The response To the editor,
I am writing in response to the article titled, “Trouble for a capellas- constitutions ruled out” that was published in The Hofstra Chronicle on Oct. 25, 2012. The article contains a number of inaccuracies and misinformation that I wish to clarify.
First, the use of the non-discrimination clause was adopted by the SGA in 2010. The clause, which can be found within the SGA Club Constitution Guidelines, states the following: “Membership in this organization is open to all full-time undergraduate students without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, marital or veteran status (“protected status”) in the conduct and operation of its educational programs and activities, including admission and employment.”
SGA chose to adopt this language, which is in line with Hofstra’s non-discrimination policy, so that their policies would reflect those of the larger University. All clubs are required to include this language within the preamble of their constitution. The decision to adopt this language was made by the SGA in line with their guidelines and processes, and was not mandated by any Hofstra administrative office. Though the non-discrimination clause was adopted within recent years, the “exclusionary” policy, which is separate and distinct from the non-discrimination clause, has long been contained within the SGA Constitution, as stated in section 206.4.B: “No club may foster a discriminatory attitude with regards to membership.”
In fact, the dispute between the SGA and The Hofbeats, The Dutchmen, and Makin’ Treble is based on section 206.4.B (also referred to as the exclusionary policy), whereby the SGA perceives the clubs are employing a membership policy which excludes certain individuals. It is on these grounds that SGA is not providing SGA funding. The clubs remain recognized student organizations, as approved by the Student Club Registration Committee, and are entitled to reserve rooms, hold events, etc.; they are just not entitled to apply for SGA funds.
The article stated that OSLA, the Office of Legal Affairs, and the General Counsel were unavailable for comment “after multiple phone calls and emails.” First of all, the Office of Legal Affairs and the General Counsel do not advise or oversee the SGA in any manner.
Secondly, they received one call at 5:40 p.m. from the author of the article asking for a statement on a matter, which they were not involved. Robyn Kaplan, from the Office of Student Leadership and Activities (OSLA) and the SGA advisor, also received a message to contact the author of the article Oct. 24. Ms. Kaplan emailed the student that same day and asked the student to send her an email with specific questions. This helps ensure we can get information to students when working within tight deadlines.
Though the student did reply later in the day, the email did not include the questions. Ms. Kaplan contacted the student the following day and again asked for specific questions, but The Chronicle deadline had already passed.
Sara Hinkle, Associate Dean for Student & Community Development