Club representatives from Islamic Relief, Amnesty International and Circle K presented a student-signed petition and club-supported letter opposing the New Club Recognition Policy at the Student Association (SA) Senate meeting last week.
The New Club Recognition Policy, passed on March 27, bans select clubs — namely those under the hobby, international, POC and special interest councils — from affiliating with third-party organizations. Under the policy, affected clubs must cut their affiliations with their parent organizations or be derecognized by SA by May 31 and lose the SA as a funding source.
The petition, which has garnered more than 300 signatures, demands a student referendum on the policy, arguing that the “lack of transparency” and impulsive nature of the resolution acts as “an extreme disservice, not only to all students involved within a Special Interest club but also to the broader campus community.”
President of UB’s Islamic Relief chapter, Suha Chowdhury, expressed concern over the new policy impeding her club’s overall function and ability to access necessary resources to support the people in the Muslim community.
“There have been instances, even in the past two weeks, where people were praying and they were harassed by people on campus,” Chowdhury, a junior political science major, said. “That’s something that Islamic Relief being a nonprofit organization — they have those resources to provide us to address a lot of these issues. But without Islamic Relief being on campus, there’s only so much MSA [Muslim Student Association] can do.”
Chowdhury is a former Spectrum editor.
A letter written by Islamic Relief and signed by 32 clubs was also presented to the SA Senate board on Monday urging SA to repeal the New Club Recognition Policy and calling for a student poll on the issue.
Zanaya Hussain, president of UB’s Amnesty International club, expressed her frustration over SA’s inaction to accommodate affected clubs despite student engagement demonstrated by the petition and letter.
“I’m not sure how much more evidence we would have to provide that this isn’t going to be an effective policy, and it’s going to hurt more students than it helps,” Hussain, a junior majoring in international studies and urban and public policy, said. “It feels incredibly invalidating to just have to come to another meeting.”
Senator Ian Roma closed the meeting by thanking the club representatives for sharing their concerns.
“As of right now we don’t have anything on the agenda or on the website, but there’s still some time left before the end of the year,” Roma said. “So if anything happens, we could always call another meeting and go further with that.”
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