CLAS Column: A Voice From Student Government

The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York was founded in 1847 and its bylaws serve as the highest source of policy created within the University: “These bylaws take precedence over internal Brooklyn College policy documents, including non-bylaw policies.” [1] Article XV of these Bylaws place students at the forefront of the academic institution (CUNY). Furthermore, the bylaws outline the importance of student participation with respect to due process and the daily operations within their respective academic and organizational enterprises.

The policies put forth by Brooklyn College’s administrative divisions are subject to limitations, by the right of students to assemble and to speak freely. For example, Section 15.2 states that “Extra-curricular activities at each college or school shall be regulated by the duly elected student government organization.” This means that students shall charter or authorize teams, publications, organizations, associations, clubs/chapters, etc. It should be noted that athletic teams are excluded. The duly elected student organization, when appropriate (as defined in bylaw 15.1), shall “exercise regulatory power, the power to refuse, suspend, revoke” charters.

The Brooklyn College Division of Student Affairs established the Student Event Planning and Implementation (EPI) Handbook to regulate extra-curricular activities. Page 37 of the EPI Handbook establishes sanctions for violations of the handbook. An accumulation of violation points may result in the suspension of student organizations. This is, without a doubt, in conflict with suspension being a power that lies in the duly elected student government organization.

Over the course of the semester, multiple organizations and clubs have come forth with concerns regarding this procedure. Student leaders are concerned about the limitations and rules in the EPI. Mishaps or misunderstandings in the event-planning process, for example, may prevent a club from holding events for the duration of the semester. The lack of inclusivity of student governments in the making of this policy is not in compliance with the CUNY Bylaws. Duly elected student organizations reserve the right to ensure that student concerns are being heard and addressed. This Tuesday, a joint resolution will be presented, for the second time, to the CLAS General Assembly for a vote. This resolution, sponsored by myself and Florencia Salinas, president of CLAS, asserts that:

  1.    Student Governments shall have student representatives serve on the Student Event Management Team (SEMT)
  2.     The “point system” shall be redacted
  3.     The Student Event Planning and Implementation Handbook shall be non-binding
  4.     That Student Government shall be involved in the regulation of event coordination
  5.     That the Student Event Planning and Implementation Handbook shall act as a guideline for student organizations

If adopted, this resolution would begin a larger discussion: One which speaks to the importance of student representation in the actions, policies and goals of Brooklyn College.

Carolina Guarrella

Speaker, CLAS Student Government

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