The Swinburne Student Amenities Association (SSAA) has denied club registration to a men-exclusive group known as MENtality.
In an email to founder and admin Charbel Alloui the SSAA outlined it’s reasons for denying the registration, citing that the group had missed the submission deadline for registration documentation, and also that the groups club proposal breaches SSAA Club Eligibility by being exclusive to men only.
The SSAA has more than 100 groups currently registered, many of which are targeted specifically at particular races and genders. All clubs currently registered with the SSAA are open for all current Swinburne University students to join. You can read the club eligibility guidelines here.
The denial has prompted outrage on the MENtality Facebook group, with members calling for the dissolution of female centric clubs under the SSAA, and speculating that the denial of registration was due to them being men.
Some MENtality members have maintained that the lateness of the submission and the exclusivity clause MENtality has are the primary reasons for the denial, calling the comments of other users unnecessary rhetoric.
The ‘About’ section for the group outlines it’s mission statement as “we are a group that is passionate about providing an opportunity for members to communicate problems and or concerns, in attempt to improve quality of life and promote mental health and wellbeing.”
The group was founded after arguments began under a post in Swinburne’s StalkerSpace when a user questioned why female students get a women’s space, something that is handled by the SSU as part of their Women’s Department portfolio.
We have included a slideshow of some of the comments left on that original StalkerSpace post below. Some comments were left by current members of MENtality, edited to maintain anonymity.
In a comment on the current MENtality Facebook page, Mr Alloui said he intended to appeal to the Vice Chancellor about the SSAA’s decision.
Swinburne Student Union President Caitlin Bruty said she didn’t have a problem with a club geared towards fighting mental illness in men, but that the conversations surrounding the group were problematic.
“A lot of students (predominantly female identifying) have been bullied and disrespected. I don’t believe that the group needs a physical space on campus, and if there were an available space on campus there are marginalised groups who could surely find it more beneficial” she told SWINE.
President Bruty said she would be meeting with Swinburne staff and members of MENtality this coming Wednesday to talk about the issue.
By Nicholas Kennedy