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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Twenty SA Clubs De-recognized by Senate

The Student Association Senate voted nine to three Wednesday night to de-recognize 20 SA clubs after the organizations failed to uphold basic club responsibilities and heed warnings of impending de-recognition. The clubs will no longer receive SA funding or be included in student government activities.

SA President Christian Oliver said the de-recognition vote was not "disciplinary." He described it instead as a "housecleaning activity" during which clubs with no registered members or officers were removed from the SA roster.

Seven academic clubs (Architecture and Planning, Economics, French, Horizons, Literature Society, Mathematics Club and Student Occupational Therapy Association); six engineering clubs (Engineering Student Association, Associate General Contractors, Engineering Angle, Eta Kappa Nu, Biomedical Engineering, National Society of Professional Engineers); four special interest, service and hobby clubs (Amateur Radio Society, Film Production, the Independents, the College Democrats); and three international clubs (Bangladesh SA, Irish SA and the Organization of Middle Eastern Women) were ousted from their spots under the SA umbrella.

No members from any of the clubs attended the senate meeting.

"I didn't know we were de-recognized yet," said Jennifer Ross, UB senior and president of the Independents, a disability advocacy group. "I guess we haven't been to the SISH (Special Interest, Service and Hobby Club Council) meetings."

According to a memorandum issued by Oliver, the said organizations "have failed to turn in officer update forms, failed to attend council meetings and failed to pick up correspondence from their mailboxes. As a result, we have concluded that they are no longer active and therefore, should be de-recognized."

"We require the minimum correspondence with our clubs," said Oliver. "If they don't meet that, that tells us that they're not active."

Ross, although unaware of the status of her organization, was not surprised that SA chose to de-recognize the Independents. She said the club had been suffering from declining membership rolls and a shrinking budget. Its three executive board members, including Ross herself, stepped down earlier in the semester, citing a lack of time to devote to the dying club.

"I don't think [the Independents] is really needed anymore. If someone thinks it is, they can re-start it," Ross said.

Oliver said he was unable to contact club officers by phone because the de-recognized organizations did not send in officer update forms with contact information at the beginning of the semester. SA instead relied upon delivering the memorandum via club mailboxes and word-of-mouth.

Several officers contacted SA before Wednesday's senate meeting, Oliver said, and were able to demonstrate they could restore their clubs.

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"Some of the clubs got off to a late start and they showed initiative and that they could take control of their clubs again," said Oliver.

The only club saved from de-recognition at the meeting was Amnesty International. According to SA Vice President Joshua Korman, a group of students had expressed interest in starting an Amnesty International chapter on campus, not knowing that one existed. Korman recommended the senate vote to de-recognize all the clubs but Amnesty International, a motion the senators approved.

Although the memorandum stated that any money remaining in the de-recognized club budgets would be rolled into the Senate Allocation Fund for distribution amongst other SA clubs, Senator Jeffrey Mahon suggested transferring the funds to the councils under which the clubs in question were formerly represented.

"That club recognizes the council and the council should get the money," said Mahon. "It would be beneficial to turn the monies into clubs doing well on the council."

Senator Colin Healy, SA Sports Club Coordinator, disagreed on the grounds that the de-recognized clubs "shed a negative light on the council." He noted that when voting on a club's budget, the club's relationship with its council was not called into question.

"We took [budget voting] on the merit of each club," said Healy.

Oliver agreed and later said many club councils were unable to achieve a quorum at meetings because the inactive clubs were not present.

According to Senator Rick Deren, the funds from the de-recognized clubs total $3,000 and would be a much needed boost to the Senate Allocation Fund, which had fallen from $20,000 to $12,000.

"It all comes back to being a part of a whole," said Korman. "Everyone could benefit [from the funds]."

Mahon raised a concern that SA clubs that were not performing well could be threatened with de-recognition solely due to overall budgeting concerns and the need for more money in the Senate Allocation Fund. The vice president said such a concern was unwarranted and Healy agreed.

"If you made this list you can't claim that you were active," said Healy. "If [the de-recognized clubs] cared, they would be here."



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