By Lauren del ValleAssistant News Editor
In the wake of their Student Government Association–disassociation, on-campus a cappella groups are continuing to thrive. In the past year, the campus’s five a cappella groups have all cut ties with SGA.
By nature, a cappella groups are exclusive due to their acceptance of members based on vocal ability. Upon examining club constitutions in the fall of 2012, SGA informed the ensembles that as audition-based groups they had violated the SGA constitution. Memorandum One of the constitution states that affiliated clubs must not discriminate upon ethnicity, gender or ability. Specifically, The Hofstra Dutchmen and Makin’ Treble were determined to have breached the memorandum on two counts, as exclusive male and female performance ensembles.
“The only major disadvantage our group faced in leaving SGA was losing our budget; however, we have come up with creative ways of fundraising, like selling singing-telegrams,” said Hofbeats president Jackie Bakewell.
SGA passed the Five Percent Act that allots up to 5 percent of the SGA budget to non-affiliated groups for a maximum of two campus-wide events. SGA meant the legislation for clubs like the a cappella groups, the Inter-Fraternity Sorority Council, and groups that include graduate students because they continue to benefit the Hofstra community.
“We thought it was silly for them to compromise their purpose and take women when they’re an all-male group. At the end of the day, it was very amicable,” said SGA Rules Committee chair Alyssa Legnetti. “I think the 5 percent legislation really helped the transition because [funding is] something that all clubs are worried about.”
The Dutchmen, through their president Neil Schloth, originally negotiated with SGA to maintain affiliation last Spring. Upon notification of once again being disassociated last November, however, Schloth reevaluated the necessity of such an affiliation. Schloth agreed that disassociation would be in his group’s best interest, consciously deciding there was no need for a memorandum in SGA’s senate, according to Legnetti.
“The reason it isn’t so important is because we don’t need money. We accepted what they were saying,” said Schloth. “In a sense, it is actually a little bit of a weight off of our shoulders in not having to deal with the bureaucracy of some things.”
Being the first time in years that SGA disassociated organizations for constitutional violations rather than for conduct-related issues, the senate became wary of organizations’ rights to appeal to senate decisions via a hearing.
As a result, SGA passed the Senate Hearings Act to assure that all organizations and clubs may appeal in a hearing so long as the violations fall under SGA’s jurisdiction.
“I think one of the reasons that it came about was because one of the senators thought [Dutchmen] should have been able to appeal. They would have been able to appeal. They could have come to senate next week and said, ‘This is our case for this.’ But they realized it was in their best interest,” said Legnetti.
Because each of the disassociated groups continues to maintain sufficient funding, no longer being affiliated does not interfere with their overarching goal to serve Hofstra through their love of performing.
“I think so long as we continue to serve the Hofstra community the way we have been, we should not have a problem,” said Sigma’capella treasurer Elisa Galindez. “It is understandable why the performance groups can’t be SGA-affiliated. In order to be successful we have to be exclusive.”