Significant changes are underway for a number of Geneseo student organizations, as policy alterations and subsequent enforcement will require many groups to adjust their current affiliations.
“Groups that have a membership selection process and a voting process are the two key elements,” said Coordinator of Greek Affairs and Off-Campus Living Wendi Kinney. “Some groups are more social in nature, some are more service in nature and some are academic in nature, but the commonality across them is that there is a selection process.”
The groups facing these changes include the Royal Lady Knights, Action and Change Coalition – both Men of Action and Change as well as Sisters Making a Change – Alpha Phi Omega, Gamma Chi Epsilon and Alpha Kappa Psi.
Strictly service and professional organizations will not be asked to join the Inter-Greek Council, said Kinney, as that mandatory change will be limited to the social organizations with designated gender.
According to Charles Matthews, director of College Union and activities, these organizations consist of single-gendered groups that have been allowed to function as “Greek-like organizations, but without the same supervision that our Greek organizations have.” This presents a problem, because New York state law mandates that only Greek organizations are allowed to limit membership to a specific gender.
Matthews and Kinney, along with Assistant Director of College Union and Activities Lauren Dougherty, have been working together to develop a process by which these organizations will make the necessary changes to meet college policies as well as New York state laws.
“We met to look at our structure on campus,” said Kinney, who posed this question: “Are we in compliance with rules, regulations, state law, and also do we have these groups categorized in the best manner in that regard?”
“The best option was to offer them the opportunity to fall under my administration and my advisement, which would allow them to preserve what they’ve been about,” said Kinney. “The converse is either you’re no longer recognized because you don’t comply with policy or they would have to adopt, for them, radical structural changes.”
“When the option of becoming a sorority was presented it blindsided me,” said senior RLK President Zoyla Agovino. “But when the facts were presented based on New York state laws, that was the only option for us to take to preserve our traditions, values and the opportunities we provide to our members.”
“There were essentially three options: we let anyone interested into our organization, we become a Geneseo sorority or we become an unrecognized and disaffiliated organization,” said Agovino. These were the same three options presented to all three organizations.
Senior David Drozda, president of the ACC, identified the implications of this change for his organization. MAC and SMAC have always acted as separate organizations; however, they were officially registered with the college as the ACC.
“Being able to dissolve the ACC will allow us to have an independence and a stability we’ve never had,” said Drozda. “In that sense, this is a step forward – to be the official Men of Action and Change.” According to Drozda, both MAC and SMAC plan on joining the Inter-Fraternity Council and Inter-Sorority Council, respectively.
Junior Justin Randazzo, Inter-Fraternity Council president, spoke about the new responsibilities that these organizations will have to uphold.
“Basically, the change means they’ll be under the same guidelines of the other Greek organizations,” said Randazzo. “They’re required to send a representative to IGC meetings, they have to submit a full roster to Wendi Kinney, their members have to maintain above a 2.0 GPA and no first-semester freshman can join.”
The organizations will also have to adjust their member recruitment policies to be consistent with that of Greek organizations. This means they will have a period of time in which they can host informal and formal rushes for potential new members. Further, they must limit their new member education periods to six weeks.