I received an Email from Indiana University’s Student Life and Learning office the other day reminding me to renew my student group status, contact information, and adviser information. They were kind enough to also let me know about a couple new requirements for students groups.
Registered student groups are now required to have an adviser, and also to attend a mandatory student group orientation class. That we’ve gone so long without those requirements is surprising, but those are small potatoes compared with the other new requirement for student groups in the 2014-2015 academic year. We should all be worried about IU’s new requirement for student groups “…to sign a contract that explains your organization’s relationship to IU.”
All of these new requirements were unveiled in an April 14 Email to all student group presidents. There is also a new requirement for all student groups to attend an orientation meeting. Of course, all of these meetings are by RSVP only and are limited to the first 20 students, and a minimum of two students from each group are required to attend.
With these new requirements for student groups, Student Life and Learning is going to have to update some of their other public information about student groups, and they’ll probably have eat a slice of humble pie in the process.
You read it right, folks. IU-Bloomington has more than 750 registered student groups– For now. The student group orientation sessions can only host ten student groups at a time. Needless to say there’s no way that Student Life and Learning is going to be able to host 75 orientation sessions. I don’t expect that all student groups will want to put up with the hassle of attending a mandatory class just to have a running club, so come October 31 there are going to be a lot of student groups on the chopping block.
I don’t blame IU’s student groups for not wanting to put up with the hassle, but there’s no reason to put up with it in any case. Students don’t need permission from the university to exercise freedom of association and expression, and least of all do we need anyone’s permission to think or speak as we please.
These new requirements aren’t going to slow down the Traditionalist Youth Network at Indiana University. Not in the least. As it looks now, it will make things easier for me. As an unregistered student group I will have fewer university rules and regulations to follow. Well, it’s not like I ever paid much attention to the rules in the first place, but now the student group rules are truly a moot point for me. I’m also not worried in the least about losing funding or access to reserved spaces and rooms. I can’t “lose” something that I was never using in the first place.
Let’s not get all weepy and teary eyed about whether or not Traditionalist Youth Network at Indiana University has “registered” student group status, because it’s not going to change anything about the way that we do business. If you really want to lose some sleep over how these draconian requirements are going to negatively affect student groups and student participation with campus events and organizing, then go shed a tear for the well meaning students who won’t be able to do the simplest of things without having to jump through hoops ass first with a signed contract in hand.
Student Life and Learning’s new requirements for student organizations is going to negatively affect student participation in extracurricular activities, and also detract from overall campus participation in their coveted marketplace of ideas. IU-Bloomington can rightfully boast that it has a vibrant student organization community because we have more than 750 registered groups, but not after these new rules start taking effect.
Free speech and freedom of association cannot be mitigated by contractual obligations, nor should any student group suffer a Heckler’s Veto by virtue of not being able to find an adviser. I’m also doubtful that there are 750 staff or faculty who are willing and ready to sign on as advisers, and this means that a significant portion of IU’s vibrant and expressive student groups are about to lose official recognition.
The university administration might have also paused to think a moment longer on their new requirements because they are losing the opportunity to provide oversight, supervision, and mentorship for more controversial organizations like our own.
Subversive and radical student groups will exist despite the university’s new requirements, but they will also be free of the university’s new restrictions. Traditionalist Youth Network at Indiana University has been on campus for almost one year now, and the university has had every opportunity to exercise oversight and supervision. Now that they’re requiring student group advisers they’re going to lose the ability to monitor and watch us.
There’s really not much more to say about the university’s new requirements except that it’s probably the most fascist thing to be seen on campus, easily out doing the other already well known “fascist” group Traditionalist Youth Network.
Despite what you might have heard, Traditionalist Youth Network isn’t really a fascist group. We’re both more liberal and more conservative than anyone on either side of the isle. That’s part of what really confuses our opposition, and as a result they still don’t know how to categorize an authentic Radical Traditionalist student group. But if we really were fascists, then let’s all send a congratulatory letter to Student Life and Learning for being more fascist than anyone else around.
In the spirit of openness and transparency for all student groups, and in the interest of protecting a civil atmosphere of democratic participation, these new regulations should be dismissed. The university is hurting itself with these stringent new requirements for student groups.
Freedom of expression and association cannot be made contingent upon contracts and arbitrary permissions. Nothing less than dismissing contractual obligations and removing the requirement for advisers and group orientation will make the university that oasis of freedom and liberty that they claim to be.
If you’re upset about the new rules and regulations for student groups, feel free to Email Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life and Learning, Steve Veldkamp, at [email protected] and politely let him know that the new requirements are unacceptable. Alternately, you can send him a congratulatory letter for winning “fascist of the year” award.