New club rule unfair and inconvenient

October 15, 2018 — by Muthu Palaniappan

This year, clubs have to follow a new rule: They can run meetings only if all their officers are present. The only exception is if the officer is sick or has an emergency.

Even though officers, as elected officials, should feel obliged to attend club meetings, this new requirement, forcing all club officers to be at meetings, is excessive.

Although officers may not be sick or have emergencies to attend to, there are several other obstacles they could possibly encounter, interfering with the club’s meetings.

For example, if an officer is on a school field trip, which isn’t accounted for in the club handbook’s new rule, the club meeting could not take place, even though all other officers may be at school. Similarly, if one officer needs to make up a test during lunch or talk with a guidance counselor, it would be unfair to the other officers and club members that the meeting be canceled.

For senior club officers, they might have to choose between attending a club meeting or going to an informational college session. Forcing officers to go to every meeting also prevents them from participating in another club that they truly enjoy if the two clubs happen to have overlapping meeting dates.

Moreover, it’s not always necessary for a club to have all of its officers present for a meeting to run smoothly. For example, an absent treasurer wouldn’t be detrimental to a club if the other members weren’t discussing finances during that meeting.

However, it’s still understandable why the rule has been put in place. Often, clubs will have more officers than needed so students can pad their resumes with leadership positions. It is unfair for a student to become a club officer without actually being devoted to the club, so in theory the rule can help prevent excessive numbers of officers in clubs who provide no real contribution.

Even so, the new rule isn’t the right answer. Perhaps having a minimum attendance requirement similar to minimum member turnout at meetings would be a better solution. Even an minor amendment to this rule that could allow an absence to be excused for a wider variety of reasons would be a better resolution to discourage resume-padding.

Unfortunately, the downsides of the new club rule outweigh its benefits. If clubs have to systematically cancel or postpone meetings because a single officer cannot show up for any reason, it will negatively impact other members who will miss out on participating in clubs that they are genuinely interested in.