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SBP vetoes sex ed bill

The Battalion

Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

Although entrenched in a sea of protests regarding the creation of a resource center in opposition to the GLBT resource center, Texas A&M might see some relief. Student Body President Jacob Robinson vetoed the controversial student senate bill, SB 63-106, the "Sexual Education Equality in Funding Bill" on Tuesday.

"The [proposed] center has no definition. The services that some senators have proposed already exist in student counseling and adults, graduate and office campus student services. I can't, in good conscience, support student fees going to services we already have," Robinson said.

Online petitions, tweets and notes on Facebook have stirred emotions from both sides.

Student senators have not been immune to

the controversy.

"We don't want to slash funding of any organization. We [the Senate] were merely talking about equal spending. I've been accused of homophobia, an accusation I have been unable to defend myself on," said Greg McDuffie, a senior economics major and student senator.

Although she voted for the bill's passage, Speaker of the Senate Hilary Albrecht said Robinson is right to veto the bill.

"Given the dialogue that the bill has produced since its passage, the veto was arguably the right decision to make. I can't say I regret breaking the tie in favor of the bill because it has produced valuable discussion this past week that wouldn't have occurred otherwise," Albrecht said. "On behalf of the Student Senate, I apologize for any ill-will that was perceived and apologize to everyone who was angered or hurt by the legislation."

Other senators have a different perspective.

McDuffie said implementing a resource center focusing on "family and traditional values" is in the best interest of A&M.

"Student fees are not the only source of funding. We, the students, are not financiers. It's very possible to fund a center without raising student fees and without defunding an organization," McDuffie said.

Brian Hutchinson, officer of Aggie Allies and junior economics major, is pleased with

Robinson's decision.

"The student senate is ignorant of the issues facing the GLBT community. The bill presents a false dichotomy of the GLBT

community not being part of the ‘traditional family values' community," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said that members of the gay and lesbian community do have traditional values. The reason gay marriage and adoption are controversial issues is because homosexual couples want to have traditional families.

"Robinson's actions were courageous. He stood up for an inclusive diverse student body. Senators who supported this bill used a thinly disguised attempt to discriminate against a community who already face harsh inequalities," said Brad Dressler, chairman of Aggie Allies.

Despite Albrecht's view that vetoing the bill is the right decision, she said that ideally the SBP would have been proactive in addressing concerns prior to the bill's passage, which she thinks would have mitigated a lot of the miscommunication.

McDuffie said the minority has a stronger voice when it comes to our student body president vetoing bills.

"The voices of the minority are given an unfairly large consideration. The protestors present at the senate meeting don't represent the majority of students on campus," McDuffie said.

Robinson has a history of vetoing bills that have overwhelming support from minority groups, including his veto of a bill that would end in-state tuition waivers from undocumented students.

"It seems the opinions of interest groups are more valuable than those of the student body," McDuffie said. "Our mission is to serve the student body and this bill represents the views of the students at A&M."

 

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