A new amendment to the Student Government Association constitution will allow organizations with restrictive memberships to file for SGA recognition and funding as long as they maintain the college’s mission of Inclusive Excellence.
SGA recognized Flawless Brown, an art collective for women of color, last fall but did not grant the group funding, said Gabriela Kula, SGA executive vice president. She said the constitution restricted the Organization Recognition and Review Board from funding the organization because Flawless Brown is exclusive to women of color.
“The previous rule was put in place to create an inclusive space on campus but is no longer functioning to help our students,” Kula said. “It is hurting them, so that is why we wanted to create this change.”
Arianna Conte, class of 2018 senator and ORRB member, said ORRB wanted to recognize Flawless Brown with funding, but couldn’t because of the constitution.
“As an organization, we had to abide by our constitution at the time and wait until constitution review,” Conte said. “It was something that we really struggled with because that’s an organization that deserved funding.”
Emily Solomon, SGA executive president, said while the organization’s membership rules are technically exclusionary, its mission promotes inclusion.
Kula said ORRB recognized Flawless Brown because of the work it does and the art it creates for the Emerson community through different mediums like theater and magazines.
Flawless Brown declined to comment.
This amendment only affects Flawless Brown, as it is the only SGA recognized organization that has restricted membership. Kula said the group can decide if it wants funding next semester.
Solomon said she knows of some groups that are not SGA recognized that this amendment can later affect, like an a cappella group that’s made of students of color called SkinTones. She also said there was potential of another collective for men of color.
“We wanted to make sure that organizations like that in the future aren’t similarly restricted,” Solomon said.
Kula said she is happy that the students voted to pass these changes to the constitution after SGA members proposed to have it on the ballot.
“It was something that as soon as we were done with ORRB last year that I knew I wanted to make this change for our school,” Kula said. “I think it’ll really benefit organizations currently or in the future, and I look forward to the organizations that stem out now that we have the space for them.”