The Student Activities Board was militant last fall as it rejected an application for club status from the International Youth and Students for Social Equality — a socialist group on campus with strong opinions against war and government.
In the months following SAB’s refusal to grant IYSSE their desired status during its biannual review of applications for new organizations after deciding it was too similar to other on-campus groups, the club continued to appeal to the university for the decision to be reviewed. In an open letter to SAB, IYSSE described the rejection as an attack on the democratic rights of students.
“The various reasons you have given to justify your rejection of our application for new club status are illegitimate,” IYSSE said in the letter addressed to SAB. “In fact, the ISO [International Socialist Organization] and the Socialist Equality Party, the parent organization of the IYSSE, are completely different tendencies with different histories and opposed positions on fundamental political questions. One could say that the differences between the ISO and the IYSSE are more significant than those that separate the Democratic and Republican parties.”
SAB Development Committee Vice Chair Julie Corbett defended SAB’s decision, saying that IYSSE did not meet each of SAB’s requirements for club status: being unique, providing effective outreach and being sustainable.
“[Due to] the large amount of organizations applying and the financial and physical resources available for All-University clubs, the process is highly selective,” Corbett said. “Twelve percent of the applicants were approved and completed the New Club in Development program to become clubs this semester.”
CAS sophomore Samuel Kim participates in the Reserves Officers Training Corps and said he supports IYSSE. Though the club promotes an anti-war message, he believes the members of the club deserve to express their values.
“In terms of whether they ideologically deserve a space, it’s no question at all; of course they deserve a space. But then I feel like there are institutional barriers that are keeping them from having it, and that’s unfortunate,” Kim said.
Eric London, a writer for the World Socialist Web Site, said he was skeptical of SAB’s claims, as NYU administration and SAB were inconsistent in their communication with IYSSE.
“The administration and the SAB gave us different reasons for rejecting us each time we communicated with them,” London said. “They said they didn’t have any money, which is not true. This is a very wealthy and powerful university.”
Corbett said that though IYSSE was initially rejected, the group is eligible to reapply to be recognized as a club this semester.
“We encourage the IYSSE to use their freedom of speech and continue to express themselves how they wish about the decision,” Corbett said. “However, we will not go back on our decision. The IYSSE is free to apply for the NCD program for this semester, which will close on February 6. We will be reviewing this application, along with every other application that we receive, and consider it with the same reviewing process that we have been using for the past semester.”
Correction: A prior photo and caption of this article did not accurately represent the rally that occurred on Thursday.
Email Deanna Tran at [email protected]