Cal Poly clubs will not be able to renew their charters for the 2020-2021 academic year until further notice, according to Assistant Director of Student Clubs and Organizations Chip Neuenschwander.

The annual chartering process is required of all California State University (CSU) clubs, which includes mandatory training for club officers on how to operate their club. The process typically opens early in the calendar year, but it has been delayed due to the uncertainties brought on by COVID-19.

“Covid made a lot of things uncertain,” Neuenschwander said. “What are club operations going to look like? Are students going to be able to do [event plans]?”

There were too many unknown factors that it seemed counterproductive to release information regarding clubs, Neuenschwander said.

Club officers from the 2019-2020 academic year will remain in their positions until October 2020. 

“No club operations have ceased, it’s just a matter of new officers for an entire new charter have not been able to go through the training,” Director of the University Union for Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Michelle Crawford said.

The release of the chartering process for the next academic year is contingent on several factors which have not yet been decided, according to Neuenschwander. One of these factors depends on whether or not students will be able to attend club meetings in person in the fall. 

Although President Jeffrey Armstrong announced in a campus-wide email that Cal Poly would allow in-person instruction for 15 percent of classes in Fall quarter, the university is waiting for Gov. Gavin Newsom to release higher education guidelines that detail whether students will be allowed to get together outside of the classroom.

Another factor involves the banking process for club funding. ASI, the student-driven organization that provides programs and services to students, allocates club funding annually and has set aside funding to support clubs for the 2020-2021 academic year.

However, with the closing of the Chase Bank branch on campus — the primary bank for student organization transactions — ASI is currently transitioning to a different banking process, according to Crawford.

“Right now, there are a few puzzle pieces that are still undetermined and as soon as we are able to put these pieces into place, we will immediately launch,” Crawford said.

The Dean of Students Office and ASI have been collaborating to put together a club officer training program, which they plan to release in August along with more information on the chartering process, Crawford said. 

Both departments are using this delay as an opportunity to increase efficiency in the chartering process, Crawford said. In the past, all paperwork was to submitted in-person through hard copies.

“We’ve now taken the past few months to enter into the 21st century, so when we re-enter in fall, our goal is that all processes are provided for clubs online, with an electronic signature to streamline the process,” Crawford said.

Despite the transition to a virtual learning format, several clubs remained active over Spring quarter, using various tools such as Zoom, Instagram Live and YouTube, and incorporated guest speakers into meetings to keep members engaged.

Club sports are still planning to renew their charters, despite the likelihood students will not be able to participate in person, according to Neuenschwander.

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