Clubs experience difficulty filing registration documents

Nearly half of CSUN’s currently-chartered clubs for the 2006-2007 school year failed to submit the necessary club recognition documents for the 2007-2008 year by the 6 p.m. deadline Oct. 12.

CSUN is home to 266 recognized clubs and organizations, including fraternities, sororities, clubs affiliated with various colleges on campus, honor societies, and special interest groups. Of the 266 recognized clubs, 109 have yet to turn in their University Recognition Documents, a packet of forms required by the Matador Involvement Center (MIC) for club recognition.

Though it can be tough for clubs or organizations to assemble the necessary paperwork, the MIC doesn’t intentionally make the process difficult.

“We don’t want to lose clubs and organizations,” said Colleen Frenck, an administrative support assistant for the MIC.

The recognition documents require contact information for at least five active members, along with the names and information of an established officer board, a faculty advisor’s name and signatures on the Code of Ethics for University Recognized Student Organizations agreement, Non-Discrimination Policy, and Alcohol and Illicit Drug Policy.

The president, vice president and treasurer of each club or organization must also submit official transcripts with a current GPA attached to the Executive Order 969 Officer Compliance Form, which determines whether or not someone is eligible to be an officer of a club or organization on campus.

The university requires that club officers have a minimum GPA of 2.0 with undergraduate students taking at least six units and graduate and credential students taking at least three units.

Vanessa Elizalde, an MIC student assistant, said the transcripts of the major officers in a club or organization are not checked immediately after submission, although they are eventually checked. The forms are primarily for would-be officers to understand the prerequisites of a board position within a club or organization and to find someone else if they do not meet the requirements.

Without official recognition, clubs and organizations on campus may not receive A.S. funding, cannot reserve campus space for meetings or events and may not use the CSUN name. In order to obtain official recognition, clubs must attend the Clubs ‘ Organizations Recognition Conference and submit the recognition documents.

Clubs and organizations are officially recognized once the A.S. Judicial Court approves the club or organization’s constitution.

“(The paperwork is) very overwhelming and cumbersome,” said Joe Benoun, president of the National Society of Leadership and Success, an honor society on campus that was initially chartered during the 2005-2006 school year, but had inactive status until the Spring 2007 semester.

Benoun said he had to meet with A.S., revise the organization’s constitution several times, and fill out a great deal of paperwork.

“(A) lot of different things” made the process difficult, Benoun said, including finding interested students to become members, then finding members willing to be officers.

In Benoun’s freshman year, the presiding officers of the society had difficulties ensuring that all the officers and other members did their part, and as a result, the organization’s structure weakened. Benoun said that this year, his goal is to ensure that his members all stick to their commitments to make sure the organization doesn’t flounder like it did before.

Clubs and organizations have had a few months to get all the paperwork turned in, said Elizalde. When student officers come in to say they couldn’t make it to the recognition conference “they cry you a river that they didn’t attend,” Elizalde said. “It’s the same thing every time.”

Though the Clubs and Organizations Recognition Conference was held in the USU on Sep. 29, clubs and organizations that were absent could attend the make-up sessions held on Oct. 16, 18, and 22.

The MIC has continued to receive recognition documents past the deadline, though several student assistants at the center have said they were surprised by the small number of people who had turned their documents in late. Clubs and organizations that fail to turn in their documents and/or attend the make-up recognition conference will eventually be moved to inactive status, said Elizalde.

“It’s up to the people who are interested (in the club or organization) to keep it going,” she said.

When the updated officer contact information is entered into the MIC’s database, typically in December, they notice which clubs have failed to provide current information. It is normally at that point that clubs or organizations are automatically moved to inactive status.

The MIC doesn’t contact each club or organization representative to find out if they are still involved with the club or organization.

Because the updated contact information is part of the recognition documents packet, any club or organization that fails to turn the packet in, or does so after the updated information is put in the database, will not be recognized, or, if their constitution was already approved, they will be moved to inactive status.

“We’re not trying to close the door on them,” Elizalde said.

The official paperwork outlining the process for recognizing clubs and organizations says the procedure is nine steps that emphasize attending the recognition conference and turning all the necessary paperwork in.

The official procedure breaks down the process into several steps, with the hope that it will make it easier for students to form new clubs or organizations, and keep existing clubs and organizations alive and active.

It’s quite likely that a number of other club and organization leaders feel the same way Benoun does, even if they don’t have to worry about starting a new club or resurrecting an inactive one. In order to establish an official club or organization on campus, a would-be club must conquer a great deal of bureaucracy.

What is intended as a simple, relatively quick process tends to snowball into something that takes several semesters to straighten out, and even firmly established clubs on campus must stay on top of the necessary paperwork, meetings, and rules in order to stay an active, official club with all the benefits that come along with the CSUN name.

For new clubs, three additional pieces of paperwork are needed: a club constitution or by-laws, a Petition for University Recognition and Associated Students Charter and a Clubs and Organizations Officer Information and Minimum Number of Students Form.

Guidelines on how to create a constitution, along with the petition form can be obtained by attending one of the MIC’s weekly new club workshop sessions. Clubs can also request the Information Systems and Technology Clubs and Organizations Authorization Form, which helps create an email alias and Web presence for the club on the CSUN Web servers.

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