The Flying Spaghetti Monster has another hurdle to tackle in spreading his noodly appendage across the land. University of Calgary third-year chemical engineering student Jeremy Zhao approached the Students' Union clubs committee with a proposal to start a Pastafarian Student Society last week and was denied.
"To them it would be a parody religion, but for us, our god wants it to be a parody," said Zhao. "They questioned our sincerity and we have a problem with that."
Pastafarians are followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which was established in 2005 after Bobby Henderson wrote an open letter to the Kansas School Board. The board decided to teach creationism alongside evolution in public schools and Henderson argued the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should also be included in the curriculum.
SU vice-president operations and finance and clubs committee chair Alex Judd admitted some members of the committee were questioning the legitimacy of the religion, but said the club was ultimately rejected because of a flawed constitution. Judd was the only member on the council who voted to table the issue to give the club time to make changes.
"I think that came to the difference in opinions regarding the sincerity and legitimacy of the club," she said. "I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt."
In the past, clubs with flawed constitutions have been sanctioned if they promised to make proper amendments, but SU events commissioner and clubs committee member Kat Lord claimed there were too many necessary changes for this to be possible.
"Minus all of my own personal interpretations of what that club was there to be doing, there was actual constitutional basis for denying them," she said. "There were more than just a few minor changes that needed to be made. There were quite a few articles in their constitution that needed to be rewritten to fit in the SU guidelines."
Zhao explained that the constitution was mostly taken from already existing Christian and political science clubs, although there were a few key changes including a coin toss to ratify all decisions.
"There were some parts that were just stupid that we added," he confessed. "In the Christian one they said they would 'prayerfully do something' and I said we would 'noodly do something.' "
Members would also participate in talk like a pirate day and collect pasta for the food bank.
Zhao is infamous within the SU for his past antics. In his run for Board of Governors in 2007, he planted friends in the forum audience to ask difficult math questions to the candidates. He also ran as Optimus Prime in the recent byelection. Last year, he proposed Club Soda for students who appreciated ice tea and was also rejected. This bothered Zhao because previous committees have sanctioned clubs for students appreciating sandwiches or coffee.
Zhao became concerned about the complaint process when he was told to approach the clubs committee directly about the matter.
"I don't think that this is a big enough deal that it couldn't be remedied through another meeting with the clubs committee," said Judd, adding that there were other authorities if Zhao wasn't satisfied. "I do believe that the conduct of some of the club committee members was less than satisfactory and I have, as chair of the committee, taken steps to make sure that that conduct is not repeated."