E-Board should tread with caution
Poly News, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, November 12, 1997.
When a club approaches the Student Union and applies for recognition, its statement or constitution must be brought in front of the Executive Board for approval. Before the E-Board sees the document, it must be examined by the E-Board’s constitution committee. While looking over the proposed constitution, the committee also gathers information about the club and wathches their activities. If the board approves, the club gains Union recognition.
But what if that club has strong connections with a national organization that may have questionable objectives, like a cult?
According to Ronald N. Loomis, a cult is an organization that uses manipulative methods to pursuade and control its members, exhibits excessive dedication to a particular person, idea, or thing, and is designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders while harming members of the group, their families, and the larger society.
Recently, the Upside Down Bible Talk Club has applied for Union recognition. The issue is, the club is known to be a front for the International Churches of Christ, an organization Loomis alleges is a cult. There is the concern that affiliation with a cult-like organization, like the ICC, may indicate a possible direction for their beliefs. There have been incidents on other campuses involving the ICC that cast doubt on whether or not the ICC should be allowed to gain a foothold on the campus. Some of these incidents include students not attending classes and ignoring all other social activities to devote all of their time to the club.
This club has the same right as any other club to apply for Union recognition, but the affiliation of the club with an alleged cult organization should be seriously examined because of the very nature of a cult organization. A club should not be granted Union recognition if its activities include the willfull manipulation of the minds of its members for the benefit of the club’s leaders. If the Union does not look closely into the actions of this club before realizing its purpose or goals, it would pave the road for other groups like it to apply for recognition.