Samford University’s student Senate passed a resolution to amend the school’s nondiscrimination policy. These changes were intended to renounce discrimination and praise diversity on campus.
The changes made to Samford’s Nondiscriminatory Policy included protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. This resolution passed on Tuesday, Feb. 27.
According to the public senate minutes on Samford’s SGA website, Junior Class President Lucy Kate Green introduced the resolution. Green said she understood that many students get tense with the topic of LGTBQ students, but she also hoped that people get equally tense with the idea of discrimination.
“Discrimination is when you treat someone differently because of a characteristic,” Sen. John Collier said in an interview on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Vice President of Senate James Hornsby was reported saying in the senate minutes that this is a resolution. A resolution is a suggestion to the administration about what the student body wants. This means that it would not change Samford’s Code of Laws.
For two weeks, Senate was divided and debated back and forth on passing this resolution. Many said this resolution would parallel what Christ would want. Others said this type of language was manipulative in swaying votes.
According to the minutes, Sen. Mimi Carstens said that she has a “gay friend who lives in Vail.” For the past few weeks, up until the Feb. 27 Senate meeting, Carstens said that people had been writing derogatory language about her friend on a whiteboard outside her friend’s room.
Carstens’ said that her friend approached residence life about the issue and was told not to have a whiteboard outside her dorm since, in their views, she was essentially inviting people to harass.
Carstens said her friend felt very alone and not supported by campus. This resolution would not allow something like this to happen in the future.
When asked how this resolution would affect campus life, Sours said this would be a step toward making it known that Samford will not tolerate mistreatment of other people.
“The resolution is going to modernize the discriminatory statement,” Sen. Jay North said. “In black and white, we are not going to discriminate.”
When asked about whether passing this resolution would violate any of Samford’s values, Sours said he would ask those who ask these sorts of questions to cite their sources.
Sours said often those who are opposed to this resolution make the argument that acknowledging the LGBTQ community and vowing to renounce discrimination against this community would not parallel the Christian values of Samford University. However, he has not heard one constituent back up this argument with valid evidence of the morals Samford upholds.
Freshman Class Senator Hope Dawson said that, as a university, Samford does not vouch for discrimination. However, there needs to be a line drawn to how much Samford should tolerate.
Sours said that this resolution would only be adopted and enacted by the administration to save face in the public eye.
“It won’t be adopted out of the goodness of their hearts,” Sours said. “But I would like students to consider the humanity of other students over politics. I would like students to consider the extent to which their politics determine their religious values.”
Green said that right now sexual orientation and gender identity were two issues too greatly undermined on campus. Because these two characteristics were seen as companion issues, Green explained that the student body should tackle discrimination one step at a time in order to be effective.
Part of the reason that this resolution took two weeks to pass was due to people voicing concerns about Samford’s donors and potential lawsuits.
When asked about how the donors would react to this resolution, North, in his interview, said that the donors donate because they want to support the school. If they want to support the school and its students, then they should support what students support.
“If we know that students on this campus are treated less than other people, we should look into what we stand for,” North said. “The resolution is genuinely in the concern of the student body.”
Anna Grace Moore, News Writer