Student organizations will have a new recognition process starting in the fall.
At the Feb. 22 meeting, the Student Senate voted on and approved a proposal to change the student handbook guidelines regarding how student organizations are recognized. With the proper paperwork and following certain protocols, student organizations will now automatically be recognized as organizations without the previous stipulation of a student vote.
Aaron Hernandez, chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the creator of the proposal, expressed how he felt about the recent changes.
“I don’t think it will have a big effect on current organizations,” Hernandez said. He added he feels as if the process will help people be less afraid to propose new ideas for organizations and take away the possibility of discrimination.
With the new guidelines, in addition to submitting required documents, to be recognized on-campus organizations must: Adhere to TJC’s Statement of Nondiscrimination which states, “Tyler Junior College gives equal consideration to all applicants for admission, employment and participation in its programs and activities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, veteran status or limited English proficiency (LEP). Tyler Junior College respects the legal rights of each person to work and learn in an environment that is free from unlawful sexual discrimination including sexual harassment and sexual violence.”
An organization can use TJC’s name and logo and will be added to the website as an official organization once they meet the new requirements. Additionally to start an organization a group needs five TJC students and a full-time college employee to advise or sponsor the organization.
“So you apply for a new student organization, and the moment your forms and application process has been accepted by the office, you’re an organization already. So you can start using TJC’s logo, you can start using TJC’s name, you will be listed as an official organization on our website, our lists and stuff like that,” Hernandez said.
All accepted organizations will then be introduced to the student body during a designated organization presentation day.
“So there is a designated meeting for that. It’s called organization presentation day or meeting. So they will all apply; they will all get accepted. They will have time to come up with a presentation of some sort and then they all present at the designated meeting,” Hernandez said in an earlier interview with The DrumBeat.
Student Joseph Ritter, representing speech and debate, discusses how he feels about the updated recognition process.
“It is very different than what we have now, but looking back at how all the voting went last semester, I definitely can see both sides,” Ritter said.
With some students not agreeing with his proposal, Hernandez responds, “Do not worry about it. If you do not like an organization that got approved then stay away from it,” Hernandez said. “I believe that with them getting rid of the vote it is opening so many doors for so many other organizations who can probably come in the future.”
Hernandez was inspired by the University of Texas at Tyler’s student organization approval process, which states that an organization needs the appropriate faculty, number of students, and paperwork to be approved. Colleges such as Stephen F. Austin State University, Kilgore College, the University of Texas at Tyler, and Trinity Valley Community College don’t require voting for organizations to be approved. However, SFA and TVCC do require officers of the clubs to go through training before the club can become official.
Student Senate first introduced this proposal at a meeting held on Feb. 8.
Problems with the original recognition process were brought to light in previous committee meetings, Hernandez mentioned in a previous report from The DrumBeat.
“So it was brought to our attention that the final decision of the appeal process shouldn’t be left to the director of student life, and so the committee agreed that it should be given back to the students. So that’s the reason we changed it, or that’s the reason we came up with this proposal,” Hernandez said.
Click here to view the proposal.