Student Union puts ‘lame duck’ organization to rest

September 27th, 2012

John Carroll University’s Student Union has been doing some pruning of their administrative structure this year.

Two amendments were presented to the Senate on Sept. 24 to eliminate any mention of the Legion of Student Organizations from the constitution and by-laws of Student Union. This will essentially dissolve the LSO and reallocate its duties.

The LSO was formed as a unit within the Student Union, in charge of the Student Organizations Budget Board (SOBB) and the Student Organization Review Board (SORB). It was a collection of all of the presidents of recognized JCU student organizations that would have meetings regarding student organization business. These meetings would “provide programming, financial, communication, collaboration and transition support” for all of the student organizations as listed in the Student Union by-laws. In the past, other duties given to the LSO included allocation of funds to organizations and any other administrative duties that were necessary to help student organizations.

However, as time went on, the LSO’s usefulness slowly diminished, according to Bill Cook, vice president for student organizations. Now, SOBB is the only entity in charge of allocating funds to student organizations and the organizations have to appeal to SOBB if they want money for events or other activities. In addition, the administrative part of the LSO has been taken over by SORB and is run by four people within Student Union: the vice president for student organizations, the coordinator for student organization development, the vice president for business affairs and the auditor for the vice president for business affairs.

Bill Cook, the vice president of student organizations, said, “[SORB] handles the administrative duties such as helping organizations get recognized or processing the SOBB request forms.”

Cook added, “Over the years and with the invention of new technologies, the need for the LSO has diminished greatly.”

Lobolink, the online student organization resource, does everything that SORB did before it assumed the duties of the LSO, and more. Because of this advancement and how SOBB handles all allocations independently of the LSO, LSO has essentially become an outdated, ineffective organization.

Cook noted that the by-laws and constitution dictate that the vice president for student affairs, Mark McCarthy, must hold two LSO meetings per semester with all organization presidents present at the meetings. As technology advanced and emails became the preferred method of communication, it was only necessary to hold one meeting.

Cook also mentioned that accountability became a big issue within the LSO. “There are currently 132 recognized organizations and few [presidents] actually attended the meetings knowing that a report with the minutes would be sent via email,” he said.

The LSO has become a “lame-duck structure” that caused more problems than it was worth and created the exact kind of confusion it was designed to solve, Cook said. He has requested for the removal of LSO from the by-laws and constitution as a formal organization overseeing the SOBB and the SORB. This will alleviate all of the problems caused by the LSO and simplify how student organizations handle their affairs.

Cook said that SOBB and SORB “will continue to exist relatively unchanged, just as part of the Student Union with the oversight of the Senate.”

A meeting for the presidents of the student organizations and anyone else will continue to be held each semester, just not under that name of the LSO. This will keep the dialogue open between Student Union and student organizations without having the confusion of an unnecessary committee overseeing operations.

The bills are designed to remove some of the “red tape” in student organizations and to modernize the way student organizations conduct their business.

“The purpose of these actions is to create a more efficient and transparent Student Union,” Cook said.