Dr. Baum Dispels Rumors About Students United In Faith

Erika Riley, Managing Editor

On October 6th, Fox News published an article about Ward Melville’s administration canceling the Students United in Faith club, a religious after-school group. The article was fairly harsh, accusing the administration of being “bigots” and saying the sole purpose of canceling the club was marginalizing the members based on their faith. While Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich stated that the only reason the club was canceled was due to the fact that all clubs need twenty members to run, and the Christian club did not meet this requirement, Fox went on to say that it seems that the school wants to make the students feel bad about their faith, and that they must let the club run as long as two kids are interested.

This is not the way that things work at Ward Melville High School, however. Dr. Baum explained that there is a committee that reviews all co-curricular clubs including those from previous years as well as new club proposals. The committee checks to see how many kids are participating.  Because there are so many clubs, the funding for extracurriculars is thinly spread.  Funding is only provided for those clubs that have 20 or more students who regularly attend. Clubs have sign-in sheets from every meeting that they hold on record so that the committee can see what their attendance was each week. Baum says that looking at SUIF’s records, only eight to twelve students were coming to the meetings every week.

Baum said, “If money wasn’t an object, we would let every club run. … We simply don’t have the money to support every group that wants to run at Ward Melville.”

Students United in Faith isn’t the only club that was cut from Ward Melville this year. Other cuts made include the frisbee club, Zumba club, Friendship Circle, Model Congress, Lift Up Long Island, and martial arts club, which are all not running this year.  Dr. Baum also points out that there was a Bible club that ran for a few years, but its numbers also dwindled down to about six students. The committee had to make the decision to cut that as well, along with these other clubs that were simply not attracting enough students.

By choosing clubs that draw a lot of students’ interests, Ward Melville can keep things fresh and service the greatest number of students.

All in all, Baum says that there’s nothing personal about the decision. The co-curricular funding needed to be distributed responsibly, and this responsibility requires cutting some clubs from co-curricular funding.