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Students question club equality

Tuesday, February 5, 2008  
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By Aaron Askew

There is a growing frustration among students on campus who feel equal opportunity is fading away. This frustration seems to be most potent in certain social service clubs and almost non-existent in others.

This has led to the conclusion that certain clubs on campus are possibly being given more privileges than others. There are fingers being pointed in many different directions, but many students claim that two particular clubs have nothing to complain about.

The director and assistant director of Earn Your Wings 2007 were from one particular male and female club. The position of freshmen links, has 9 out of 10 males from one club and the majority of the 10 females from one club.

When viewing a list of SGA officers, it is easy to see that 17 of the 20 offices, this is excluding outreach, dorm reps and freshmen, are from one male club and one female club. Five out of six people who were up for homecoming king and queen this past fall were also from these two clubs.

Many students are asking why people from certain clubs seem to be taking over the school. Brett Worsham, vice-president of Kappa Sigma Tau, feels some clubs are being unfairly favored.

"I think that there seems to be a propensity of people in Chi that get to be in SGA or student related activities. It almost seems like the administration lets them have things like that and doesn't consider anyone else. I think Freshman Links is an example. I don't know that I ever have personally not been chosen for things because of my club but I know of friends who feel that way," Worsham said.

Tiffany Stafford, president of Iota Kappa Phi, is also frustrated that people seem to be looked more highly upon if they are in a certain club.

"I think that people sometimes put people on a pedestal based on what club they are in and not what kind of person they are. There have been times when I felt that more qualified people have been overlooked because their status on campus isn't as high as others," Stafford said.

Kelly Dunagan, chaplain of Delta Gamma Sigma, said he thinks it is possible that club has an influence on people earning positions on campus.

"I think some things do depend on popularity. If you're in a social service club then people from your club will vote for you and people who don't like your club probably won't vote for you," Dunagan said.

Jenny Gray, president of Gamma Rho, said she doesn't think that being in a certain club can guarantee you anything but does hope that positions on campus can start being represented by various clubs.

"I think the school should be more conscious of giving people in other clubs opportunities," Gray said.

Although Worsham expresses his frustration that the right people may not be getting an equal opportunity, he is also aggravated by those who want a change but don't do anything to achieve it.

"It's almost like OC is playing a popularity game and I don't think that it is very representative of the school when only two clubs get positions. I think that it shouldn't be the same type of people but needs to be diverse," Worsham said. "It does annoy me though that a lot of people don't try for positions because they don't think they can get it but then complain about who does get it."

Ryan Smith, a member of Chi Lambda Phi, serves as executive vice-president of SGA and was also a director at this past year's Earn Your Wings.

He refutes any speculation that he was chosen based on his affiliation with his club.

"I don't think I was chosen for any position I've held just because of what club I'm in. I've also never had the mind set that I am going to run for a position because I'm in this particular club." Smith said.

He does think it is possible that some people might base some decisions on people's clubs.

"I'm sure that happens sometimes and that people are given positions based on prejudice and sometimes people are given positions possibly based on what club they're in. I hate prejudice and I understand that it goes on and I'm sorry that it does," Smith said.

Many people have labeled last year's Earn Your Wings as rigged and have also claimed that few of the people chosen for assistant director deserved their job and feel that others would have done better. As director, Smith was one of the people who helped pick these positions. In response to any accusations that the Assistant Directors or other positions at Earn Your Wings were based off of club or friendship, Smith says that's not the case.

"People we were close to ended up getting the positions but it was based on our knowledge of the job that we knew they would do and not by club or just because they were our friends," Smith said.

Many students feel there are other students who are just as qualified to be in roles such as Freshmen Link or SGA, but were not given that position due to their club. Others feel that they way people are treated is affected by the club of their choice.

Gray thinks it's unfortunate that some people join a club because they think they can gain popularity.

"Sometimes people are told that only certain clubs are good and that's not true. You should be in a club because it fits you and not because you think you won't be anyone unless you're in a certain club," Gray said. "It should be about what people you like to be around. People think that some clubs are the only ones to be in and that's just not true. All clubs need good leaders and sometimes people could have a bigger role in another club."

Dunagan said he isn't bothered by people viewing him as a certain type of person based on what club he's in.

"I'd say people may base things off of club but that doesn't bring me down by any means. There are stereotypes and some are true and some are false. If someone wants to take the time to get to know me for who I am then they can and if they don't want to then that's fine too," Dunagan said.

Upperclassmen are also getting a sense that freshmen may be being shown an ugly side of club, which is supposed to be an activity a student does and not who they are.

Amanda Edwards, Vice-President of Theta Theta Theta, said that freshmen may be receiving the wrong message about clubs.

"I think that once you're not a freshmen and are actually in a club it gets better. You realize that the reputations of clubs don't always fit the people. Freshmen get the wrong idea based off of what they are told by other people," Edwards said.

Smith agrees but does see some improvement.

"I think it's getting better because the rule of freshmen not getting to rush. There isn't a rivalry so you can make friendships with anyone and I still have those friendships from freshman year whether they are in my club or not," Smith said.

However some people claim that is becoming less possible with rivalries between the clubs growing more and more.

Students are also left wondering whether their experience at Oklahoma Christian can be made less fulfilling because they happen to be in one club and not another.

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