The new Relationship Statement was sent out last week to students and faculty in campus distribution emails. In addition to describing how student organizations work with the university, the statement also enacts the new Organization Advisory Committee (OAC), which was designed to establish a set of common guidelines for advisory procedures.
Chaired by the Dean of Students Scott Brown, the OAC consists of one student and faculty member from each advising department, which includes the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE), Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) & Student Government Association (SGA), ALANA Cultural Center, Office of the Chaplains and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. This new system of advising is expected to be more efficient for the university as well as all student groups.
“The new relationship statement will greatly improve the connection between advisors and organizations,” SGA Executive Board Member senior James Speight said. “The previous system wasn’t as effective, because of the sheer number of groups being lumped together under one department.”
In the past, student groups were forced to seek out unofficial advisors who were more closely related to their interests, rather than be part of a mass advising group under one department. This led to inconsistencies in group responsibilities. The OAC has been designed to put an end to such problems and thus make Colgate’s student organizations more systematized.
“The purpose of OAC is to streamline the recognition process and increase the quality of advising for organizations. Now newly formed student organizations will have to have a mission or purpose that aligns with one of the five branches, which prevents groups with the same purpose from overlapping,” Speight said. “This helps create sustainable organizations by fostering collaboration and membership of and amongst current groups rather than persistently forming new organizations.”
With this significant change in the advising administration, it is also important to note that the OAC does not deal with funding and will not change any current student organization, other than placing them in a different advising department. And despite initial concerns about the placement of organizations into new advising departments, board members assure students that the switch will surely help the groups involved.
“The splitting of organizations into the different advising branches will improve communication amongst groups that share common interests,” Speight said.
The Relationship Statement also details the responsibilities every student organization must maintain in order to keep their recognition by the university. With a separate section for fraternity and sorority requirements, the statement details the specific obligations of the Greek Letter Organizations on campus. Lastly, it outlines several violations that are not accepted within Colgate’s student groups, with explicit guidelines for disciplinary accountability.