ASG promotes Korean group status, denies Special Olympics

Janette Neuwahl

Associated Student Government Executive Vice President Nicole Mash had good news for some student groups petitioning for a higher status at Wednesday’s Senate meeting, while others did not fare so well.

The Korean American Student Association gained A-status recognition, a promotion from its B-status standing. Its new standing allows the group to apply for funding from the Student Activities Fee pool during Spring Quarter.

A joint committee of 22 senators from the Student Activities Finance Board and the Executive Committee decided to grant the group the promoted status because of its revamped programming structure, Mash said.

Association President Michelle Lee said the group had A-status recognition but was demoted to B-status about two years ago. Last Spring Quarter, Lee said she approached the joint committee, but the group was denied a higher status.

This fall, Lee said her group took the committee’s criticisms from Spring Quarter and improved its strategy for this quarter’s hearing.

“We went up (for recognition) this year and felt we had done the best we could’ve done,” said Lee, a Communication sophomore. “We’re all just very happy and excited about the coming year and future events.”

The group’s treasurer Patrick Min said the new recognition will help group solidarity.

“A lot of the group from last year stayed on the executive board, and I’m excited we are being acknowledged by the school,” said Min, a Weinberg sophomore.

Special Olympics also petitioned for A-status recognition but was denied. Instead of gaining the ability to get SAFB funding, Special Olympics retains its B-status standing, which allows it to book rooms at Norris University Center and acquire university-sponsored Web space.

“We’re disappointed with the outcome and surprised,” said Rick Armbrust, Special Olympics co-chairman. “I think our case is good for Student Activities Fee funds and A-status recognition.

“At this point we’re just asking, ‘Are we a value to this campus in terms of programming for the student body?’ and we think it’s a yes, but they didn’t, apparently.”

The group decided to apply for A-status as an alternate way of funding on-campus events that help increase campus awareness about people with disabilities, Armbrust said. The group has had B-status for the past 26 years.

As an international organization, Special Olympics asked its college chapters to use the name only when fund raising for the actual games and instead create an alternate name for fund-raising groups. The new policy prompted NU’s Special Olympics to seek a name change, leaders announced this week.

Other philanthropy organizations Dance Marathon and Suitcase Party, who often are grouped with Special Olympics, both maintain B-status recognition. Elizabeth Glasgow, who serves as Suitcase Party co-chairwoman, said the Special Olympics’ emphasis on funding one event and not fund raising for a beneficiary may explain their reasons for wanting A-status recognition.

“Unlike DM and ourselves, their focus isn’t on fund raising but producing an event, and any fund raising they do is to cover the costs of an event,” said Glasgow, a Weinberg senior. “It could be so much better if they just received funding, so they can focus their attention on the goal of the organization — to create an incredible event.”

Mash declined to comment Thursday about Special Olympics’ status.

College Libertarians also received disappointing news from Mash’s committee.

Because of several student group guideline infractions, Mash said the B-status group is under investigation for group misconduct, which could lead to derecognition. Some problems Mash indicated are a lack of treasurer, failure to attend the leadership advisory retreat and absence at the group’s last two Student Activities Finance Board audits.

Libertarians President Jason Konik will confront Mash’s committee at a hearing Monday. Konik said he feels some charges by the executive committee are unfair, because the group’s executive board resigned when he became president. Also, as a junior, Konik said he was unaware of some of the guidelines with which groups must comply.

“I didn’t really know what to do exactly, essentially because nobody taught me,” said Konik, a Weinberg junior. “I hope they’ll hear me out (Monday).”

Formerly unrecognized Campus Greens also tried to gain B-status from ASG’s executive committee. Instead, the committee granted the organization T-status, which temporarily recognizes groups before they are considered for B-status recognition.

Freshman Fifteen gained B-status from its former T-status recognition.