Several Student Assembly members plan to introduce a draft resolution at Thursday’s assembly meeting that may, if passed, effectively nullify a recent University decision forcing student groups to pay for security at “controversial” events.
The resolution requests the University to “remove this [security] policy immediately” so as to not create “any additional financial burden” on student groups sponsoring select events. It also effectively prevents the University from imposing security fees without the consent of the student group sponsoring the event and a majority S.A. vote sanctioning the charges.
The resolution effectively has S.A. contest the jurisdiction of the University’s Event Management Planning Team, which implemented the security policy changes.
EMPT has the authority to refer students to the Office of the Judicial Administrator if they hold an event without their approval, which in some cases may be conditional on organizations paying for security, according to their website. However, the resolution will amend the S.A. charter to effectively protect student organizations from being forced to pay security fees, regardless of how the EMPT decrees.
Joe Anderson ’20, S.A. executive vice president, noted that University President Martha Pollack will de facto decide whether the S.A. or EMPT has the final authority over security fee policy, as she may accept or reject changes to the S.A. charter.
The resolution is written in response to the University’s recent security policy changes, which require student groups funded by the Student Activities Funding Commission to plan and pay for security fees for many events that did not previously require them, The Sun previously reported.
Anderson argued that the University should chip in to fund securities for events and find an “equitable” division of expenses between student and administration.
“I think the University should be part of covering it,” Anderson said. “The University should come in … if the University wants to value academic freedom, academic thoughts, and bring diverse perspectives to campus.”
The current version of the resolution does not legislate at all how the University and student groups will conduct this financial burden-sharing, however.
The new security fee structure was implemented July 1; organizations were emailed a reminder of the new policy on Aug. 31, just a week before SAFC budgets were due.
When the revised event planning policies were initially outlined in the spring semester, “it seemed like it was only for the really big events, the obviously controversial ones,” according to Omar Din, S.A. College of Human Ecology representative. “[That] in itself was problematic, but not to the extent that this actual policy has been.”
The resolution, if implemented, will not prevent student organizations from requesting security at events that require it, according to Din.
“Some organizations and some events obviously do need CUPD,” said Din, using Slope Day and Convocation as examples. “We don’t want to prevent them from having the police, because they actually have the necessity for having them there.”
However, more small-scale and less “controversial” events — such as a capella groups — require security under the new changes.
“A capella concerts — if you have like a little arch sing, do you really think you need … CUPD officers?” Anderson, also a co-sponsor for the resolution, said. “Yes, I want all students to be safe at events, but there comes to a limit where it becomes unnecessary to have CUPD at events that never needed them.”
Top administrators are attending the Thursday meeting that looks to reverse the policy changes they introduced.
Mary Beth Grant, senior associate dean of students, and Joseph Scaffido, director of the campus activities office, — both co-chairs of EMPT — will “give a holistic presentation” and field questions from S.A. and community members at the meeting, according to Anderson.