SGA responds to club guidance story

To the editor,

On February 9th 2023 the Crier released an article disparaging the Club Affairs team of the Student Government Association. The article was at places false, and others misleading. As leaders of the Student Government Association we deemed it necessary to pen this letter so as to set the record straight. 

We have broken down the aforementioned article into some of its claims and have included our responses to each. Before we delve into the details, it is important to note that anyone with questions about the process of running or starting a club should reach out to any one of the signatories with their concerns. 

Claim #1: Secretary Parenteau “changed policy” and surprised clubs with 10 hours of community service. 

The community service requirement was sent out via email to all club presidents at least as far back as September of 2022. Further, the policy requiring 10 hours of community service per semester has been in place for longer than any of us have been involved with student government. This was not a change in policy nor was it a new policy. The claim that this was a “change in policy” given with “lack of sufficient warning” is demonstrably false. 

Claim #2: There are no written/transparent guidelines for clubs.

There are packets given out to club leaders about how to successfully run a club and manage its finances. Further, after every club affairs meeting all club presidents receive emails with detailed information necessary for their success. All this information is always available upon request. Lastly, the professional staff operating Student Engagement have their office open every weekday for questions and concerns. 

Claim #3: The process for reserving rooms and lockers is not clear.

Reserving rooms is done through the schools EMS system and has no connection to Club Affairs. We are always willing to help someone figure out that process. To reserve lockers, you may contact Club Affairs. At the time of this article, though, the process was done through SEAL. Prior to this year, the Student Body Vice President was in charge of lockers and students were directed to speak with Vice President Mickens. He would have happily directed them to the relevant parties. 

Claim #4: Secretary Parenteau did not comment on the existence of written club guidelines.

Secretary Parenteau was not reached for a comment. Further, if this was the result of some confusion or technical error, the reporter nevertheless declined to ask Secretary Parenteau questions of any kind on February 3rd when they were both in attendance at the SGA Senate meeting. This was the case even though the reporter was called upon as a member of the public forum, and given the opportunity to ask any member of SGA any question. In addition to this, we know Senator DeMarkey was spoken to at this same meeting in an attempt to get a comment. This does not reflect a fair opportunity for Secretary Parenteau to comment on this story or its details. 

Claim #5: Senator DeMarkey is quoted as saying another Senator’s bill was “hostile.”

After reviewing Senator DeMarkey’s correspondence with the Crier, we found no evidence that Senator DeMarkey ever stated that the bill was hostile. This quote was falsely attributed to Senator DeMarkey, and only reflects assertions made by the reporter about what Senator DeMarkey must have believed. 

Claim #6: The “sacrifices” of club leaders weren’t honored.

SGA is incredibly grateful for and continues to be impressed with our clubs and their leadership. The club fairs are certainly a way to encourage clubs to obtain new membership, but are by no means mandatory. Clubs are encouraged to attend to spread awareness of their club to the student body, and reach out to Secretary Parenteau if they have interest in holding a table. Running a club is not easy, so if club fair feels to be something you are sacrificing your time for, it is completely okay to step back.

Claim #7: Low attendance at club fairs. 

To criticize Secretary Parenteau for low attendance at last year and this year’s spring club fair is to criticize his inability to stop cold weather and hailstorms. It must also be noted that language such as “snap club fairs” is conjecture. There is no such thing as a snap club fair. The first ever spring semester club fair was also followed by a club fair that took place on Friday September 2nd, 2022. This event was highly successful, drawing out hundreds of students to Alumni Quad. It occurs during Welcome Back week to encourage students to get involved on campus. The purpose of offering a second semester club fair at the beginning of the spring semester is to continue to highlight opportunities for all of our students to get involved. We don’t want students to think that their only option to get involved is at the beginning of the year, but that it is an on-going process. While attendance is never the same between the fall and the spring club fair, we feel it is important to give our clubs and organizations more chances to engage the student body and encourage them to get involved.

To conclude, we must simply state that this is all very regrettable. The errors made in the article were largely avoidable, and do not reflect what we have come to expect of the Crier. It must be said, though, that we greatly appreciate the Crier giving us the chance to say our piece. We will always strive to help those whom we were selected and elected to serve. We highly encourage anyone with further concerns about any issue to reach out to either SGA or the relevant professional staff at the college. 


Maura Crump, Student Body President

Ben Mickens, Student Body Vice President

Guy Parenteau, Secretary of Club Affairs

Grace Tierney, Deputy Secretary of Club Affairs