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ASA Temporarily Rerecognizes Counterpoint Through March

By Michael E. Rolish


Counterpoint, a joint MIT-Wellesley application, has been granted a period of suspended recognition until April 1. It had been derecognized by the Association of Student Activities on Feb. 12 for failing to meet the 50 percent MIT membership requirement.

During this period, Counterpoint will not have access to its financial account, which is being maintained by the Student Activities Finance Office.

Following the ASA executive board’s decision to derecognize the publication, Counterpoint submitted a written appeal for the ASA’s Feb. 26 meeting.

ASA Treasurer Jason B. Alonso ’04 said that in the appeal, Counterpoint had submitted a list of its members, which included 33 Wellesley members and 40 MIT members. Many of the MIT members were faculty and alumni, not MIT students.

After the latter meeting, ASA President Kathryn M. Walter ’05 sent an e-mail to the Counterpoint officers which said, “On the question of fact that you are in violation of the 5/50 clause, we have found that our original conclusion was correct -- you are in violation.”

The 5/50 clause requires that recognized groups have five MIT students and be composed of at least 50 percent MIT students, according to the ASA Web site. Alonso mentioned that the updated list of Counterpoint members still did not meet this standard.

Recognition gives student groups privileges such as office space and funding.

Changes required for recognition

Walter’s e-mail said that the derecognition was being suspended until April first because the ASA “did not properly notify [Counterpoint] of the derecognition decision.”

Alonso said that he had accidentally told Counterpoint on Feb. 22 that the derecognition would be effective immediately when in fact the ASA notifies student groups of their derecognition 30 days in advance.

However, Walter said that “If not all ASA recognition requirements are met by” June first, Counterpoint will be derecognized.”

Under rules agreed to by the ASA, the Undergraduate Association, and the Graduate Student Council, Counterpoint can appeal to the interim joint appellate board for ASA matters.

In an e-mail statement sent to The Tech, Brian K. Dunagan G, MIT Editor in Chief for Counterpoint, said, “Counterpoint plans to work with the ASA executive board on any issues it still sees and resolve them by the specified date.” Dunagan declined further comment for this article.

Wellesley lacks similar rules

Unlike MIT, Wellesley does not have student makeup requirements for its groups. “There are no rules on our side as far as composition of a student group,” said Lauren Fleischer, a Wellesley senior and chair of the Student Organizations and Funding Committee of Wellesley College Government.

“It is understood that groups like Counterpoint have multiple student members from other colleges, and it is therefore expected that the organization will receive partial funding from the other colleges,” Fleischer said. “Other than that, there are no guidelines or requirements at this time that would cut funding from an organization based on its membership,” she said.

“Our current policy is somewhat vague, but allows the committee to allocate an amount to an organization like Counterpoint based on provided estimates of the funding they will receive from MIT and the overall funding they will need to operate,” she said.