Approval came on Wednesday, March 4, over a year after the House committee’s unprecedented vote to support members of Women’s Empowerment in its performing The Vagina Monologues on campus under Student Life.
“Our hope is that clubs are aware of the process and know that we are another resource available to them,” said Ashley Domagola, FCRH ’16 and the chair of the House Committee.
The House Committee, a third party created by USG to vote on student issues, began drafting the proposal review process document after working with Women’s Empowerment for The Vagina Monologues event last year. Administrators had originally denied Student Life funding for the performance unless students edited the content of the play to exclude a specific part of the script. (The play was still performed with the help of academic departments.)
In the process, House Committee voted to support the club. The process was the first time that the committee had evoked the 2013 provision in the Report on Free Speech and Expression form allowing the committee to vote.
“It is generally the same roadmap that we used for Women’s Empowerment last year, but we revised it based on that experience,” Domagola said.
The House Committee works with Domagola, USG vice president of Student Life, to develop and propose changes to policies and procedures in all student-programming spaces.
According to the USG website, the House Committee meets every two years to work with clubs to allocate office space in the basement of the McGinley Center; it is an ongoing priority of the House Committee to discuss issues that these organizations face and find ways to resolve them. The Committee assists the VP of Student Life with programming put on by USG including Festivus Fordhamenisis, the Gaudete Sunday tree lighting and the Hanukkah menorah lighting.
According to the provisions, if a club is coming to the regularly-scheduled House Committee meeting to present a case, the meeting must be scheduled for a time in which two-thirds of the voting members of the House Committee can be in attendance. Voting members include: an adviser to the House Committee, the vice president of United Student Government of Student Life, a member of the organization and a staff member from OSLCD (which may also be the adviser to the House Committee).
The meeting is set up so that the club and OSLCD can state their argument either supporting or refusing to support a given proposal. The House Committee made motion to discuss the proposal, and the chair and committee can decide whether discussions should take place internally or exist between the two groups.
Following “Robert’s Rules of order and the House Committee by-laws,” a member of the committee is able motion to vote to support or not support the proposal on the table at any point during the House Committee meeting. In the event that the majority of the vote is yes, the vice president of Student Life will write a statement of support for the club/organization.
Since The Vagina Monologues, the House Committee has not heard any proposals from students on policy-related matters.
“The process is new, so clubs and organizations may be unaware that this option exists. But, another reason [the House is not widely utilized] could be that students do not want to go through the additional meetings.”
All regularly scheduled House Committee meetings are open to the public.