Officers from one of UCSB’s swing dance clubs have been accused of excluding dancers from a meeting because of their affiliation with another swing club on campus.
UCSB Jitterbug Club Co-president Andrew Lum claims that Swing and Ballroom Dance Club officers and their adviser, Juanita Hernandez, excluded Jitterbug Club members from an Oct. 14 meeting – a clear violation of its own constitution, which states that anyone may become an associate member and attend the club’s meetings.
Caryn Winslow, Jitterbug Club co-president, said she went to the Oct. 14 SBDC meeting to hand out fliers for the Jitterbug Club and was not allowed into the meeting.
“We’re there for the same reason, to swing dance,” Winslow said. “So we should all be able to get along.”
Jeff Raschiatore, who said he is not a member of either club, said he witnessed several members of the Jitterbug Club being denied entrance to the SBDC meeting on Oct 14. Jitterbug Club members Dave Uejio, Jessica Batin and club officers were excluded from the meeting, he said, and SBDC President Steve Carlan could not give him a clear reason why.
“He was very evasive. He couldn’t pinpoint his reasoning,” Raschiatore said. “They’re very nonresponsive and they want to retain control over the few members they do have. They’re not promoting swing.”
Local resident Araceli Alvarez said she too was excluded and believed it was because she is dating Andrew Lum, Jitterbug Club co-president.
“I thought it was so silly and so ridiculous,” she said.
Lum said the controversy began last spring when members of the Santa Barbara Lindy Exchange, of which he is a member, organized a Lindy Exchange benefit for Derrik Curtis, a local teacher and SBLE member who needed a kidney transplant. SBLE member Nick Garcia said the group got sponsors from the community and went to the SBDC looking for dancers to participate in the event. Garcia said he went to a SBDC meeting last spring to hand out fliers, and Carlan said to him that all fliers had to be approved by the SBDC officers before they could be distributed. Garcia said he left a flier with Carlan but did not hear from him that week and so he returned the following week wearing a T-shirt promoting the event. He said he was not allowed to enter the meeting because of the T-shirt.
A member of SBLE sent a “nasty” letter from his personal account to Carlan concerning SBDC’s refusal to support the event, causing animosity between the two groups, Garcia said. The UCSB Jitterbug Club was established a few weeks after the Lindy Exchange incident.
“Jitterbug Club was established so anyone who wants to swing dance can do so locally for free,” Lum said. “We didn’t have any problems with the [SBDC].”
Lum said he believes SBDC is now excluding all Jitterbug Club officers and anyone affiliated with the club from its meetings.
Anna Hernandez, SBDC secretary, said the club is only excluding three members of the Jitterbug Club, not the entire membership.
“Three people caused us harm last quarter so we asked them to talk to us before we let them into the club,” Hernandez said. “It was three people and now all their friends are involved. … We haven’t even talked to [the Jitterbug Club about this incident] and they’re saying all this stuff. I don’t understand why they’re doing this.”
Carlan said Lum is just trying to create tension between the Jitterbug Club and SBDC.
“[Lum] is a troublemaker,” Carlan said. “We’re not sure what this is all about. There is no problem. This guy is making [the incident] up.”
Carlan said he and Lum had planned a lunch meeting for this weekend to discuss Lum’s complaints.
“We thought we were going to meet and have pizza and take care of it this weekend,” he said.
Lum said he attempted to discuss the situation with Carlan on Monday, but that, after Carlan refused to talk to him, he filed a complaint at the Office of Student Life.