By Maria Ramirez Perez
The constitutional amendment, initially announced in December 2016, has been approved. The amendment is meant to address a gap in the current constitution which posed a potential restriction for Fleer student participation in SGA-funded organizations.
Discussion of the amendment began in November in response to growing interest expressed by Fleer students to participate in traditional student activities. There was a potential source of dilemma with SGA-funded clubs or organizations because SGA funding is derived from the Student Activities fee. The change is meant to protect Fleer students from being denied acceptance in SGA funded clubs and organizations due to their status while ensuring that Fleer students are contributing the same amount a traditional student does. In practice, the Fleer student who would like to participate in an activity would pay a fee equivalent to the per-student allocation given to that organization by SGA.
The impetus for the amendment was the shifting demographic of the Fleer student population at Salem College. Of the new adult students enrolled this year, it is estimated that over half of the students are in the 23-33 age range.
According to Honor Council Chair, Irasema (Semi) Rivas Rangel, “The change will help protect Fleer students from being denied acceptance in SGA funded clubs and organizations.” If you are a traditional student this is unlikely to affect you in any significant way. As clarification, while the amendment did not pass unanimously, it appears to have been well received and its goal is to ensure that potentially discriminatory loopholes are not abused.
Statement by SGA:
The 2016-2017 Salem College Student Government Association is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity. By spearheading this initiative, we hope to create a more inclusive campus. No student should be denied admission or participation in an SGA sponsored club or organization due to age or standing. By creating a policy for Fleer students we take away the gray area that existed previously and allowed for the separation of these students. Just like we are pushing for positive policy regarding transgender students, and more transparency with clubs and organizations in Legislative Board meetings by requesting general journals and receipts, we are dedicated to the integration of all members of our campus to create a community everyone can be proud of.