Bill causes controversy

Student Senate defers deciding vote Thursday

By Brittney Coulter and Daniel Houston
Reporter and Staff Writer

Student Senate held a meeting Thursday night in 403 Cashion Academic Center in which members voted to postpone voting on a bill that has caused controversy since its introduced.

The bill, authored by Wichita Falls senior Daniel Cervera, called for Baylor’s department of multicultural affairs and Dr. Elizabeth Palacios, dean for student development, to “cease promotion and/or sponsorship of any events or guest speakers which advocate violent rebellion and illegal resistance to the laws of the state and nation or the rules of the University,” according to a copy of the bill furnished by Cervera.

Cervera said he wrote the bill in response to a Sept. 21 event he attended called the “Hispanic Civil Rights Forum.” The forum was part of the university’s Hispanic Heritage Month 2011, sponsored by the department of multicultural affairs.

Although the subject material discussed in the forum is so far unconfirmed by the event’s organizers, attached to Cervera’s bill was a document with quotes from the event he compiled from his notes that prompted him to write the bill.

Cervera reintroduced the bill Thursday night to the senators, and proposed the idea of postponing the vote on whether to pass the bill until it could be revised to better reflect the issue that it addresses, and be made into a more general statement.

“I think it’s really important that whatever bill we actually put forward before the senate’s time is worthy of our consideration,” Cervera said. “The principles [are] worth defending, however we wanted to make it in such a way that it’s not unnecessarily inflammatory or accusatory toward specific offices.”

Members of the senate were highly divided on the issue and were invited to present their arguments for or against postponing a vote on the bill. Atlanta, Ga. senior Alex Gray was in favor of postponing the vote.

“If [Cervera] is going to make a good faith effort to improve the bill to take into consideration the problems that the senate has with it, then I don’t think it hurts to let it sit a week,” Gray said.

Katy senior Shaun Wysong was in favor of bringing the bill to a vote without any further revision. He said he felt as though the bill was an attempt to use the senate as a platform to advance a personal agenda.

“This is not addressing student concerns, this is addressing concerns of a student organization that Daniel Cervera is a part of,” Wysong said. “I would like to vote this bill down as soon as possible.”

Cervera defended the bill, saying it had nothing to do with his personal affiliations and requested that the senate focus on the problem presented in the bill.

“I feel like to reference my associations is kind of a personal attack on my character, which has completely nothing to do with the issue at hand,” Cervera said.

The senate ultimately voted to postpone the bill by a simple majority. A revised version of the bill will be reintroduced to the senate during their next general meeting on Thursday, Nov. 10.