBray said.

“It is an interesting proposal I can see where it could get iffy in terms of like with more social justice clubs although I have faith in our student government that they would be more uplifting and encouraging about bringing good diverse dialogue onto campus,” Bell said.

Bell suggested changes to be considered with regards to the current ASWU financial meeting rules.

“At the end of the year, there is a Budget Committee [meeting]. Clubs present for 15 minutes about events you had and the money they spent and how much they need next year they might tweak things,” Bell said.

It would be nice to meet twice a year to discuss where a club is at with regards to their finances, Bell said.

We are making it a requirement to have each club meet at least once per month to be chartered, DeBray said, according to the Sept. 20 ASWU meeting minutes.

“The recommendations we are pushing forward meet a certain amount of accountability that we are trying to create in ASWU by making it more specific and providing process and steps that clubs and club speakers need to go through while at the same time increasing the student engagement piece,” DeBray said.

Students who want to be a part of this ongoing discussion can talk to their senators for more information and also come to ASWU meetings every Wednesday at 5 p.m.

 

In the Oct. 11 issue of the Whitworthian the story originally said that ASWU was considering changing the person who approves club from director of student activities to vice president of student life. This version of the story has been corrected to say they are changing the person who approves club from vice president of student life to director of student activities.

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