ACRA amends Summer Welcome bylaws

The new rule requires more Summer Welcome participation.
Veritas Co-Director Kermit Summerall talks to fellow Association of Campus Religious Advisors members during their monthly meeting Wednesday in Memorial Union. During the meeting, ACRA members addressed their bylaws and Summer Welcome procedures.

Members of the Association of Campus Religious Advisors met Wednesday to amend bylaws regarding the representation of campus religious organizations at Summer Welcome, approving the amendments by a 9-4 vote.

Voting was also held to elect new officials for the 2010 to 2011 school year.

The Rev. Mike Will, ACRA president, began the meeting by outlining the bylaws as they now stand and describing the proposed amendments for the bylaws.

ACRA bylaws require for a campus religious organization to be considered an active member of ACRA, it must provide a representative staff member to attend at least one Summer Welcome session and staff the ACRA information table. In addition, the organization must work collectively with other ACRA-affiliated organizations and not have an individual table aside from the ACRA table.

"If we wanted to get our own tables, there would be no way for that to happen," Will said. "There is not enough physical space in Bengal Lair, and we have the ability as an organization to unite under the umbrella of religious organizations. We're here to support each other, not police each other."

Catholic Student Association representative JoAnn Jorgovan voiced similar concerns regarding table space during Summer Welcome sessions.

"I feel as though it would be greedy to try to take more space and limit the access to a variety of smaller organizations," Jorgovan said. "One or two groups within ACRA can staff their own table, but not all of us, and that's not fair."

Amendments to the bylaws keep the Summer Welcome stipulation intact but require ACRA organizations attend at least three Summer Welcome sessions rather than one. Some members of ACRA raised arguments questioning the new stipulation and bylaw amendments.

"It doesn't balance out right," Reformed University Fellowship member Ross Dixon said. "We as established, denominational religious organizations have a clear advantage over smaller, non-denominational religions."

In response to objections regarding the ability of some organizations to wield more influencing power, Will proposed an extension to the amendments that advises larger organizations within ACRA to staff more than three Summer Welcome sessions. Doing so would compensate for smaller organizations, which might not have the capability to staff three Summer Welcome sessions.

With the changes to the amendments intact, ACRA members approved the bylaw changes with a 9-4 vote. Additional discussions were held regarding the training of Summer Welcome leaders to become more familiar with ACRA and its 17 representative organizations.

"I don't mind changing the bylaws, but that doesn't mean we're going to change what goes on during the summer," Multicultural Center Assistant Director Pablo Mendoza said. "We can promote ACRA more by educating Summer Welcome leaders than we can by changing our tabling policies, since Summer Welcome leaders make the biggest impact in the end."

Additionally, ACRA members scheduled a May 12 training session in which organizations within ACRA will train other ACRA organization representatives on the details and missions of their organizations.

Afterward, elections were held for four different executive board slots within ACRA because the terms of officials will expire in May 2010. ACRA members voted to fill the slots of president, treasurer, secretary and membership chairperson, positions for which individual ACRA members announced their candidacy or were nominated by a different member.

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