The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) advocacy committee is working on understanding the California State University executive order which mandates all campuses enforce an open club membership policy.
Despite pressure to change Cal Poly’s open club membership policy, the university is holding its position that Cal Poly-affiliated clubs must be open to all students.
The policy, which was part of Executive Order 1068, mandates that all California State University (CSU) campuses implement an open club membership policy for any organization that receives official recognition, said Hamzah Ramadan, a political science junior and chair of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) advocacy committee.
“It was not necessarily Cal Poly’s decision to create this mandate, but the chancellor imposed it on us,” Ramadan said. “To my understanding, if we were to not abide by the order, we could lose significant funding.”
The advocacy committee is working on understanding the executive order and has met with Dean of Students Jean DeCosta to discuss the policy, Ramadan said.
“It is important for us to understand the reasoning behind it all, as it is something of concern to our students,” Ramadan said.
Ramadan acknowledged some organizations, such as honor societies, require exclusivity in their club membership process. Because of this, they are examining what options will do what is best for students.
“If, through our research, we find that the policy is unsuitable for Cal Poly students, then there is a potential for a resolution to be forwarded to the chancellor,” Ramadan said. “As of right now, we are just pursuing a path of education and understanding before we can make any decisions.”
Ramadan said one of the benefits to leaving club membership open is that every Cal Poly student can have equal access to every organization on campus and grow from the experience. But if Cal Poly keeps membership open, it could harm national recognition of groups such as honors societies or ones that receive donations based on specific club guidelines.
Nate Honeycutt, a psychology senior and president of the Cal Poly College Republicans, said members of the club are not required to be Republican under the current university policy. This worries him, he said, because there could be a club takeover of students who have different views and objectives.
“We have local community members who donate money to our club so we can pursue these objectives,” he said. “And if we can’t protect that, then, really, what’s the purpose of our club?”
Honeycutt has been working with student government to either remove the policy or come to a compromise that would make some clubs exempt.
Because the policy is a CSU-wide mandate, any change that happens at Cal Poly could affect the entire system.
“It is important for students to know that we are currently working on this matter,” Ramadan said. “If anyone has any input and would like to discuss this issue more, then feel free to contact me.”