The Student Activities Center revoked its policy last week requiring all student organizations to submit their members’ names and e-mail addresses.
A coalition of 14 student organizations concerned about protecting members’ privacy rights led senior administrators to reassess the rule. The group, Student Organizations Aligning for Rights, consists of the College Democrats, College Republicans, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Islamic Alliance for Justice and the Jewish Student Association, among others.
“(The students had) legitimate concerns with rights to privacy,” said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. “The information could potentially fall into the hands of the wrong people. It’s not worth the risk.”
“It’d be creating more antagonism between the organizations and SAC,” he added.
Chernak said he was also unhappy with the policy’s logistics.
“Any system like that doesn’t have a lot of weight (because) members quit and members are added,” he said. “Unless it’s a real time system where at any given moment it gives a real time roster, (it won’t work). Groups are constantly changing.”
SAC Associate Director Tim Miller said SAC initially proposed the policy in June to ensure that all members of student organizations are GW students. He told The Hatchet last week that the list could have also been used in “emergency situations” when members of groups needed to be contacted.
“It was determined by Vice President Chernak that there should be another way to verify that all members of student organizations are students,” Miller said.
He also said SAC is reassessing the policy to see if there is another to verify all members are students. While SAC has not set a timetable, Miller said he hopes to work with Chernak and organizations to create a new policy by the end of the year.
Miller said SAC “never had an opportunity to explain the new policy” to groups, adding that SAC was willing to submit waivers and extensions of the requirement to organizations with compelling reason
SOAR proposed a resolution to the SA Senate Tuesday night, calling for the SA to support its stance against the policy. The resolution passed unanimously. Members of SOAR said they were pleased with the group’s success.
“When you have such a diverse group come together to support one thing, the administration must listen,” said Lee Roupas, chair of the College Republicans.