A proposal from the Senate Finance Committee advocating a status change of Alpha Phi Omega from budgeted club to organization was discussed during Senate’s weekly meeting April 26.
According to the Finance committee’s rules and regulations, a student club must maintain an open membership policy. Senate Finance Committee Chair senior Sara Ahmed brought up the fact that APO holds membership recruitment drives during specific times throughout the academic year.
“To qualify as a student senate club you have to have open membership every day, so if I wanted to join APO today, for example, I would have to be allowed to join,” Ahmed said.
A shift in status from club to organization would affect the way APO receives funds from senate. It would not get an annual club budget, and it would have to apply for funds on an item-by-item basis.
Several other issues were brought up as reasons for the committee’s proposal, many of which surrounded APO’s affiliation with a national organization and the Greek community on campus. APO members pay dues and go through a formal pledge process.
Approximately 20 APO members attended the meeting to voice their support for remaining a club. They addressed the issue of dues concerning their open membership. According to several members from APO, though the occurrence is rare, if a member is unable to pay their dues, the rest of the club pays the difference.
APO members also insisted that one of the pillars of their national organization is that they hold open chapter meetings, which any student on campus can attend. While this is true, only APO members are able to vote at the meetings.
The shift in the way they receive their budget would hinder APO’s ability to hold events on short notice, according to APO Treasurer junior Amanda Lee.
In response, Senate Technology Chair junior JC Weinberg questioned whether this was reason enough to justify APO remaining a budgeted club.
After much discussion and apparent confusion among members and senators alike, Senator senior Greg Noth refocused the conversation, asking the question that would ultimately determine the status of APO: “Is there open enrollment, or isn’t there?”
In order to quell concerns, Lee assured the senate that APO would change its bylaws to make new members immediately able to participate fully, regardless of whether they have gone through the initiation process.
Senate ultimately voted to allow APO to retain its club status, assuming those changes are made. The final vote tally was seven for the proposal, eight against and five abstentions.
Finance – The Knox Democrats received $75 for their screening of “Gasland;” the funds went to film rights and refreshments. Omicron Delta Epsilon’s request for $350 was approved; the funds will go toward airfare for a guest speaker who will give a presentation entitled “Are we poisoning the most vulnerable? Race and pollution exposure among infants in Texas.”
Dining Services – Dining Services Director Helmut Mayer has drawn plans for expanding the C-Store. The plans consist of knocking out a wall and expanding into the space currently designated for the outpost.
Student Art Committee – Discussions have ensued concerning the placement of student art on campus. The current priorities of the committee are cataloging the entirety of the available art and finding locations for the art to be placed.