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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Rare exception given to club presidents

Drew Calandrella, vice president of Student Affairs. Courtesy of Chico State.

Two students were reinstated to their club presidency despite a California State University policy that restricts students from serving officer positions if they’ve taken too many units.

Presidents and treasurers of campus-recognized clubs must have at least a 2.0 GPA to maintain their position, according to a CSU coded memorandum. They are also required to have taken at least six units but no more than 150 units.

There are at least 15 out of 180 student clubs on campus that have a president or treasurer who do not meet those requirements, said Mary Wallmark, program coordinator at Student Life and Leadership.

Those students will have to find a member to fill their position.

“We are not trying to make life difficult for student clubs and organizations, but we are enforcing the policies that are in place or that have been updated/changed so that all organizations receive fair treatment,” wrote Drew Calandrella, vice president of Student Affairs, in an email to The Orion. “There are no students exempt from the policy and each request for exemption is reviewed on an individual basis.”

Last year, one student requested to be exempt but was not granted it, Calandrella wrote.

This month, two exemptions were granted after evaluating the students’ circumstances.

The two students wrote letters to Calandrella explaining their need for an exemption due to excess units transferring from other schools.

“When I came to Chico State, I had about 190 units and only a few of them counted towards my G.E. and major,” said Jimmy Smith, international relations and history major and president of the Student Veterans Organization.

Smith served in the U.S. Marine Corps and accrued course units there that transferred over to Chico State.

He was granted an exemption on Thursday because of the university’s exceptional rule for military unit transfers, Calandrella said.

If Smith continues to exceed 150 units that count towards his graduation, he cannot become the president nor treasurer of the club.

For Chelsea Cummings, senior biochemistry major and president of Alpha Phi Omega, most of her excess units came from college level courses in high school.

Cummings said she met with Wallmark and Joel Ramirez from Student Life and Leadership to ask for an exemption and was denied. She emailed Calandrella in January and was initially denied as well.

Following the second denial, Cummings wrote to Calandrella in an email saying that she would consult her lawyer if he did not meet with her.

After a brief meeting, she was granted an exemption for the semester on Feb. 14.

Cummings has been president of Alpha Phi Omega since she began her studies at Chico State in the fall 2013 semester.

Following the exemption, she said she’d like to run again next semester.

“We do elections every semester but I was planning on running again as president because I want to make sure this chapter succeeds because we’re brand new,” Cummings said.

Calandrella gave her permission to be president of the club for this semester in order to have the club chartered under her leadership, he said in an email.

Cummings said she doesn’t know if she’ll ask for another exemption next semester but that if she can’t get it, she will have to train someone from the club.

Christine Lee can be reached at [email protected] or @leechris017 on Twitter.

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