On Sept. 10, The Queens College (QC) Office of Student Development and Leadership (OSDL) dealt a strikedown of freedom, towards club leaders on campus, when it announced that clubs would no longer have individual budgets. The Office offered a new operating system to soften the blow: a smaller budget committee moderated by student life will take charge of the large sum of student activity fees. However, many feel as though the old system was much more effective.
With the new system in place, QC clubs now have to go through a lengthy process in order to receive student activity fees for their events. As per the OSDL’s protocol, clubs will need to provide a W9S form, a direct deposit form, a Queens College Association (QCA) payment request form, a contract, a flyer of the event, and an invoice. On top of this, the clubs will have to defend their request for funding before the QCA budget committee.
In a statement from Adam Rockman, Vice President for Student Affairs at Queens College, he defended new changes, citing that this tightly regulated and thorough approach ensures that clubs won’t possess surplus funds, as they allegedly did in times past. As per Rockman’s statement, “It ensures that all student fee monies are completely utilized, resulting in increased and improved programming for students.”
Though the QCA will benefit by maintaining tighter control of student activity fees, not all club leaders were enthusiastic about the changes. The Knight News spoke to Mariam Aslam, President of the Gender Love and Sexuality Alliance (GLASA), a club that is known to frequently collaborate with the OSDL. Aslam questioned the transparency of the OSDL with this sudden shift in the budgetary operating system: “The Office [of Student Development and Leadership] hasn’t been transparent with students and it’s been very disorganized. I understand they are trying their hardest and I recognize the amount of pressure they have, however it seems like they are no longer working with the students [they serve].”
Abid Khan, a QC graduate student who currently serves as the president of Ascend, one of QC’s business clubs on campus, explained the challenges his club has faced: “The Office of Student Development and Leadership definitely made our jobs harder to operate as a fully functional and attractive club from Queens College by adding extra steps to access any money in general,” he commented. “Seeing as money has not been as accessible as before, we had to get more creative in figuring out how to make the club more attractive and doing activities together with students and club members for free.”
Rockman added an afterthought about potentially reverting to the former operating system for RSO budgets. “QCA board members are within their rights to make a motion to revert to the former method of allocating RSO funds, which would then be subject to a full Board discussion and vote,” he stated.
It’s important to note that QCA meetings are poorly advertised to the QC community. Following The Knight News’ previously-published article, regarding potential open meetings law violations, the QCA subsequently posted meeting dates and links on the QC calendar to meet the minimum requirements outlined by the law. For club leaders looking to insert their individual input, the only option is to reach out to the Student Association (SA) leadership, who hold six seats on the QCA board. The Knight News has failed to find any announcements or outreach from the SA leadership prior to the implementation of this policy.
ADDENDUM: On Dec. 14, an email from the desk of Frank Wu was sent out to the Queens College student body announcing that the flexible grading policy would be extended to this semester. The official statement is as follows: “Queens College will extend the flexible grading policy to the Fall 2020 semester, with limited exceptions. The exceptions will include those categories of courses needed for licensure or certification, or as prerequisite classes with minimum grades set for progression in a particular course sequence. This policy will help prevent adverse impact to students as they advance with their education.”