Club consultant bylaw garners controversy
The bylaw would mandate that all chartered clubs have a consultant, which is already required for secured clubs.
Club Support Committee Chair Joseph Coles ’22 is working on an expansion of the club consultant bylaw which would mandate all chartered clubs to have faculty or staff consultants.
The Senate passed the original club consultant bylaw on March 31, according to an April 2 Justice article. The bylaw says that secured clubs must have a University faculty or staff member in an advisory role.
There would also be changes to Section E of the bylaw, which “calls for a formal contract” between the consultant and the club members, Coles said in an interview with the Justice last Tuesday. Under Coles’ proposal, this contract would be reevaluated each year.
Coles said that this change to Section E was in response to “a lot of negative feedback” about the bylaw he received from club members. He maintained that the bylaw was “misunderstood.”
“There’s data on the popularity of this and it’s not good,” Coles said. “It’s very clear that the student body doesn’t want it right now, so I’m going to respect that and not propose it.”
In hopes of increasing approval of the bylaw, Coles said he is working to “change the perception and help people understand it better.” He invited students to attend his office hours on Nov. 18 through 21 to discuss the bylaw. Coles also said that he was working on setting up a joint forum on the subject with the Club Support Committee and Student Activities and speaking with club members at other events.
Coles said he hopes that he can get the bylaw passed in the Senate before the end of the spring semester so that it can go into effect by the next academic year. He clarified that he would not try to pass the amendment if it continued to generate largely negative feedback.
“If I don’t see a change in the popularity of the bylaw between now and the end of the semester, then I won’t introduce it until February,” Coles said. “I don’t want to force this down people’s throats.”
Coles explained the requirements for clubs under the bylaw. He said club treasurers would be required to meet with their consultant twice a year, saying that “the purpose of this [bylaw] is around financial mismanagement.”
He elaborated that the consultant was meant to serve as a “second voice” in clubs. “Getting overall advice about events, how to recruit more members, how to book space and just having somebody who knows the ins and outs of the University is just something that … any club can benefit from,” he said.
Coles emphasized that the club consultant would not be able to make any decisions for the club. “The club advisor doesn’t approve anything. They have no authority or power over the club,” he said.
Coles said that one benefit of the bylaw was that clubs would be able to discuss their event ideas with their consultants to avoid issues. He said that he learned from talking to Student Activities that they have encountered several scenarios where club members did not know that they had to book custodians to clean up after their events. He also said that Student Activities has had to tell clubs that their events were too big and needed to be scaled down. Club consultants would make clubs conscious of “little things like that,” Coles said.