Students’ rights policy to be more inclusive

Student Government passed motions to approve two student clubs and rejected a third on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Three clubs — To Write Love on Her Arms, the Association of Students for Africa and TCNJ Paintball — presented before Student Government in hopes of receiving official organizational status.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit movement that strives to assist those suffering from mental illnesses, depression, self-injury and suicidal thoughts. The club was approved by an overwhelming majority.

While some members of SG expressed that the Association of Students for Africa should be a subgroup of the existing Black Student Union, many lauded the club for its mission to represent an even smaller minority on campus.

“African students on campus are a group that feel as though they don’t have a presence on campus,” said Alex Brown, vice president of Governmental Affairs. “They specifically told me that they don’t want to be a part of BSU because BSU doesn’t focus on the things that they’re focusing on.”

The SG general body was even more divided on whether to grant TCNJ Paintball official organizational status. Many SG members questioned the club’s mission and criticized it for a lack of leadership, as the executive board currently consists of only two members. When asked about the future of the club, president of TCNJ Paintball Sean Harshman responded hopefully.

“We have interest from all different grades here,” Harshman said. “I think the (recreational) events will help build interest to become more competitive. The (recreational) events will really feed into the competitive side and just perpetuate.”

TCNJ Paintball did not receive approval from SG. However, Magda Manetas, associate vice president for Student Affairs and advisor of SG, clarified that even unrecognized clubs have many options.

“If (SG does not) recognize a group, it doesn’t stop them from being able to affiliate and continue their activities,” Manetas said. “They can come back before the group at a later time. They can continue to affiliate and never go for recognition again.”

In addition to voting on the clubs, SG also reviewed changes to a policy regarding reporting child abuse, as well as a document that explains students’ rights on campus.

The old policy requires students, faculty and staff to report incidents of child abuse to Campus Police, as well as to the Division of Youth and Family Services — a state agency of the Department of Human Services that guarantees confidentiality. The policy has been amended to “strongly recommend” individuals to report the incidents to Campus Police instead of requiring it.

SG reviewed one other document on student rights and freedoms, which guarantees rights like freedom of expressionand protection against improper academic evaluation. The document is in the process of being updated.