Student groups may lose status

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Photo by Phillipp Arndt.

Approximately half of all registered student groups are in danger of losing their official status for failing to comply with Yale College Dean’s Office requirements.

To reregister for the 2013-’14 academic year, all student groups must send three representatives to leadership workshops and complete an online application. Groups that do not complete the leadership workshop requirement or fail to reregister by the end of this month will lose their registered status, according to an Oct. 18 email to student leaders from John Meeske associate dean of student organizations. Unregistered student groups are not eligible to receive funding and support from the University, set up tables at the annual extracurricular bazaar or reserve classroom space for meetings. Though groups that lose their registered status may reapply with the Dean’s Office, Meeske said they must attend the next round of leadership training sessions, which will not be offered until spring 2014, and apply as a new organization. New organizations are eligible for half the funding of returning organizations, Meeske added.

“I don’t think it should come as a total shock to [student leaders],” Meeske told the News, adding that he and Marichal Gentry, dean of student affairs, sent multiple notices to groups informing them of the mandatory workshops.

As of Oct. 18, 277 groups out of Yale’s nearly 600 undergraduate students had not sent any representatives to a leadership workshop yet, and 113 groups had sent only one or two officers to a workshop. More than 250 organizations had yet to apply online to reregister for the 2013-’14 academic year.

Meeske said that more groups have registered or sent representatives to the training sessions since his Oct. 18 email, though he said he is not sure about the exact numbers. Administrators sent individual notices to groups that were just shy of completing the requirements to prevent active groups from losing their registration, he said. These efforts saw positive results, he said, as more groups fulfilled their requirements to stay registered.

Still, Meeske said that the Oct. 31 deadline is firm. Part of the system is computerized, he said, so all groups that have not reregistered will be removed from the system automatically. Groups that have reregistered but have not met the leadership training requirements will have their registrations manually removed, he said.

Though students have complained about insufficient warning, Meeske said that these requirements for remaining a registered student organization were also in the Undergraduate Regulations last year.

Margaret Coons ’14, co-chair of the Singing Group Council, said though she appreciates the administration’s efforts to support student leadership, she does not think that the new workshops are being handled well. She said that the workshops, enforced during the height of midterm season surrounding fall break, are a “heavy time demand, especially when they are perceived [as being] or are irrelevant to many groups.”

“I think that many groups will fail to meet the [Oct. 31] deadline,” Coons said. “It would be in the administration’s best interest to provide alternate [options or exceptions] rather than driving student organizations out of registered status, which gives the University less control over their actions and leaves them with even less support.”

Coons said that the workshops should be conducted in a online seminar setting in the future, adding that student leaders should be able to complete the workshops on their own schedules and with sufficient warning about deadlines.

Helen Fang ’15, president of the Phoenix Dance Troupe and treasurer of Team U, an endurance running club that raises awareness about global health and poverty issues, said that the leadership workshops were helpful because they sparked discussion about important group issues, but were also poorly timed. Though Fang said she attended a workshop about hazing to fulfill the training requirement, she added that the workshop took place after most initiations had already happened.

Yale College Council Student Organizations Director Ben Ackerman ’16 said the Undergraduate Organizations Committee sent an email to student leaders last week reminding them of the deadline.

“We certainly do not want any student group that is adding to the vibrancy and diversity of campus life to become defunct,” he said.

Looking forward, Ackerman said the UOC is aware of student dissatisfaction over the workshops and will meet with student leaders to discuss the current registration policies and provide feedback to administrators.

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