With 13 votes in favor and five votes abstained, Pre-Law Club was recognized as an official organization by Student Government Association (SGA) at the April 18 SGA meeting.
Casey Delury, who presented the proposal for the club, explained that the organization would be another avenue for students interested in law.
“The pre-law adviser, Lisa Woods, and I felt that there wasn't really a club where pre-law students or political science students could go besides Mock Trial. Mock Trial is time-consuming, and it's awesome, but they focus mostly on trials,” said Delury.
According to their Facebook page, Elmhurst College Mock Trial is a student group that meets several times a week and focuses on “trial advocacy, public speaking and competitive debate.”
Delury also explained that the club would be open to campus, not just pre-law students.
“You can learn laws of society, learn your rights; there's so many things you can do with it, which is nice because it's not super specific to ‘we are just practicing law’,” she said. “If you don't want to be a lawyer and just want to know your rights, you can come here, and if you’re not interested in trial at all, we do discussions and go to law school tours as well.”
SGA senator for Student Affairs Daniela Barca inquired how Pre-Law Club would be different from the resources the Center of Professional Excellence (CPE) provides for pre-law students.
“I feel like it's more of being closer as a group versus individually going out and seeking those opportunities,” replied Delury.
However, Delury’s comparison of Pre-Law Club with Mock Trial remained a point of contention for some SGA members.
In the closed SGA discussion of the proposal, parliamentarian Alex Schultz, who is also a Mock Trial member, expressed concern about the group not collaborating with other resources on campus.
“I'm worried about the lack of knowledge of resources that are right here. The way Mock Trial has been explained, there's no knowledge of what Mock Trial is [and] how you get everything she talked about,” said Schultz, in reference to similar resources Mock Trial provides.
“If we are going to start this club, it's like I want to work with EC Justice, CPE, and Mock Trial so that we can all combine and do that stuff,” she added.
Senator for Diversity and Inclusion Natalie Barnes, who previously served as Mock Trial president, expressed similar concerns.
“I don’t see the difference between pre-law in CPE, Mock Trial, and EC Justice, which also advocates rights if they are all going to do the same thing,” she said.
Aron Callard, SGA senator for Clubs and Organizations, agreed with Schultz about collaboration.
“It's great to create your own, but you need to be able to pull from the resources around you, and if you’re not open to that, that's a very toxic environment,” he said.
While SGA vice president Laura Rusk agreed that Pre-Law Club could improve their relationship with Mock Trial, she felt the senators got lost on the purpose of the group.