Student Senate approves 3 RSOs, confirms new RSO creation process

Logan Raschke, News Editor

Student Senate voted to approve InterVarsity as a new registered student organization, one they originally tabled during last week’s hearing because the constitution and student representation were contradictory, and introduced a new method to approving and disapproving new RSOs at the meeting Wednesday night.

Senators also approved Japanese Culture Club, a RSO the senate chose to table during last week’s meeting because of its lack of student representation, and American Sign Language (ASL) Club.

Alicia Matusiak, vice president of student affairs, said she met with the student who represented the InterVarsity Club during last week’s meeting to discuss concerns the Senate had.

During the student’s speech last week, she said InterVarsity Club was welcome to all students with any religious affiliations, but the written constitution indicated this was not the case. The constitution stated Christian members were the only religious demographic encouraged to attend.

Matusiak said after discussing this contradiction with the student, the student revealed to her that she was “nervous” about speaking in front of the Senate.

Moreover, Matusiak said the student representative explained that InterVarsity Club is a national organization, so Eastern club members cannot edit its standards.

Ceci Brinker, director of student life and adviser for Student Senate, said InterVarsity Club has a right to have these standards that limit club member demographics.

“InterVarsity is a national group, but they’re not unlike other religious-based organizations that come to (Student Senate) and get approval from our office,” she said. “What we’re going to do is clarify the language in our RSO handbook—that approval process. I know Alicia (Matusiak) brought up to me, ‘(InterVarsity Club’s) not any different than (our) Muslim Student Association that’s based on their faith … and we used to have a Jewish Student Association.’”

Brinker said there are other religion and faith-based organizations on campus that solely encourage others with the same faiths to join, and both these pre-existing organizations and InterVarsity Club have a right to restrict who can or cannot be club members based on their individual faiths.

Considering the new revelations regarding InterVarsity Club, Student Senate voted to approve the organization as an official RSO.

Matsuiak said the way RSOs are created is going to change.

When it comes to the new method, she said proposals get sent to administrative clerk Laurel Fuqua, then they go to Student Affairs, and if there are any major changes that need to be made to the constitution, Student Senate must meet with the organization as needed to ask questions and explain the changes.

She said after these steps, a final copy is sent to Brinker, Matusiak receives the final constitution, the bill to approve the organization as an RSO gets heard by the Senate, the bill is tabled for one week to allow senators to carefully consider their votes and then the next week, the Senate votes on the bill. She said all senators must read the constitutions before they vote.

Matusiak said implementing this new process for approving or disapproving new RSOs is good for two reasons: For one, it gets more senators involved in the process and secondly, the constitutions are reviewed by more individuals so that any errors are likely to get caught sooner and more often.

Student Senate heard representation for Japanese Culture Club.

Kofi Bazzell-Smith, a junior studio art major, said the club focuses on educating members about Japanese culture.

He said the club also offers informal Japanese language lessons every Friday.

“There’s only, like, three students who speak Japanese (here at Eastern), so other students who have (attended club meetings) who were interested and (didn’t) know anything (about the language), they just kind of developed (Japanese speaking),” Bazzell-Smith said.

After hearing Bazzell-Smith’s representation, Student Senate voted to approve Japanese Culture Club as an official RSO.

Parisa Haghighi, senior biological sciences major, proposed approving ASL Club as an official RSO to the Senate.

She said the club’s main purpose was to educate others on ASL.

Senator Nia Douglas said she thought it was very important that the Senate voted to approve ASL Club as an official RSO because it would help them and the rest of the hard at hearing and deaf community in a big way.

“I feel like it’s really important for us to actually pass this bill so that they can become an RSO because like I said before, students cannot have translators unless they pay for them themselves; (Eastern) doesn’t pay for them or provide them at all unless they’re an official RSO, and so this would actually help make us more inclusive as a campus for our students,” she said.

After Haghighi’s representation, the Senate voted to approve the ASL Club as an official RSO.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].