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SGA discusses conflicts with inactive and proposed clubs

By Ben Suazo, Sports Copy Editor

Tuesday's SGA meeting tackled the question of when a new club deserves admission and when it conflicts with a deactivated organization. Members expressed their hopes to reduce the redundancy of future clubs without harming the senate's relationship with students. Although that discussion ended with little clear resolution, it managed to raise important points that may influence senator platforms for the end of the month. The debate also may have given some ideas to SGA's new advisor, Associate Director for Student Leadership and Activities Robyn Kaplan, who watched the meeting from the Greenhouse gallery.

Julia Hahn's application for a new club, Hofstra Cares About Animals (HCAA), was subject to much debate for concerns of its redundancy. HCAA was presented as an organization that would raise awareness on campus about animal cruelty and welfare issues, with an example given of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its lasting impact on wildlife. The club's application ran into resistance because a similar club, the Student Organization for Animal Rights (SOAR), was active as recently as last year with similar goals to promote awareness of animal rights and veganism, but is currently inactive. Under the terms of the SGA constitution, a club cannot be passed if another existing organization already meets the same objectives; as a deactivated club, SOAR does not cease to "exist" in SGA's database until its status is changed to defunct.

Despite this apparent violation of the SGA constitution, Senator Tyler Greenpope led a push to pass HCAA as a club regardless and change the rules later.

"The Senate has a bad reputation already," Greenpope told his fellow senators. He advised that they pass the club rather than punish it for their own neglect in letting it leave the Rules Committee. He later clarified, "A lot of clubs and people don't know what the Senate does. They think we're clique-y and don't do our job."

SGA voted instead to refer HCAA back to the Rules Committee. Hahn was advised to reactivate SOAR, which she could then rename as she saw fit.

For special business the Appropriations Chairman Jordan Baer, who chaired this week's meeting in place of the unavailable Vice President, introduced new advisor Robyn Kaplan to SGA. Kaplan graduated pre-law at Brandeis University and received her master's degree in student affairs at UConn. She said that her goals are to "streamline leadership development and build around a common theme, [creating] sustainable traditions and support for students and faculty."

Meanwhile, Comptroller Brian Marquis warned SGA that their budget would be reduced by $200,000 next year based on a projected decrease in Hofstra enrollment. He advised that this and next year's senate should be mindful of redundant organizations that spread their budget too thin.

"It's great so many clubs are getting started and so many want to get involved," Marquis said. But, as an example, he pointed out, "I think we should have just one dance club and many different sections [of that club]."

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