Monday, October 31, 2005

Saints preserve us 

A student government initiative to support a resolution opposing a definition-of-marriage amendment was voted down by student government after substantial opposition arose in hearings.

The resolution was voted down at Thursday's meeting, with six senators
voting yes, seven voting no and seven abstaining from the vote.

The resolution, Campus Affairs 001, states that the SCSU Student Government Association is a representative body for all students.

This is the statement that caused many to question the passing of the resolution.

Justin Braulick and Nicole Severson were two students that voiced their opinions during open gallery, concerned that if the resolution were to pass, not all students on campus may agree.

"There's no way that you can be representing all students," Severson said. "There's quite a number of students on campus who would like to see marriage defined as one woman and one man."

Severson, along with criminal justice professor Dick Andzenge, wrote an alternative resolution.

She distributed the proposal to members of student government as a means of showing her disapproval of CA 001.

The alternative resolution states: "We oppose the leaders of the association endorsing or opposing political legislative action that does not have any direct bearing on our position in society as students."

I think that makes the point quite well: What is a student government elected to do? Its main function has been to deliberate what is to be done with student activity fees, a function it has had some trouble with in the past. As I asked last spring, cui custodiet custodiens? But the issue here isn't even about money and thus even more divorced from the delegated powers of the student body.

The student government contemplated holding back this resolution pending a referendum. That strikes me as wrong, as it does for student writer Chris Wolf:
I understand that the intention of the resolution is to fight oppression, but taking a stand on such a sensitive issue is bound to oppress somebody.
That statement stands regardless of a referendum, and regardless of the issue at hand. Congratulations to the seven senators with the courage to stand up for the right of conscience for their fellow students.