SU unclear on constitutionality of LGBT resolution

February 25th, 2010

Freshman Student Union Senator William Cook compiled a list of constitutional violations the SU committed last week when passing a resolution voicing SU’s support of the inclusion of sexual orientation in JCU’s nondiscrimination policy.

Cook said the resolution, which was submitted at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, violated a bylaw of the constitution that requires bills to be submitted before noon on the Monday before the meeting.

Cook also pointed out that Student Union did not follow protocol when motioning to vote on the resolution.

“This was so rushed into being voted on that we bypassed our constitution,” said freshman Senator Greg Petsche during Tuesday’s SU meeting. “We can’t just speed through the process because we think it [the resolution] is more important than something else.”

Cook’s comments about the constitutionality of the resolution sparked a debate among senators that lasted nearly an hour.

Some senators and students in attendance voiced concern that the scrutiny over the resolution stemmed from personal bias about the controversial issue.

“I’m interested in why this is the only piece of legislation taken into account,” said Sophomore Senator Sean Cahill.

Junior Alix Audi was in attendance and asked senators whether the debate was about the constitutionality of the resolution or the controversial nature of it.

An article of the Student Union constitution states that legislative violations of the constitution should be sent before the Student Union Hearing Board for consideration and to be reviewed for legitimacy, which could take a few weeks.

“Going through the process only gives the bill legitimacy,” said Vice President for Student Organization Chelsey Neuhaus.

Sophomore Senator Pete Hayden wrote the resolution, which was sponsored by junior Senator Juanita Padilla and sophomore Senator Meghan Everett.

“Sometimes justice comes before the process,” said Hayden.

Many LGBT members and allies attended the meeting and voiced concern that the bill might not be validated or passed again in time for their presentation to the Board of Directors’ Student Affairs Committee and Academic Affairs Committee on March 9.

Student Union voted to resend the resolution, which would void the original passage of the resolution and open it for a new vote, but the vote did not receive the necessary two-thirds support.

Student Union President Amanda Papa said she will meet with the vice president of judicial affairs to discuss how SU will proceed.

“None of us [the current SU members] have seen this happen. We’re getting together to discuss where to go from here,” said Papa.