The Advance-Titan

OSA, orgs disagree over fairness of recognition process

Cari Fehler

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Various student organizations gathered at the OSA Senate meeting Tuesday night to voice their concerns over the lack of recognition they receive as student organizations on campus.

Some of the organizations included the Philosophy Club, College Democrats, Millennials Club and the Oshkosh Student Veterans Association.

This year, numerous student organizations missed the application deadline in order to receive official recognition through the University. President of College Democrats and current Vice President of Millennials Club Brandon Colligan, a political science major, said there are multiple factors that led to student organizations not being recognized.

“I think there are a variety of reasons that so many organizations missed this application deadline,” Colligan said. “First, communication about these deadlines was poor, often going to the wrong people or getting to organizations late and this process was tedious, lengthy, and confusing. Second, is that despite this, OSA failed to accommodate anyone even if they missed the deadline with no regards as to why or what had happened for any given organization.”

OSA Chief of Staff Alex Novak explained that every student organization must complete Registered Student Organization Training as one part of the process to be officially recognized, and some may have gotten confused about this.

“One of the main communications that I’ve heard from clubs is that they thought that coming to their club budget meeting counted as their RSOT training, which it did not,” Novak said. “The ‘how to use your allocated funds meeting’ that was more-so just how clubs can use their funds rather than getting recognized as a club…I feel like some clubs did not realize that there were as many steps as there need to be for them to become recognized.”

Novak said deadlines for student organizations have always been this way to his knowledge.

“I know in the past it’s been fairly strict on the deadline for when clubs can get recognized, so I don’t think there’s major changes from last year to this year but it’s always just a turnover thing from executive boards,” Novak said. “There’s always miscommunication moving to new leadership in other clubs and even here in OSA.”

According to Novak, OSA follows the structure of the federal government and therefore tries to remain professional and hold students accountable while still promoting student engagement.

“We want students to be as engaged and active as they can be… but at the same time to know that there are certain policies in place for everything to stay on track and everything to keep going,” Novak said. “There are different hoops that clubs need to stay in line with just so everyone remains on the flow and the path keeps going, and everything remains business and formal and professional.”

Moving forward, Brandon Colligan said he had some ideas about where to go from here.

“The first appropriate step to addressing the large volume of unrecognized student organizations would be to reopen the recognition process for the beginning of the spring 2017 semester,” said Colligan. “It’s unacceptable that our student veterans organization would have to wait until next academic year to be formally recognized by our University.”
Colligan said many organizations sought a solution even before the OSA Senate meeting Tuesday evening.

“Multiple organizations have already emailed the OSA executives, senators, etc to ask for recognition to be reopened,” said Colligan. “Besides, this I would rather our student leadership come up with measures to simplify the recognition process and increase better communication in regards to the process and not have it be a zero-sum deadline. But reopening the recognition process for the spring semester would be the best way that OSA can immediately address their own negligences of not recognizing longstanding, previously recognized student organizations.”

Colligan said OSA recognition comes with crucial benefits for student organizations.

“It’s important for not only my organization but for all organizations to be recognized so that we have the formal privileges whether booking rooms for meetings and events or simply having access to the University’s resources in regards to advertising and promotion that are included with OSA recognition” Colligan said.

OSA Vice President Maria Berge said OSA is working together on a solution that will provide a happy medium.

“It’s something that’s being currently looked at by Brandon [Miller, Interim Dean of Student Affairs and OSA Advisor] and the executive team,” Berge said. “The changes will have to be made to the Assembly bylaws as the Assembly is the body that deals with [recognition.]”

Novak said reopening the recognition process is not off the table. However, clubs may not get funding.

“That’s something we’ve talked about at our executive board meetings for OSA,” Novak said. “Whereas we can reopen up RSOT … I feel like that might be beneficial for students just so they have a place to meet because I would hate to deter students from being in a club and talking about their interests. So I feel like if they were at least granted a room and someplace to meet, that would be half the battle because some clubs don’t even use their funds, they just want a place to hangout, meet and talk about their passions.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
OSA, orgs disagree over fairness of recognition process