Although student government does prepare some of the arena of American politics, the corruption and in-groups shouldn’t be part of the process. UCR, like many other colleges, keeps a standard protocol of giving their students a mid-quarter email warning of getting involved in organizations that are not affiliated with campus. However, there is a lot of danger when some organizations still run outside of campus bounds and indeed fearlessly manage to get involved in campus life while outside these important jurisdictions.
The matter of dismissed and unaffiliated organizations is more pressing than what a simple email and note on the website can cover. These organizations have proven for one reason or another that they cannot be part of campus life for safety reasons. And while a somewhat tardy email after these organizations may have rushed works well as a posterior-protecting measure, it doesn’t protect the people who might join these organizations. Freshman are unfortunately some of the most vulnerable people who can fall victim to these organizations that promise a community where they know nobody. And yet, falling outside of the school’s jurisdiction, including Title IX among others, these organizations may not keep the interests of these freshman rushees in mind.
This isn’t even to mention the fact that UCR forbids these dismissed and unaffiliated organizations from wearing the letters of these organizations, and yet, many do unabashedly. There is meant to be a punishment for people who join these potentially dangerous organizations, and yet time and time again, justice is not served. The people who get involved in these organizations, by proxy, become more and more bold. They may even work their way into other student life centerpieces like student government.
This is not to suggest that if someone is in any organization, they should not be allowed to hold other important positions on campus, like in student government or club presidents. However, they should be in an organization that is affiliated with the campus and lies inside campus jurisdiction. Additionally, all people applying for such positions should make it very clear what organizations — both on and off campus — they spend their time in. The transparency needs to be clear as it is in all other places. Some members might obscure the fact that they partake in these groups — suggesting that if you’re ashamed and willing to hide that you’re part of something, perhaps you shouldn’t be in that organization in the first place.
There is also the matter of student life as a whole to think about. If one organization that is not affiliated with campus is allowed to roam freely and congregate in important student organizations, the bullying and shunning that can occur can damage student life as a whole. This isn’t even to mention the damage that can occur at the parties of these organizations, where freshmen can get drunk or assaulted outside of where the university could at least attempt to get them some kind of justice. The university should be very concerned about these unaffiliated orgs; they have the potential to give the university a bad reputation that it certainly doesn’t need.
When it comes to these unaffiliated and dismissed orgs, UCR needs to take a look at the bigger picture. This means dealing actual punishment to people who get involved in these organizations by whatever means they deem fit, making sure applications for student government and other school positions require absolute transparency on where candidates affiliate themselves, and minimize the power that these organizations feel they can hold overall. A simple email in the middle of the quarter is not going to stop so much potential damage from being done. The UCR administration needs to step up and speak up now, before someone gets seriously hurt.