CSO review process stumps senate

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Five-hour SGA meeting ends in vetoing of bills

After five hours of debate and discussion, the Student Government Association meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7 halted when all decisions regarding bills recommending dechartering for 19 Chartered Student Organizations was thrown out. According to SGA President Matt Ryan, the deliberations became too disorganized to continue.

Professor Bryan Clair criticizes SGA on CSO policy. Mark Campos / Staff Photographer

“I cannot say in good faith that we know what we are doing,” Ryan said to the senators. “I want to be able to get this right for all the groups.”

After passing a bill to charter the Global Initiatives Club, the senate moved to discuss the possible dechartering of the Anthropology Club, Criminal Justice and Sociology Club, Artifex, Math and Computer Science Club, Political Science Club, Finance Society, Freshmen in Business, Society for Human Resources Management, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Alpha Sigma Nu, French Club/SLU Pi Delta Phi, Sigma Delta Pi Honors Spanish, SLU Ad Club, Capture: Photography Club, SLUraage Fusion Dance Team, Camp Kesum, Social Work Association, Amnesty International, Public Relations Club, and Physician Assistant Association.These groups were recommended for dechartering because they failed to meet requirements set by the Committee for Student Organizations. The committee, commonly referred to among students as ComSo, had sent all CSOs several emails requesting that they provide senate with updated contact information.

Of the 19 groups recommended for dechartering, 10 attended the Dec. 7 meeting. AED, MCSC, Political Science Club, ASN, French Club, Honors Spanish, Finance Society, Freshmen in Business, SHRM and Social Work Association were exempt from the dechartering option. Instead the groups faced either no action on the part of senate, or were to be placed on a three-month probationary period. If senate subjected them to probation, the group would not have been eligiable for spot or annual funding.

AED representatives stated at the meeting that they were unaware they had failed to meet the requirement, as they had provided updated contact information on SLU Connection.

An amendment was made to take no action against AED, but it failed. While updated contact information was available for AED elsewhere, the group did not provide it through the channels mandated by SGA.

A new amendment was proposed to put the group on probation, but senate deliberations were interrupted when MCSC Advisor Bryan Clair took the floor to criticize senators for not only trying harder to make contact with the groups, but also for wasting time on an issue he felt could be solved easily.

“This was a communication issue. Someone screwed up somewhere and we have spent three hours debating something that could have been solved with a phone call,” Clair said. “This is a huge waste of time.”

Senators called for order to be restored and Ryan asked Clair to respect the process through which ComSo had gone. Clair, however, did not yield the floor and was escorted from the chambers by DPSSS officers.

Senate voted to put AED on probation, and the same option was chosen for MCSC and ASN. Political Science Club received no action due to extenuating circumstances that did not allow them to meet ComSo requirements.

By the time the French Club came up for appeal, there was dissent in the chambers surrounding how senators were deciding to take action against groups.

“I think we need to reconsider how we are approaching this whole thing. If that means we need to bring up past bills, that’s fine,” Vice President of Diversity and Social Justice Kirpa Seeripada said.

After debates about CSO and SGA responsibility and the dechartering process was to work, Ryan announced that senate was withdrawing the remaining five bills that addressed dechartering recommendations on the grounds that senate was not sure how to handle groups that made contact with SGA in response to the bills.

“Do we take no action because they have proven they are active, or because they have made contact, even if it was not the required contact?” Ryan said. “The reason there was confusion was that we weren’t sure what to do once they were in front of us.”

Ryan said he plans to veto everything that occurred in relation to the dechartering bills,  including the decisions made prior to the withdrawal and the decision to decharter any group that did not attend the meeting.

“We need consistency on all bills,” Ryan said. “Groups will come before ComSo again, but won’t need to appear at senate for a decision.”

Ryan said, however, this meeting was valuable because it addressed a conversation that needed to happen.

“I didn’t find it to be a waste of time,” Ryan said. “We had to show CSOs that we take the issue of accountability seriously.”