InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Will Appeal Its Derecognition by SA
The UB InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will start an appeal process to regain Student Association recognition as a club as soon as possible. The SA Senate derecognized the club on April 15.
News of the appeal comes amid rumors that the club will also sue SA. The club lost its $6,000 in mandatory student activity fee funding this past fall after its former treasurer said he was forced to resign because he is gay. A subsequent SA investigation determined the club's constitution violated UB and SA anti-discrimination policies.
SA Senate Chair Darwinson Valdez said the IVCF had more than enough time to adapt its constitution to SA guidelines. He said the Senate knew there was possibility of a lawsuit after the decision to derecognize the club, but the Senate gave the club clear instructions about how to remain a part of SA.
"We gave them around 10 weeks from the first notice...I don't want to say, 'So be it,' but we did what we could to maintain them as a club," Valdez said.
Valdez said he supported the extensions given to IVCF because it is a local chapter of a national organization, which it had to communicate with.
Dan Jao, the national field director for IVCF, said he has only briefly spoken with the UB chapter since it was derecognized.
"At this point, InterVarsity at UB is [trying] to go through the appeals process with the Student-Wide Judiciary," Jao said. "We are trusting that [it] will be a fair process and that we'll get a fair hearing, so that's our current plan."
During the April 15 Senate meeting, IVCF was given a chance to prove it was not in violation of any anti-discrimination policies to the Senate that. IVCF's Shant Tamazian told the Senate that there was another UB investigation that concluded the club did not violate any federal, state, or university anti-discrimination policies. Tamazian said the Campus Ministries Association, which IVCF is also a part of, and UB's office of Student Life conducted that investigation.
Liz Hladczuk of Student Life said she had never heard of the investigation.
"I actually don't know anything about [Student Life's involvement]," Hladczuk said. "What you said about them being derecognized by the Student Association, I have heard [about that]. I know SA was having hearings, like going over their constitution, but I actually don't know anything about [a Student Life investigation]."
The Campus Ministries Association could not be reached for comment.
Some SA senators believe the possibility of a lawsuit between IVCF and SA influenced the way the Senate dealt with the issue.
"The threat of a lawsuit was always a topic of discussion during closed meetings," said an SA senator who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the hearings. "All of the Senate's actions in relation to IVCF were implemented in a way so as to ensure that the UB Student Association would be in the best possible situation."
Senator Kittie Pizzutelli said the possibility of a lawsuit didn't get in the way of making a choice regarding the club. Pizzutelli said it was necessary to uphold the rules and regulations outlined by the Student Code of Conduct. But Valdez believes it wasn't a hard choice to make in IVCF's case.
"The decision that we made was simple," Valdez said. "If you don't follow the SA constitution and the UB guidelines, we can't have you as a club."
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