UNH petition to reconsider sanctions against SCOPE reaches 1,400 signatures
DURHAM - A petition calling on the University of New Hampshire to reconsider sanctions against the Student Committee On Popular Entertainment is gaining momentum and in less than two weeks has garnered more than 1,400 signatures.
In November, all 17 members of SCOPE were notified that their memberships had been revoked as a result of an April theft by a new member while on a SCOPE-sanctioned trip to Portsmouth in April. An advisory board established to oversee the organization determined that all members knew or should have known about the theft and revoked their memberships in the organization.
As a result, SCOPE is currently inactive, and the organization's budget, which is funded by the student activities fee, is being handled by the Student Activities Fee Committee.
Members of the organization feel they, and the organization as a whole, were unfairly judged by the UNH conduct system.
The website standforscope.com details the organization's path through the conduct process, the history of the 40-year-old organization and the reasons supporters think students and others should care about what happened to SCOPE and sign the petition.
A broad swath of SCOPE alumni has also asked the university to reconsider the decision and in an open letter requested a formal review of the sanctions placed on SCOPE and the memberships that were revoked, as well as a formal and public review of the current judicial process in place for all student organizations, so that the process is clear for all students. Ousted SCOPE member Jackie McCarrick said the goal of the petition is to bring current members, former members and administration together toward a more positive solution.
"The whole purpose is to get other students, community members, alumni or anyone who is a supporter of student rights, to give them information about it and gain their support for it," McCarrick said. "We really don't want the issue to be pushed away and not addressed to the level we think it should be."
McCarrick said the structure of the student-run organization is part of what makes it so effective, and leaving leadership out of the restructuring process could compromise the organization and its reputation.
SCOPE is one of the only entirely student-run concert organizations in the country.
"The way we are structured . mirrors exactly how a professional organization would be run. It's what makes us different from other college promoting groups," McCarrick said.
She said the university has said it would like to see the organization continue, but with an entirely different structure.
She said members of the organization never said they did not want to take responsibility for what happened, and said they understand changes need to be made, but she said those changes should be applicable only to what transpired, not the entire structure of the organization.
She said a possible solution is a more involved adviser, who is also a member of the administration.
"I think they are trying to change the structure of the organization because they don't truly understand how it works and why it works the way it does," McCarrick said. "If we had an adviser that came to meetings and saw the work done and why we do things the way we do, they would understand more."
The semester formally ends this weekend, and McCarrick said the petition will remain open at least through then.
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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..