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SGA unsure about Club Relations Committee

By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor

SGA met in the sparsely populated Greenhouse this Greek Week, with just eight members more than the necessary quorum present at roll call. In early business, Jordan Baer, head of the Elections Commission, reminded the senate of the importance of attendance for next week's Budget Weekend. Afterwards, Omar Peele (Black Student Union) and Nicholas Fils-Aime (NAACP) spoke to SGA about the three organizations' joint pool and barbeque event, open to all students at the Physical Fitness Center on April 29. Entry will be $5, or $3 with a non-perishable food donation, and all money will go to Food Not Bombs towards free vegan and vegetarian meals for the need.

The room then exploded in debate over legislation from Club Relations Chair Dan Lebo, who asked the senate to phase out the now redundant Club Relations Committee in response to a transition of club lottery responsibilities to OSLA.

"We are trying to slim down SGA," Lebo said of his bill. Continually throughout debate, he sought to clarify the state of Club Relations which had motivated his proposal for its elimination. "The way it works now is clubs come to me [to reserve event dates], and I send that info to Hofstra USA and the Playhouse," which is a role that OSLA has now officially adopted. "What is left of Club Relations is a complete waste of resources."

However, what began as Lebo's concern for streamlining SGA quickly spiraled into a debate over what it means to lose a committee whose name is based on relationships with clubs. Comptroller Brian Marquis took the opportunity to ask why SGA has committees to help launch, fund and deactivate clubs, but not to aid their development along the way. "There's no follow-up," he said. "We have clubs failing because they don't know what's required of them by SGA."

Senator Katie Friedman said that she did not feel the need for follow-up, preferring the creative self-reliance of a club with minimal oversight. "As a club president," she said, "I don't need SGA to hold my hand, I don't want SGA to hold my hand." Her view directly opposed that of Fundraising Chair Maryann Lucks, who sympathized with Marquis, having once reactivated a small club. "I've been through the ‘Hofstra shuffle'…it's ridiculous," she said. "I think clubs need a person to go to—not to hold their hand—just to explain what you need to do to start a club."

In the end, the majority of the senate was unwilling to part with Club Relations, rejecting the bill in hopes of rebuilding the committee with a new purpose. Lebo remained unconvinced.

"It is sad that SGA is so afraid of change," he commented Wednesday. "As the governing body of student clubs it should more readily adapt itself as situations warrant instead of remaining stagnant, simply because 'that's the way it has always been done'. It seems that many Senators are ready to throw out ideas but few, if any, are willing to put forth an effort to see results. Instead of seizing the opportunity to streamline the organization and ultimately serve clubs more efficiently, SGA has decided to stay with the fragmented remains of a decades-old, now-obsolete committee."

"A lot of points were brought up about Club Relations as a liaison," said Vice President Luke Miedreich, who had missed much of the lengthy debate. "That's not the job of the Club Relations chair; that's the job of everyone around this table."

The senate debates about the future of Club Relations. (Laura Molinari/The Chronicle)

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