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International Socialist Organization and Student Events and Oganizations Committee Clash of Flyer Posting Rules

Judicial Branch of the USG holding a closed meeting with the ISO.



The Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) charged the UMass Boston chapter of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) with violation of university posting policy, as well as mismanagement of funds. As a result of these infractions, the SEOC, an arm of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), voted Oct. 21 to freeze the ISO’s funds for the rest of the semester. The decision was overturned Dec. 5, 2012

According the SEOC the ISO’s funds were frozen because the group used money allocated for an event that was canceled to print flyers for a separate event without seeking approval from the SEOC.

After making their decision on Oct. 21, SEOC granted the ISO a meeting on Nov. 14 to discuss the charges against them.

In “UMass Stifles Free Speech,” an article posted on SocialistWorker.org, the ISO described the meeting: “They rushed us out of the room after the meeting was abruptly ended before we were allowed to fully address the allegations against us, and then came to a quick and unanimous decision to freeze our funds without any deliberation.”

The ISO made an appeal to the Judicial Branch of the USG on the grounds that the Nov. 14 meeting was conducted improperly. The Judicial Branch decided that the SEOC had not followed proper procedure and that the issue had to be re-addresed by SEOC.

The ISO’s article asserts, “The funding system demands a student club plan an entire semester’s schedule to exact details, even before the semester starts.”

The statement is inaccurate. The SEOC has five budget cycles per academic year, spaced so clubs submit requests between one and two months before an event. For example, a club planning an event for February or March has until Jan. 11 to submit a request.

Some members of the SEOC and ISO agree that the university’s flyer posting policy is overly restrictive. The SEOC is planning to review the policy next semester. The ISO article states that the posting policy only “allows for 55 flyers” to be posted for a given event, but the policy actually refers to the number of flyers that will be printed for free. Any more than that requires that the club request increased funding.

Keegan O’Brien, a member of the ISO, claimed that the SEOC’s enforcement of the posting policy is “silly because it is not what students care about. Students are far more concerned with rising fees—health care costs are increasing, class sizes are increasing, parking fees.”

Special Assistant to the USG president, Gabrielle Lee, maintained that, while the USG has the authority to enforce posting policy, it does not make enforcement a priority. She also reported that regulations concerning where groups can place flyers are made and largely governed by the University, not the USG.

Rules regarding the allocation of funds to groups are entirely legislated and enforced by the USG, although they are submitted to the UMass Board of Trustees for approval.

It was decided in the Dec. 5 meeting that the ISO funds will be un-frozen under the condition that the ISO host at least one more event before the end of the semester. The SEOC also ruled that the ISO may only use half of the funds currently in their account on the event. They must report the details of the event, including how much money they spent and on what items to the USG during the first general assembly of the spring semester.