Usually, all you have to do to get a campus group started at any university is fill out some paperwork — identify your officers, get a faculty sponsor, and agree to some basic rules (i.e. you promise not be be discriminatory, you won’t be a hate group, etc). Things like that.
You don’t need to be “recognized” by the campus in order to meet, but recognition opens the door to several perks — like free meeting space, the opportunity to apply for event funding, the chance to advertise on campus, and booth space during new student days.
At Northeastern University in Boston, an atheist group is having no luck, even after repeated attempts.
The reason they were rejected the first time (in Fall, 2008) was because of their proposed group name: Student Atheists at Northeastern (SANE). The Student Affairs Board found the implication offensive.
So the group’s former president, Andrew Groleau, tried again in Fall of 2009, this time using the name NU Free Thought Society.
That didn’t work, either, but for a different reason.
“I submitted all the proper paper work over a year ago with an amended constitution indicating our name change. After many attempts to even begin dialogue with Student Activities, we have gotten no where,” said Groleau.
The Student Activities Center has not received any paperwork from the NU Free Thought Society, Nyul said.
This year, the students are just moving forward without “official” status:
“It has gotten to a ridiculous point,” said Nick Loek, current President of the NU Free Thought Society. “I hate to say it, but we are giving up. We can function without their recognition.”
“We intend to continue being a part of campus with events like ‘Ask an Atheist Night’ and attend events with prominent speakers, however, these expenses are being covered from out of our pockets,” Loek said.
The Secular Student Alliance will try to get in touch with Nick to see how we can help.
Hopefully, this is just a miscommunication that can be remedied without much further drama.
(Thanks to Joe for the link!)