Student group gets their wish: SA recognition by any means
A new student group went through unconventional methods to achieve permanent recognition status within Student Association.
The Wishmakers on Campus, an organization that brings the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to colleges, were frustrated by the process used to vet new groups by the Student Group Affairs (SGA) department of SA.
That’s why they subverted the executive branch of SA by achieving recognition through a motion in the Senate.
Normally, new groups must go through appropriate steps to first achieve temporary recognition within SA before they can be permanently recognized, which confers benefits such as funding and the designation of an SA bank account for the group to use.
Throughout the process, Wishmakers turned to allies in SA senate, such as senators Zak Constantine and Max Sevor.
Constantine became involved after he visited one of the group’s meetings on behalf of SA earlier this semester, helping the group with paperwork.
Finally, at the April 3rd Senate meeting, Constantine introduced a resolution to give the group full recognition within SA, which easily passed.
This power is granted to the senate in the constitution of SA in case a group cannot meet the requirements of the formal recognition process, according to bylaw 101.5 of SA constitution.
FORMING A STUDENT GROUP
Wishmakers president Liam Duell said the lack of an SA bank account while they waited months for SA approval was a particular headache.
“We are primarily a fundraising organization, and there was a serious concern we might not get funded, and therefore not get a bank account to keep our proceeds in, until next fall semester,” said President Duell.
From temporary recognition to permanent recognition, the process is focused more on building a connection between SA and the individual groups, according to SA’s director of SGA Miguelina “Meg” Pierre-Louis.
“We need at least three sets of meeting minutes to tell us what the group is doing now that they’re temporarily recognized, like are people attending your meetings and are you organizing programming. Also, one of the group’s meetings must have an SA senator in attendance.”
After these final steps are taken, Meg goes to president Langie Cadesca to report on the group’s completion of the vetting process and have the president grant them permanent recognition.
This process was expedited under Cadesca’s administration, reducing the total time for permanent recognition vetting for new groups from two years to just under two semesters.
“When submitting a constitution, sometimes the groups don’t exactly follow the SA’s bylaws, so we have to deny their constitution. After that, we meet with them and tell them exactly what’s wrong with the document so they can fix it.” said director Pierre-Louis.
Even though the department tries to be “as efficient as possible,” Meg said, it can take some time to get things done, as almost all persons involved in the process have very demanding schedules.
But, even if the time taken by SA is attributed to the vetting process being thorough, president Liam Duell said that there are issues with the process itself.
“We were constantly getting misinformation, on how to draft the Constitution, on what executive board positions we needed, among other things.” said President Duell
While the typical group will need to revise its constitution at least once, Wishmakers had to submit the document at least three times; the first resubmission because the sample constitution provided to the group was incorrect, and another time because they did dictate an officer position, as the sample constitution did not mention it.
Another group in the midst of the recognition process, the UAlbany Running Exchange, spoke about their experience with the SGA.
“Overall, the process is pretty standard. We had some issues, as is evidenced by us having to re-submit our constitution, but that seems like a normal part of the process. However, there could be better communication throughout the vetting process,” said president Anthony Comanzo.