By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
Since the passing of the “No Crying on Sundays” resolution in the Student Senate, a petition has been released to the student body, and many student organizations have endorsed the bill.
The bill passed 30-15 last Thursday. The student senators who opposed the bill support the LGBTQ community, however, they voted against the bill because they did not think it was the best route to accomplish the goal of chartering LGBTQ student organizations, New Braunfels junior and Legislative Secretary Tate Korpi said.
“I think that this is an issue that does belong in Senate because like our mission statement says, ‘Student Senate represents the voices and opinions of the student body,’ and if this is an issue that clearly students want discussed, that’s definitely our role,” Korpi said. “The way that this was handled was just not the right way to do anything. You’re not going to sway the board by sending up a bill that demands them to change. You’re going to sway the board by actually opening up and talking to them and just continuing to push for civil discourse.”
Jones, Okla. senior Jackson McNeece, one of the senators who voted against the bill, said in Senatorial Dissenting Opinions the chartering of Gamma Alpha Upsilon would offer a precedent that would allow “insidious groups” to think it would be easy to pass a bill in the Senate to become chartered.
“The authors of this bill additionally pursued the argument of discrimination. This was repugnant,” McNeece said. “There are those who have come before us in society and fought discrimination to allow their posterity to enjoy freedoms they were not afforded; they faced discrimination. The term ‘discrimination’ does not nor cannot legally apply in this instance on account of Baylor, as a private university, retaining full prerogative to accept and preclude certain student groups.”
All 15 of the student senators were asked to comment, but they either declined or were unable to be reached.
Denton senior Kate Gillman is member of Gamma Alpha Upsilon. She is engaged to a woman and identifies as queer. She said when she first got engaged, she immediately became afraid that after she got married, she might be removed from Baylor.
“I don’t think anyone should have to worry about getting kicked out of school, basically to marry the person they love,” Gillman said. “Even if it’s not a real, possible thing that could happen, just to have that thought in my head is unfair.”
Waco senior Isaac Arterburn, attendee of Gamma Alpha Upsilon meetings, said he is tired of the university lumping everyone together and expecting the student body to be a monolith.
“There just needs to be evidence that this university treats their students with enough respect to say, ‘personal opinions aside, we have LGBT students, and we have students of varying races and religion that need to be included here,’” Arterburn said.
The idea that being a member of the LGBTQ community is strictly secular restricts people from salvation, but Gamma Alpha Upsilon has brought a community that can discuss their Christian beliefs comfortably, Gillman said.
“It’s just a safe space,” Gillman said. “Like, no one is trying to push any kind of agenda. It’s just the place that the community can get together and seek support and guidance and whatever they need.”
The support from the community for LGBTQ groups to be able to officially organize on campus is growing. The Black Student Coalition, The Latinx Coalition, The Coalition of Asian Students and Baylor NAACP have all released statements endorsing the bill and supporting Gamma Alpha Upsilon.
The support from student groups, the student body in a petition and the alumni petition from 2019 with over 3,000 signatures are banding together to show Baylor administration the support is on and off campus. There were no petitions or official statements released from opposing groups at the time of publication.
Chair of the Board of Regents Mark Rountree said via email that the board is open to feedback from the Baylor family, but their decisions are based off of Baylor’s mission and their commitment to God’s word.
“The Board appreciates the role of the Student Senate in representing Baylor’s students,” Rountree said. “While the Student Senate’s resolution is non-binding, the Regents and President Livingstone made a commitment dating back to the Spring of 2019 to listen and explore ways in which we can demonstrate support for students who identify as LGBTQ+. This commitment holds true today.”