Senate talks hate speech, bylaws
The Student Government Association discussed hate speech on campus and an amendment to the constitution and bylaws at the senate meeting Wednesday at the Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library.
CLASS Senator Yessenia Chavez said she received a complaint from an LGBT advocate about hearing hate speech on campus from a member of the Bulldog Ministries. The ministry is known for their stance against the LGBT community, atheists and abortion.
“Hate speech is very prevalent and when people listen to it they can become victims of it,” Chavez said. “When there is hate speech being said on campus, it hurts me and it hurts my students too.”
Chavez asked the senate if there was anything that could be done to prevent hate speech on campus without violating the freedom of speech.
Sergeant at Arms Henry Velman said there is a difference between free speech and hate speech, but not much can be done unless the student breaks written rules.
“As far as what you can do to stop it, counter protest is the best alternative,” Velman said.
Social Work Senator Josephine Tittsworth said the senate could create a resolution to make a motion against hate speech.
“The best you can do as a senator in the SGA is to draft a resolution saying the student body does not support hate words, hate speech, and then present it to the SGA as a resolution,” Tittsworth said. “A resolution is simply a position of the senate.”
Constitution and bylaws amendment
SGA President Cedric Bandoh’s timeline to bring the constitution and bylaws amendments to the senate by next week was pushed back after a meeting with the task force.
“We saw we needed to take a little more time to make sure we get it right the first time, because what we are doing here is going to totally change the organization,” Bandoh said.
The constitution currently allows for members of the Court of Appeals to also be members of the hearing board, which Bandoh calls a “huge contradiction.”
“You’re going to have the same people who just decided the case also deciding your University board hearing decision,” Bandoh said. “That’s why we need to make a constitutional amendment to remove the court of appeals from that and to have independent students serve on the University hearing board.”
Bandoh said he hopes to have the amendments to the bylaws and code completed and voted on by the end of the summer and implemented in the fall semester.
Senator Tanzeem Chowdhury said a committee meeting will be called to discuss the University’s policy on motorcycle handicap parking. “That’s going to be done hopefully on Monday and brought to the senate floor on Wednesday,” Chowdhury said.