Senate passes resolution to include gender identity and expression in the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy of the Auburn Constitution
At the SGA Senate meeting Monday, senators voted to pass a resolution to include protection for gender identity and gender expression in the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy of the Auburn Constitution. The resolution was passed by a vote of 21-8.
Discussion included pros and cons of the resolution introduced by Jacob Dean, sophomore in political science and senator from the College of Liberal Arts, and Sam Wilcox, sophomore in history and also from the College of Liberal Arts.
Walter Whatley, senator-at-large and junior in accountancy, opposed the resolution citing his concerns of potential outcomes that could result from the resolution. His reasons included housing and how it affects heterosexual students living with transgendered students.
Lindsay Crocker, Parliamentarian and freshman in College of Science and Math, stated the issue of housing was off topic and discussion needed to be reverted back to the bill. Melanie Smith, vice president of SGA and junior in human development and family studies, stated why housing was off topic saying it was not under SGA jurisdiction.
Dean stated the resolution is not changing anything immediately.
"What it's saying is a statement on the students behalf, recognizing the need to include gender identity and gender expression in the anti-harassment policy," he said.
Other oppositions from senators included concerns that because there wasn't a state law protecting gender identity and expression, what would the impact of a resolution be in the Auburn Constitution.
Once there was a move to vote on the issue, Whatley made a motion for a ballot vote. It was seconded.
Following this motion, there was a motion for a five-minute recess before voting.
After the recess, there was a motion to roll-call vote to determine if the resolution would be voted on by ballot or voice. It was decided there would be no ballot vote.
After the voice vote was not unanimous, there was a role call vote to determine if the resolution would pass.
Chris Horn, sophomore in English and a transgendered student, addressed the senate on the issue, from a student perspective, before the vote urging them to pass the resolution.
"I actually really appreciate them bringing up the issues against it and for it," he said. "It was pretty much how I expected it to go. I really respect that they did bring up the stuff against it."
Senators were not available for comment after the meeting.