The Student Union acted too quickly and under duress in passing Resolution R-1-SP10, a resolution regarding support of LGBT rights.
The resolution that called for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the school’s non-discrimination policy was voted on and passed in the Feb. 16 Student Union meeting. One clause stated that “students have shown their passion to improve the campus climate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) students.” It goes on to explain that class senators represent the entire student constituency and it is their “responsibility to express the concerns of the student body.”
We find this troublesome because we don’t feel the entire student body was aware, well-informed, or able to express its feelings on this matter. Student Union and class senators should have done a better job gathering their respective class’s attitude on this matter before voting. Student Union should have tabled the resolution for at least two weeks to collect a consensus of the entire student body. A meeting should have been publicized and held for interested students to come and express their feelings, much like the open forum after the campus tragedies.
The final vote on the resolution was: 11 in favor, five opposed and four abstentions. At the time of the vote, four senators were absent and the resolution only required a simple majority. It is important to note that three of the four senators absent were seniors who are not required to attend meetings second semester of their senior year. Additionally, members of the LGBT community were present during the vote, which was inappropriate because senators may have been pressured or swayed to vote for the resolution because of the group’s presence.
The Carroll News feels that the Student Union should revote on the resolution. We feel the revote should be by secret ballot and attendance should be mandatory, even for senior senators (unless health is an issue).
Once again The Carroll News commends the students in support of the LGBT inclusion clause on their determination and passion about the issue. However, we question the effectiveness and the necessity of some of the tactics. They have already gotten the attention of a majority of students, faculty and the press. At this point, a more formal approach needs to be taken in hopes of getting the clause passed.
When gathering student quotes for the article titled “Mixed feelings about LGBT methods,” we found that many students expressed concern with the way they were approached to sign the petition. Many were not fully aware of what they were signing, especially in the time between the protest and the release of last week’s issue of The Carroll News. We realize that there is literature available at the tables to educate signers on the issue and that is good, but the education should be given before the person signs.
Another concern has been the campus-wide promotional methods. According to school rules, student organizations must go through the Office of Student Activities to post flyers and advertisements on campus. Because the protesters are not an officially recognized organization, they do not have to go through this process. Flyers have been hung in unapproved areas as well as scrawled across snow mounds. The Carroll News understands the desire to present the messages in this way, however, it is unfair to student organizations who have to go through the official process. There needs to be a more formal push to be sponsored by a department or student group when moving forward in posting media and pressuring the administration.
Fasting in solidarity and standing during Mass isn’t pressuring the administration or the Board to pass the addendum to the policy. The LGBT community and its supporters are also rapidly losing effectiveness due to the length of time between the original sit-in and the Board meeting. After a while the protests becomes irrelevant and easy to tune out, causing it to be ineffective.
In a recent incident, an LGBT supporter approached a tour and began to lecture a prospective student about recent events pertaining to LGBT supporters’ fight for inclusion in the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and their lack of support from the administration. The supporter urged the student not to attend JCU for these very reasons. The Carroll News recognizes that not all protesters support the actions of that particular member, but it is something that needs to be addressed. That particular protester’s actions were uncalled for, disrespectful and offensive. The point of the protest is not to be offensive.
Overall, the LGBT community needs to reconsider their methods of reaching the student body and gaining support from the administration.