Story by Wesley McIntyre / Contributing Writer
The MTSU Student Government Association passed four new pieces of legislation Thursday regarding diversity training, gender neutral restrooms and requirements for future SGA representatives.
SGA Resolution 7-17-S, sponsored by Senator Bréyhana Johnson, would create mandatory diversity training for campus organizations and customs orientations. The diversity training programs would be designed by the center for Intercultural & Diversity Affairs and the African American Studies department.
“I know that we can’t change everyone,” Johnson reasoned. “But I feel like having this resolution in place will help.”
The resolution was met with strong support from many members of the senate.
SGA Senator April Carroll praised the resolution.
“I really like this resolution. I completely support it and I think it’s really good, especially for incoming freshman,” she said.
Senator Jordan Malpass also supported the resolution.
“You’ve made fantastic changes from last week and I support this bill,” he said.
Senator Travis Lytle also voiced his support of the bill.
The Resolution passed with a vote of 33-4.
SGA Resolution 8-17-S, sponsored by Senator Jordan Malpass, prompted the most debating of the night. It would have the university rename all “family” restrooms as “gender neutral” restrooms.
The largest barrier in getting this resolution passed was proving the resolution’s worthiness.
Senator Hivner was the first to make a remark, saying that although he supported the bill, he felt as though it was less accommodating.
“Elderly, small children, people of rural backgrounds might find this confusing and ambiguous. I think it treats less people that way,” Hivner explained. “To the transgender community, I think that it is rhetorical already.”
After a clarification from Senator Malpass on what the sign said, Hivner said that the change “seems more accommodating.”
While it first seemed as though the resolution would then pass through, Senator Haddock objected, and the vote to end the debate did not pass.
Haddock explained her objection, saying, “I think we’d be best to leave it as is and have both so you’re accommodating both (families and the transgender community) and not taking away. I don’t know that families used to seeing family restrooms would know that (transgender restrooms) is where they’re supposed to go.”
After Haddock’s objection, the debate flared up, and the senators began to explain how their personal experiences shaped their opinion on the legislation.
Haddock referenced her family, who often visits her on campus and would be confused seeing the new signs.
Malpass responded by referencing his friends who he represents in SGA and how they wander on campus searching for restrooms they can use.
Haddock, Hivner and Malpass continued to debate for a few minutes before the debate eased up, and the rest of the comments were quickly and easily clarified.
The vote to end the debate passed with 33 votes against three, and the resolution passed with a 24-11 vote.
Senator Malpass was relieved that the resolution was passed.
“I feel like I heard the concerns of the people I represent,” Malpass said. “It’s going to help MTSU as a whole, and it’s going to keep MTSU growing and being the best university in Tennessee.”
Senator Monica Haun brought up SGA Bill 5-17-S meant to prorate hour requirements for SGA Senators. The bill proposed that if a senator is confirmed or approved six weeks into the semester, they only need to accumulate half of the required hours.
There was no debate and the bill was quickly passed with a vote of 37-2.
April Carroll’s SGA Bill 6-17-S, sought to clarify the qualifications of members of SGA by suggesting that SGA senators and executive members should be held to higher academic standards and be regarded as ethical members of the MT Community.
The bill would disallow any senator or executive board member from holding office if they have an academic probation, disciplinary probation or trespass warning from campus police or Judicial Affairs within the last 12 months.
There was minimal discussion and the bill was passed with a vote of 33-3.
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