By Diana Nelson
After three serious violations of club suite guidelines in the fall term, USG has revised its rules for student organizations campus-wide in the the Club Suite Guidelines. These guidelines were approved at the Student Life Council (SLC) Meeting last week.
USG’s Vice President of the House Committee, Peter Vergara, FCRH ‘18, headed the revisions.
“Our experience with the violations yielded fruitful conversation and solid feedback in updating the guidelines,” he said.
A recent addition to the guidelines states that in the event of a sanction against a club for a violation, club leaders have the opportunity to appeal. The appeal process requires the leadership to submit a written appeal via email to the vice president of Student Life and the Assistant Dean for Student Involvement, outlining the specific concerns and objections of the sanction.
Clubs can then set up a meeting with the Assistant Dean for Student Involvement to have a conversation about the sanction and reasons the Office for Student Involvement chose to support it.
If clubs wish to continue with the appeal, the VP of Student Life will distribute the written appeal to House Committee members, who then vote as to whether or not it should be approved.
The violations shaped the guideline amendments and updates, as well as interactions with clubs that did not involve violations
Vergara worked with the House committee to accommodate the growing number of clubs and to avoid miscommunications about unclear rules of sharing club spaces, while also attempting to prevent future violations.
“The previous guidelines were unclear and occasionally led to miscommunication, so we have amended the guidelines to create a more transparent set of rules for clubs who have office or club suite space allocated to them,” said Vergara. “Furthermore, we saw a need for an appeal process in the case of serious violations and an agreement form between clubs that are sharing space.”
The guidelines are divided into three categories. They begin with “General Use,” which addresses matters such as office furniture and alcohol policy “Health and Safety” addresses fire hazards and key policy. Lastly, “Damage and Maintenance,” references the consequences of wall decorations and vandalism.
The rules have not changed from the previous guidelines, but new language has been added to make the expectations of both clubs and United Student Government more clear.
Aside from a new appeals process, the regulations for drugs use, alcohol and weapons in club spaces as well as other regulations, remained the same. The House Committee also made sure to regulate the shared spaces between clubs to accommodate the growing number of them being formed at Fordham. Alex Farah, FCRH ‘16, President of the Commuting Students Association and a member of SLC provided input on the guidelines.
“I like the changes they made, they made it very straight forward — so if there needs to be appeal, we know what the process is,” Farah said.
The House Committee worked with USG and many other members of the community to revise the guidelines.
“They were drafted and reviewed by the House Committee with input from United Student Government and from club leaders who currently have spaces allocated to them,” said Vergara. “We also worked with the dean and assistant dean of students at Rose Hill, as well as with other members of the Office for Student Involvement.”
The approval process consisted of two votes — the United Student Government general board and then the Student Life Council. Faculty and students from a wide range of university departments voted, and the revised Club Suite Guidelines were finally approved by SLC at their meeting on March 30.