Photo by Shamir Malik / News Reporter
Notice: At the time of publishing, the Silhouette did not receive a response from the former MAC CSSA President. On March 5th, the former MAC CSSA President declined to take interview on the basis of not being able to represent MAC CSSA at the moment.
On Feb. 3, 2020, the deratified McMaster University’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association was asked to leave the McMaster University Student Centre after they held an unauthorized tabling event to distribute hygiene products, such as disposable masks and hand sanitizer, to students.
MAC CSSA lost official MSU club status after being deratified by the Student Representative Assembly on Sept. 22, 2019 for violating section 5.1.3 of the Clubs Operating Policy by endangering student safety.
According to MUSC Director Lori Diamond, there are two types of tables available for booking in MUSC: club tables and vendor tables. Club tables are available to all MSU-recognized clubs, faculty societies and teams, McMaster departments and MSU departments, and are located near Starbucks and Union Market. Vendor tables are available to businesses looking to sell products and services to students and staff, and are located in the MUSC Marketplace.
“We have two programs. We have the club tables which are available to MSU-recognized clubs [and] the vendor tables which are available to registered businesses,” stated Diamond.
At approximately 2:00 p.m., MAC CSSA occupied an empty vendor table to hand out homemade hygiene gift bags to students on campus. The bags contained a variety of products, including disposable sanitary masks, hand sanitizer, and other cleaners.
Diamond states that MAC CSSA is not authorized to book either club or vendor tables in MUSC.
“I looked back to [Feb. 3], and we don’t have [MAC CSSA] in our system as able to book. And that day, they hadn’t booked that table, they just found out an available table and set up at it,” said Diamond.
Diamond explains that MAC CSSA was asked to leave at approximately 3:00 p.m., after she was informed that a potentially unauthorized group was having a tabling event in MUSC. She adds that MAC CSSA was not removed for distributing gift bags, but because the group was not authorized to book a table in MUSC.
“I didn’t really look [at the table]. There was a banner up and they had little gift bags. My concern was that they were not authorized to be [in MUSC] regardless of who they were,” added Diamond.
While many students picked up a gift bag, others were concerned as to how MAC CSSA was allowed to have a tabling event at all as the club had been deratified for violating section 5.1.3 of the Clubs Operating Policy by endangering student safety.
Students also raised concerns that MAC CSSA’s unauthorized tabling event may encourage other non MSU-recognized organizations, such as the Dominion Society, to do the same. The Dominion Society was deratified by the SRA on Aug.13, 2019 for failing to disclose ties to the MacDonald cultural and historical society, an organization whose members had allegedly expressed white supremacist beliefs.
The Silhouette sent an email to the former MAC CSSA President but did not receive a response before this article was published.
According to Diamond, club and vendor tables are checked often by regularly to ensure that only authorized groups and organizations are present in MUSC.
“Our staff does go down regularly and checks the club tables to see that the people who are supposed to be at the tables and people who aren’t supposed to be at the tables are not. That happens several times a day,” confirmed Diamond.
Diamond adds that the MUSC office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. if students wish to discuss additional concerns relating to student safety in MUSC.
“We’re quite responsive with shutting it down if that’s what we need to do, reporting to Clubs Administrator if that’s what we need to do, and reporting to the university if it’s warranted,” said Diamond.