Student Government approves six new student organizations

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Six new student organizations were approved during Monday night’s S.G.I. executive board meeting. Eight group’s proposal’s were heard and voted on that evening.

While only three were turned down, another hearing will occur next week where ten more proposals will heard.

Students spoke in front of the board in petition of being deactivated last year or in proposal for starting a group that had not previously existed. The groups were approved were Sequoya, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, College Democrats, Otaku, Sociology Club, and the Arab Students Association.

Each group had four minutes in which to make their presentations and a period of 3-4 minutes in which to answer questions from the floor.

After hearing all eight pitches, S.G.I. President Patrick Brewer asked everyone who was not a member of the board to leave the room so the merit of the organizations could be discussed. Executive board meetings are traditionally open, but Brewer said that a decision had been made to close this portion of the meeting.

“We need to keep the dialogue here because we are weighing the group’s merit against one another,” he said. “We need to be able to discuss openly before we can choose to approve.”

“We want to be able to speak and say what we thought of their presentations and ideas privately,” Brewer said.

Sequoya, the only literary magazine at St. John’s, has been publishing on campus since 1934. This is the first time they have been approved as an official organization through S.G.I.

In the past, Sequoya has published with the support of both the Art and English departments, each contributing about $1,000 each. As an official organization through S.G.I., the magazine now has access to a yearly budget.

“In the past, we have had to petition for the rest of the money we need to publish each year,” Jordan Baum, the editor-in-chief of Sequoya said.

Baum said that becoming an official organization through S.G.I. will help to expand the publishing capabilities of Sequoya.

“My dream is to have future e-boards put out two editions each year, one in the spring and one in the fall,” she said. ” Potentially, we could also put out a shorter edition over the summer that is cheaper to produce. That way, we could send it out to incoming freshman and have it available at the beginning of the year.”

Hindu Students Council (HSC) and Target H.O.P.E. were not approved.

Target H.O.P.E. is an organization that exists at St. John’s sister school, DePaul University, and aims to keep minorities in higher education and maintain solid retention rate amongst those groups of students. The board turned down their proposal because it as the “same as other organizations” already on campus.

HSC was described as “an international forum that provides opportunities to learn about Hindu heritage through various activities, events, and projects.”  The organization was deactivated last semester and their current proposal was turned down because of an “old e-board and bad membership/growth.”

Tongtong Zhu, a member of the board, questioned the gender inequality in HSC membership.

“Of the 25 members you have listed here, how many are boys? It seems like there are mostly girls.”

During the questioning period, other members of the board questioned the organizations ability to refocus the e-board and maintain positive membership growth.

 

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