Concerns persisted about the proposed SA Constitution amendment — on the ballot today — at a Pride Network meeting last Friday, but many students present voiced support for the measure to address gendered SA groups.
“I personally feel that I would be voting ‘yes,’ simply because a ‘no’ vote means nothing happens for X amount of years and could simply mean that many groups could go up in the air,” sophomore Miles Perry, president of Pride Network, said at the packed meeting, held in the Douglass Leadership House and attended by students from Greek life, club sports, and SA Government.
The amendment, based off a March recommendation by an SA task force — aligns the SA Constitution and any SA-affiliated organizations with UR’s nondiscrimination policy and establishes a gender-exclusivity waiver process for gendered organizations to keep their groups both gender exclusive and SA affiliated. A ruling by the All-Campus Judicial Council last spring said SA affiliation for those groups — including a cappella groups, club sports teams, and Greek chapters — was unconstitutional.
Students seemed to favor the amendment as a solution that would minimize damage.
“We want to approach this in a way that we make sure we are not pissing off different groups, like frats and sororities, that have gender exclusivity for their own reason that they feel is important of them,” said sophomore Matty Savich, Pride Network’s social chair. “The issue is getting to make these groups view trans people as people and allowing them to join.”
Despite the agreement, several students brought up criticisms of how the amendment developed and expressed worries about the proposed waiver process.
“I think it should be said that no one on the task force identifies as non-binary, and this decision was made and it’s mainly affecting non-binary students,“ junior Andie Burkey said. “There was no representation, and there continues to be no representation.”
In response, SA President Jordan Smith said that two non-binary students had been invited to sit on the task force, one of whom said no, and one of whom stopped coming.
“That was my mistake. I was caught up in the EEOC complaint,” Smith said. “I should have worked harder to make sure we have more representation.”
Junior Camilla Collingsworth, Pride Network’s secretary, questioned how the proposed waiver policy would be executed.
“My main concern is how the waiver is going to be enforced,” Collingsworth said. “There is not really a way to ensure that organizations are not being discriminatory off the books.”
If the amendment passes, SA officials emphasized they’ll look to create educational programs about gender identity.
“As members of SA, we try to provide that source for organizations to educate their members about inclusion,” said Senator Beatriz Gil, a junior who is running unopposed for the SA presidency.
The amendment will appear on the ballot of SA elections, which are open today and tomorrow.
Clarification (4/12/18): Savich recently changed their name to Matty from Maddie. It has been updated to reflect this.
Correction (4/12/18): The original article incorrectly had Camilla Collingsworth’s year as a first-year. Collingsworth is a junior. It has been updated to reflect this.