I recently responded to some questions from Greta Moran, a reporter for the Justice, on the chartering of a capella groups. This is something I’ve been working on as chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, and I thought I’d provide my responses below in full for anyone else who might be interested.
Why are there currently no chartered a capella groups?
A capella groups cannot come up for charter under the current Senate bylaws because they are exclusive; that is, they audition for members. A group might be able to come up for individual charter if it provided some way for non-performing members to get involved and actively demonstrated a commitment to that. This is similar to how theater groups are able to use f-board funds because they provide a way for those not in the actual performance to help out in set design, lighting, sound production, etc. Additionally, a capella groups which are gender-specific would have to demonstrate that they do not discriminate based on gender but rather on tonal qualities of voice which are often associated with a specific gender.
Groups which have duality of purpose with other clubs cannot be chartered… Does this apply to a capella groups?
Most a capella groups do not share duality of of purpose, as they deal in different musical genres just as Brandeis has multiple dance groups dealing in different genres of dance. Some, however, such as Starving Artists and Rather Be Giraffes, which are both coed a capella groups with no specific genre of song, might fall under duality of purpose.
Have a capella groups tried to obtain f-board funding in the past?
Near the end of last year, a group coordinating a capella groups, A Capella Etc, came before the Senate for charter. In its previous form, however, it functioned as a middleman which would act as a proxy for a capella groups to seek funds and then apportion them directly to each group. This was probably unconstitutional, and the Senate voted not to charter A Capella Etc at that time.
What is currently being done?
While we were previously considering revising the bylaws to allow direct chartering of performance groups, the Senate Ways and Means Committee, working with Daniel Newman, the “Tuning Note” leader of a A Capella Etc, decided to rework the constitution of A Capella Etc instead and re-appeal for charter. We are currently in the process of doing this. Most likely, A Capella Etc will be a club open to any student like any other which will have hopefully have membership from all a capella groups. It will co-host events with them, and will seek f-board funds for those events as do other clubs.
Who has the final say, the F-Board or the Senate?
The F-board does not have to approve the Senate’s changes, and, under its mandate, should grant funding requests necessary to the purpose of any group chartered by the Senate.
We expect to introduced A Capella Etc’s new constitution for charter sometime before the end of this semester, to allow funding requests for the next.