A club that meets all of the qualifications for acknowledgement as an official Tyler Junior College organization was denied membership at the Jan. 25 Student Senate meeting due to a secret vote.
No reason was given why the Baha’i Faith club lost the vote and its ability to be an official recognized club. To become a recognized organization at TJC, the Baha’i club must first meet the three promises of the college; a quality education, a vibrant student life, and community service.
Even though the Baha’i club meets all the criteria to become an official TJC club, their request was still voted down.
“The most important thing about the Baha’i club is that it hopes to be of service for the student body and follow the guidelines that the school has been given for clubs,” said Stephanie Eijsink, physician at the ETMC clinic on campus and Baha’i Club sponsor. “Basically there are the three promises that we all try to live up to.”
After History professor and Baha’i Club sponsor Dr. Kahne Parsons gave a presentation about why they should be a club, the general assembly voted against accepting the Baha’i club during the Jan. 25 Student Senate meeting through a voice vote. With a voice vote the general assembly states ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’ on whether to approve the new club.
“The voice vote was what determined whether it went to a secret ballot,” Parsons said. “When it went to a secret ballot, the only people who could vote then were people who had answered the role and were officially there representing a club.”
The secret vote resulted in a vote of thirteen against 9, with the majority votes to not to acknowledge the Baha’i Club as an official TJC organization.
“I think a lot of it was just the fact that they didn’t know who we were,” Parsons said. “They were uniformed and they didn’t know what we were about and they kind of reacted as people when they don’t know something would.”
Parsons, who has been active in TJC organizations for over 10 years, said this is the first Nay vote at a student senate meeting that she’s heard of.
“I kind of felt like it was a failure on our part to make a good convincing presentation,” Mathematics professor and Baha’i club sponsor Karen Anglin said. “Apparently that didn’t happen…we just didn’t seem to have our act together; we just weren’t very prepared for what really happened.”
The Baha’i sponsors will try again to get the club accepted at the Feb. 15 student senate meeting.
“In the interval that people have had time to think about this and to look into it, hopefully [they’ll] realize that this is a very positive group and that we can’t but be a positive presence here on campus,” Parsons said.
According to the Baha’i Club sponsors, Baha’i faith clubs exist on hundreds of campuses, some of which include Rice University, University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas.
“Personally I feel like we need to mix with other club members, mix with the advisers of the other clubs and say this is what the Baha’i club stands for,” Eijsink said. “We’re not going to push ourselves on you, we’re not going to get pushy, but we want for you to at least know what we stand for and you tell us what you stand for. We’ve got to have points in common, we’ve got to have things we can work on together.”
*The Baha’i Club was granted recognition as a club during the Feb. 15 Student Senate meeting.