Approximately 20 student groups that have lost their Student Association charters are facing the challenge of regaining their memberships and funding.
The SA requires each student group to re-register annually, according to SA Executive Vice President Boris Tadchiev. Last year’s deadline of May 15 was extended at least three times.
When registering, student organizations are required to provide the SA with three sections of information, including their account number, constitution and the names of at least 10 members. If any of these sections are missing or incomplete, the group cannot be considered registered.
According to Tadchiev, many groups failed to complete the registration forms in their entirety last semester. Contact information was essential for the SA to keep in touch with each group, Tadchiev said, and some of the groups lost their charters because they never provided such information.
“I thought I was a nice guy,” Tadchiev said. “I made a whole e-mail list of all of those who didn’t resubmit throughout the summer saying that, ‘You didn’t complete your registration, please do so.’”
He extended the deadline until a week before classes started, giving students a total of three months to complete their registration.
Some of the confusion for this year’s registration could be attributed to a new online program the SA recently switched to with the hopes of bettering communication with student organizations, as well as between groups and their members.
Tadchiev said every student group is given an SA e-mail, now run through PAWS, and a mailbox in the SA office, which should be checked regularly.
Because of a lack of communication between old and new e-boards, according to Tadchiev, the need to check the new system may have been lost in the transition over the summer.
“Graduating seniors don’t really care that much to tell their successors about checking their e-mail and mailbox,” he said.
The program, which can be found at paws.binghamton.edu, allows groups to send out e-mails to listservs more quickly, hold elections, send event invites and add new members.
PAWS also gives students the opportunity to look through student groups’ descriptions and constitutions, and then join the group with the click of a button. According to Tadchiev, it makes it much easier to get involved and all members need to use the system is their PODS username.
“It’s a very good program to work with for student groups,” Tadchiev said. “It’s sort of like Facebook for groups.”
Groups that failed to complete their registration correctly now have to go through the Rules Committee, which does not begin to meet until late September, to regain registration. Many groups are still waiting for approval as a result.
Rhythm Method, a student a cappella group, which has been established at BU since 1993, is currently in this predicament. Lynsey Zuar, president of the organization, said that her former president did not tell her about the new e-mail address or that this e-mail needed to be checked.
“We’re currently in charter limbo,” Zuar explained.
Mary Leonardo, program chair of the Rules Committee, said that “nine times out of 10 [they] accept the groups.”
“I’ve never seen an instance where we’ve turned a group down,” Leonardo added.
Rhythm Method is currently one of 20 groups waiting for the Rules Committee to review their charter.
“It’s just a little frustrating,” Zuar said. “We have to wait for the SA to complete their stuff before we can get our charter back, so we can’t reserve any rooms or get any money until then.”
Zuar said she felt that the presidents of each e-board should work more closely with the SA so that the lines of communication would stay constant.
Tadchiev said he hopes that the new program will help to ensure that problems like these do not persist in the following years. He also said he wanted to clarify that there needs to be some sort of responsibility on the student group’s side.
“I understand forgetting or miscommunicating, but there’s only so much I can understand,” he said.