Letter to the Editor

Appears in today's issue of The Eagle. Hyperlinks are my addition.

A&M Student Senate bill would exclude some Aggies

Here we are again. In 2011, the Texas A&M Student Senate passed a bill urging the creation of a "traditional family values center" in opposition to the GLBT Resource Center, stipulating that student fees would not be raised to compensate, implying funding cuts for the Center. The bill was vetoed by the student body president, but not before the campus and community were consumed by frequently vitriolic debate.

Now, the Senate is considering S.B. 65-70: The GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill. It proposes that students who, for religious reasons, object to funding the GLBT Resource Center with their student fees can opt out of their share of the Center's funding.

Let's be clear: This is not about money. The amount per student can be measured in cents. This is about allowing some students specifically and publicly to express their disapproval of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

If the Student Senate were truly concerned with right of conscience, this bill would have broader terms. Perhaps vegetarian students could object to their fees purchasing meat for the dining halls. Atheist students might rather their fees didn't fund religious groups.

But Aggies are a family. Each student's fees pay into an array of services they might personally never use, but all are essential to some part of the population. By singling out the GLBT Resource Center, the Senate is giving tacit approval to students who essentially are saying they would rather not share a campus with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

This is important to our community image because A&M routinely ranks as the least GLBT-friendly campus in the U.S. The Aggie spirit is not one of exclusion or division, of giving some students a voice to make their fellow Aggies feel less-than.

For more about the bill and ways to support the campus GLBT community, visit bit.ly/GLBTOptOut.

Board of Directors
Pride Community Center