DACA disbanded

After its long-standing classification as a student group, the former Disability Advocacy Cultural Association has moved out of its office in Smith Memorial Student Union due to lack of members.

After its long-standing classification as a student group, the former Disability Advocacy Cultural Association has moved out of its office in Smith Memorial Student Union due to lack of members.

The group, which promoted advocacy and provided support for students with disabilities, moved out on April 15 after the remaining group members were informed of its ineligibility to continue operating as a Student Fee Committee-funded group.

“To be a student group you must meet criteria set by SALP [Student Activities and Leadership Programs] and Campus Recreation,” said SALP Advisor Marie Schramke.

The criteria to operate as a SFC-funded group—which DACA did not fulfill—includes student interest, which correlates to having at least five students involved to start a group and maintain it. In addition, a group must maintain a record of tenure and activity and must have “three students who are committed to engaging in leadership,” Schramke said.

However, Schramke said that she would work with the group’s former members to help it meet the requirements to start back up again.

Waddah Sofan, the former Outreach Coordinator for DACA, said that he was hired into a leadership position for the group, along with other members who had experience running a student group and dealing with matters regarding DACA.

DACA leadership, including Sofan, hired themselves to the position rather than going through a SALP-controlled advisory board. As a result, SALP director Aimee Shattuck decreed the nominations “bogus,” according to Sofan. 

In order to hire legitimate leaders for DACA, a new election advisory board was created. Sofan said he believes this was a contributing factor to the group’s discontinuation. 

“It took three months for SALP to get this committee together,” he said.

Once the three-month hiatus concluded, the SALP E-board elected new leaders for DACA. Sofan said that the new leaders had no previous experience in running a student group and lacked the knowledge to run a group like DACA.

The lack of knowledge on the new leaders’ part caused infringement upon SALP student group policies, according to Sofan. The liaison between DACA and the Disabilities Resource Center was supposed to bring the two entities together in a mutual cooperation of resources and ideas. However, this never happened which contributed to the group’s disbandment, Sofan said.

According to Sofan, other student groups have the ability to choose their own leaders without a SALP election committee.

“I don’t like ambiguity…Some groups get this privilege while others don’t,” he said. “I hope someone will step up and help this group out.”

For more information regarding SALP’s policies, contact Schramke at 503-725-5745 or at [email protected] SALP’s office is located in 119 SMSU.