New Club Policy at Packer
The faculty and the student council have imposed numerous rules that limits club meeting times and leadership, which has caused tension and dramatic feedback.
Starting this fall, Upper Schoolers will be meeting with their clubs far less frequently. This may lead to limited activity that can be done during club time. Previously, any club would be accepted, as long as a teacher agreed to lead the club and watch over it while the members were meeting. The new club policy requires applications to filled out a form to be accepted as a club, and rather than meeting once a week, clubs may only meet once a cycle (seven school days). Furthermore, clubs are no longer allowed to meet during lunch hours, which significantly limits the time slots in which student led clubs can meet. Over the course of the year, club leaders are required to fill out an evaluation that is looked over by our Vice President, Ben Schneier (‘17). The policy was most likely formed to confirm that clubs are meeting and making progress.
The new club policy has had a significant effect on student leadership throughout the community.
“I was supposed to be leading four clubs this year and all, except for Feminist Alliance were cut,” said Maddie Lloyd (‘17) “It was really hard to see my clubs because I care about each one and they allow me to express myself and explore my interests in different ways.”
Two of Maddie’s previously cut clubs have now been reinstated by the Student Council. Since the initial cuts, four clubs have been reinstated included Biology Club, World News Club, Dance Ensemble and STEM Club.
Chandler Dewgard (‘17)mentioned that she feels as if Packer’s reputation is hurt from the new policy as there is only a small committee that chooses which clubs are being accepted
“As a tour guide I was always proud to say that no matter what grade you’re in, Packer allows you to create whatever club you want as long as you have a faculty adviser and it definitely appealed to many people, but now it’s limiting the interests of the students,” said Chandler.
Due to the fact that there are new restrictions being placed on club leadership and acceptance, high schoolers have felt as if they do not have the opportunity to express their interests through clubs.
Last year there were approximately 80 to 90 club, and none of them were denied by the administration. However, this year 79 clubs were proposed, but only 45 clubs were accepted by the student council and administration.
Certainly, multiple students have shown displeasure with the new policies put in place to further manage clubs. Even though the policy may provide more restrictions for leaders of clubs, non-club leaders feel as if there needs to be some changes within the system.
“I would of liked to see the council approach the student body and narrow down the 35/40 clubs they chose based on interest level rather than a certain “definition” of what a club should be. I think the diversity of clubs in the past has really reflected student interest directly from our perspective, yet there is a new system in place and we should respect the efforts of the faculty who created it before completely abandoning something that could be very successful,” said Luisa Berti.
When Packer allowed for any club to meet, many felt as if there were more opinions being expressed and options to chose from.
A few students have expressed disappointment in the new policy, but some faculty and student council members have expressed a perspective which allows for patience in the system.
“I think time will tell. We will have to let it happen, it is like anything new we have to see how it goes. These are things that you have to let run its course and at the end of the year to go back and evaluate how it worked out,” said Rashad Randolph, 11th Grade dean. “Similar to our school schedule, we made some revisions coming into the year. It is in our best interest to do what is best for the students.”
Similar to most new processes, Mr. Randolph is stating that the students and faculty should observe how the process went, as well as the ups and downs, which could lead to revisions in the future years to come. Ben Schneier, mentioned that he was disappointed that many people were upset that clubs were cut. He mentioned that club leaders submitted application forms, and using the information provided, he and the other student council members realized that some of the clubs could pursue their ideas without the official club title. For instance, hacky sack club has become popular amongst the student, but because there were so few slots, the council realized that hacky sack players could go outside and play and not be an official club. Although many students believed that the club restriction was unnecessary, Ben Schneier mentioned that the club limit was put in place based off how many classrooms were available during Advisory and Community Time. Lastly, he mentioned that in the future, the rigorous application will continue, but the system of deciding which clubs are going to be accepted will be more of a democratic process.