Student Association senators vote against derecognizing Men's Ice Hockey

Senators amend SA club handbook policy

mens-ice-hockey

Student Association senators voted against derecognizing Men’s Ice Hockey club –– with five in favor, eight against and three abstentions –– after the club used $62,731.98 in SA funds that weren’t pre-approved by SA.

Senators debated for almost two hours at the April 12 meeting over derecognizing Men’s Ice Hockey club. The club accumulated thousands in funds –– not pre-approved by SA –– and had all charges billed to SA, according to SA Treasurer Tanahiry Escamilla. The executive board disagreed with senators’ choice to not derecognize the club. Some senators argued the decision set a precedent that “large clubs are more important,” since the club had 26 finance violations.

“I can guarantee you if all clubs were to go to vendors and tell them to bill SA there wouldn't be an SA today,” Escamilla said.

Assembly Speaker Mitchell Smigel said SA derecognized clubs in the past for less serious matters and said all clubs aren’t being held to the same standard. 

“I don’t think there should be a club too big to punish,” Smigel said. “That’s a very scary precedent.”

Vice President Anyssa Evelyn and Escamilla agreed.

“This decision makes other clubs think they could do the same thing,” Escamilla said.

Next year’s e-board said it plans to work with Men’s Ice Hockey club so this doesn’t happen again. SA President Gunnar Haberl said he and his e-board already did this, with no success.

“I commend the incoming e-board for saying they will meet with this club and hold them accountable,” Haberl said. “However, [Evelyn, Escamilla] and I have already met with this club and made it very clear what was expected.”

Members of the Men’s Ice Hockey club admitted to “messing up” and said there was a “miscommunication.” 

Evelyn and Escamilla said they met with the coach of the club “multiple times” throughout the year, despite some senators’ beliefs. SA previously placed the club on probation in the spring semester for finance violations. The club committed two more finance violations while on probation, according to Evelyn.

Haberl spoke out against senators who felt the situation happened due to the e-board’s negligence.

“Some of you [senators] saying [Evelyn] and [Escamilla] have not done their due diligence is disrespectful to them and the entire Student Association,” Haberl said

Cole Schiffman, president of Men’s Ice Hockey, said he’s “glad” SA didn’t derecognize the club and feels no club should be derecognized unless it does “something over the top.”

Some senators said the club shouldn’t be derecognized because of its impact on the UB community.

Escamilla disagreed and said pre-encumbering funds are not an issue with any other club. 

UB trademark office is also separately overseeing a case with Men’s Ice Hockey, as logos on merchandise weren’t approved and didn’t have the SA logo on it.

Senators also approved an amendment to the SA club handbook, after Evelyn chose not to recognize oSTEM on March 29.

Evelyn said professional staff “heavily encouraged” her not to recognize oSTEM because of policy conflictions. She said it was the “hardest decision she had to make all year.” 

The rule in question stated a club “cannot duplicate the purposes or services of another recognized Student Association club.”

 Evelyn augmented the policy and added “(in majority)” after “purposes and services.” This allows SA to recognize clubs if they duplicate a “small portion” of an already recognized club.

“I had a chance to meet with oSTEM and apologize,” Evelyn said. “I feel I didn’t make the right decision.”

Evelyn said she hopes to recognize oSTEM after the addition to the handbook.

Brittany Gorny is a senior news editor and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com