Femfessionals fights for club approval

Aubrey Zych, Co-News & Features Editor

The female professional organization, aptly named, Femfessionals, currently encourages women across more than 50 cities and college campuses throughout the U.S. … but not at Le Moyne.

According to their website, Femfessionals aims to connect professional women together and create a global city that captures the worldwide network, while also creating individual communities within cities around the world supported through events. Femfessionals describe themselves as “a savvy businesswoman characterized as positive, open-minded, driven, professional, ambitious, and desirous of forming strong strategic connections with similar minded professional women to benefit each other professionally and their community. She is quite remarkable!”

Junior Janelle Taylor came up with the idea to create a collegiate chapter of Femfessionals at Le Moyne after hearing about the success her friend at Ithaca College had with the organization.

From there, she had to apply and complete two phone interviews with representatives from the organization, and was then qualified to be a president of the collegiate chapter at Le Moyne.

According to Taylor, the club would work as a support group for women entering the real world workforce that has been long dominated by men.

“The club [would] have professional local women come and speak to the members about their own personal success stories, and [would] give us their best advice on how to make it in the real world, and be successful and happy with your occupation,” Taylor said. “We would also have resume building and cover letter seminars.”

And, as soon as the word got around campus about Femfessionals, girls were lining up to join.

“I have had a ton of girls tell me how great of an idea this is and how they would love to join,” Taylor said. “Finding 15 girls to sign a sheet (for the Student Government Association’s consideration) saying they were interested was a piece of cake. It didn’t even take me a full 24 hours.”

Taylor also added that if she advertised the group, she would expect about 30 students at the first meeting alone.

However, despite Taylor’s successes and many other students’ excitement for the club, Femfessionals didn’t get far with the Student Government Association [SGA] and Organizational Finance Review Committee [OFRC].

According to Taylor, Femfessionals was denied approval for only appealing to women.

“They [SGA and OFRC] told me that I was being discriminatory against men and had to make the proper changes to my constitution so it was more appealing for men,” Taylor said. “I also had to add a paragraph to the constitution about how LMC Femfessionals will follow Le Moyne’s Jesuit mission.”

“I thought the request for changes to the constitution were definitely fair because all clubs need to follow Le Moyne’s Jesuit mission, and no club should discriminate against one group,” Taylor said. “I already had  a no-discrimination clause in my constitution so the only revision I made was adding a paragraph regarding the Jesuit mission. I met with a member of OFRC to discuss further how I thought their claims were unfair, and he told me that although he sees where I am coming from, LMC Femfessionals simply wasn’t appealing to men so they will not be approving my club. I suggested changing the name (they had said that even the name makes it unappealing to men) but the answer remained the same.”

Taylor says she believes Femfessionals hasn’t gotten a fair shot, and would like to see a reconsideration.

“The fact that they have a problem approving a club that is more geared towards women interests is shocking and disappointing,” Taylor said. “If a guy wanted to join, I would never turn him away! I made that point very clear but it didn’t matter to them. I’ll just add also that it was three men making this decision… interesting, huh?”

Taylor expressed her frustration towards SGA and OFRC’s decision on Twitter, saying “Still not over the fact that Le Moyne didn’t approve my club for being “discriminatory against men” biggest joke I’ve ever heard in my life.” Other Le Moyne students responded to her expressing their support for her idea. Maggie Reagan, a junior, tweeted to Taylor, “Janelle, I love this idea!! I would love to be in a club like this!” Junior Kelly Falconer also tweeted Taylor, saying “I support your club girl! I think it’s an awesome idea.”

Taylor also pointed out that Le Moyne already has clubs that don’t necessarily appeal to men, but they were approved.

“What about HerCampus Le Moyne?” Taylor asked. “That’s not necessarily “appealing” to men, yet it got approved. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

For the time being, Femfessionals has still been denied approval for status as a club at Le Moyne, and will therefore not receive funding from the school.

But Taylor says her fight for Femfessionals is not over. She will continue to work towards getting the club approved through gaining support from the organization and students across campus.

“I have always been one to stand up for what I believe in,” she said. “And you better bet that I am not done fighting this one yet.”