Club controversy, new senators sworn in


Senators at Large getting sworn in at Monday nights Students’ Association meeting. Pictured from left to right is Lindsay Condon, Esther Illunga, Carter Howell, Claire Koenecke, Asledi Castillo, Kate Pfeifle, Hallie Kueter, Olivia Schazenbach and Grady O’Neill.

Jacob Boyko, News Editor

A proposed student organization’s constitution was postponed indefinitely at the Students’ Association Senate meeting Monday night, with the club members told to try again next year. 

As is standard for the constitutional approval process, the club’s president Princess Baygboe and vice president Elizabeth Galera explained the mission of their club, SELF, or Success Encouragement Love Future, to the Senate. 

“The purpose of our club, SELF, is to build a community where people can be themselves and grow…” Baygboe said to the Senate. 

The club has held meetings focusing on topics ranging from accountability and planning to relieving stress. 

According to club leadership, SELF is made up of current and former Black Student Alliance members, some of whom expressed disapproval for the ways they were treated within BSA by members.

Adonai Ghebrekidan, former president of the BSA, encouraged senators to vote against the constitution at the April 3 SA meeting. 

“Members in this organization have already caused a lot of conflict with our organization, especially in the [Multi-Cultural Center],” Ghebrekidan said. “It would be a mistake to recognize [SELF] as an organization on this campus.”

According to Ghebrekidan, meetings for SELF take place at the same time and place as BSA meetings. 

“When we tried to end the conflict by reporting it to our adviser that [SELF] was having meetings in a room that we also have rented out as an organization, our adviser went up to them … and informed them they were not a recognized student organization … He then received a ton of nasty … remarks saying ‘I pay my [general activity fee] funding, you can’t tell me what to do.” 

SELF explained the unofficial club needed a place to meet, but couldn’t reserve anywhere yet, and that their members had the time slot open because so many were previously affiliated with BSA. 

Ghebrekidan also told the Senate SELF was not allowing BSA members to join the club. 

“We’re college students, not middle schoolers,” Diversity Chair Asledi Castillo said. “Drama and hatred toward others are [unacceptable] to me and anyone at [the executive team’s] table. This club would have my complete support and attendance if its constitution were properly written, if they could answer emails more frequently or attend meetings, and if there was no discrimination against other groups.”

Castillo told the SELF members to try again next year “with a more concrete ethical foundation.” 

The Senate did not comment or ask questions specifically pertaining to the constitution. 

Galera was unable to respond until Sen. Tyler Rasmussen yielded time for her.  

Galera said the relationship between BSA and SELF was mischaracterized and the organizations coexisted initially. SELF also confirmed that some members of SELF are actively involved in BSA.

“I have no hatred for BSA,” she said. “They pushed for me to leave … Apart from that, after I left, they asked me for my help with regards to an event … Members of SELF also participated in helping the event go down after they left.”

Baygboe and Galera told The Collegian the Senate did not approach them about BSA’s claims before the Senate meeting. 

“I don’t feel like [the club] was fairly treated because I feel like instead of actually coming to us with these assumptions, they just went off of what everyone else said,” Galera said. 

Vice President Trinity Peterson encouraged the Senate to indefinitely postpone the club’s constitution. 

“There’s a lot of things clearly going on,” Sen. Rasmussen said of the motion. “I think rather than kill the motion, we postpone it for a week and have the [executive board and SELF] meet with a secondary person, whether it be one of our personal advisers, somebody within the administration, Vice President (of Student Affairs Michaela) Willis—whoever we feel would be unbiased—meet and figure out where the issue is.” 

Senator Rasmussen was the only senator who voted against killing the constitution. 

The Collegian is investigating the matter and will provide updates as they’re available. 

The Senate unanimously approved constitutions for the Christian Veterinary Fellowship and Men’s Soccer Club the same night. 

The Senate also passed two new amendments. 23-1-A updates SA Finance Committee’s confidentiality rules. The amendment states violations of the confidentiality will be grounds for removal. 

Amendment 23-2-A allows senators to wear buttons, but not excessively, within 50 feet of  and requires campaign polling stations expenditures to be made available to the Election Steering Committee chair within five days of the election and made available to the public within six days. 

President Grote also swore in the 2023-2024 Senators at Large.