Inclusivity in Big 12 expansion resolution passed

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Big 12 Conference university presidents will soon receive a resolution from the Kansas State Student Governing Association.

Senators passed “Inclusivity in Big 12 Conference Expansion” in a 38-18 vote, or 68 percent.

“SGA believes that current and future members of the Big 12 should align with the inclusive policies and values on sexual and gender identity held by nine of the Big 12 member institutions,” the resolution states.

It also cites the NCAA constitution, which includes a policy against sexual orientation discrimination.

The resolution originally called on the Big 12 to not accept Brigham Young University’s bid to join the conference because of a student Honor Code considered discriminatory toward LGBT students.

After it was introduced at last week’s meeting, the resolution was amended to remove all references to BYU. Instead, it states that K-State’s SGA does not support any candidate for membership that does not have inclusive values and policies.

“The thought process behind leaving BYU … out was that we didn’t want to just specifically target just one institution,” Trent McGee, senator and graduate student in counseling and student development, said.

Instead of singling out BYU, the resolution applies to all potential Big 12 expansion candidates, McGee said.

“We do not want any school, not just BYU, any school that does not stand beside our LGBT students on this campus to be a part and associate with Kansas State and the Big 12 Conference,” McGee said.

He said K-State should not associate itself with universities that do not share the same values.

“As Kansas State, and a community here and as members of the Big 12, we have a responsibility to associate ourselves with schools that align with our values regarding inclusivity,” McGee said.

There was an attempt to amend the resolution to condemn BYU, but it failed overwhelmingly on a voice vote.

“We are not standing up in front of you today telling you that we are promoting that BYU or Baylor change their policy,” McGee said. “Because, in my personal opinion, unfortunately, the law protects them as Title IX-exempt schools.”

McGee said BYU’s religious liberty does not preclude SGA’s freedom of speech and association.

“While they have the right to put this in their policies, we have the right to stand up in front of them and say, ‘We do not want to associate with people like that,'” McGee said.

Samuel Davis, senator and sophomore in animal sciences and industry, spoke against the resolution.

“I don’t think it’s our place to judge another religious institution on what they can believe and can’t believe,” Davis said. “That is in the Constitution … by passing this resolution, we’ll be crossing a line, saying that we don’t support your religious belief. I don’t think that’s our place at all.”

While the resolution does not specifically mention BYU, Davis said “it’s making it pretty clear” that K-State’s SGA seeks to exclude BYU from the conference.

Kylie Andres, senator and senior in communication studies, said it was not SGA’s place to pass the resolution.

“We don’t go to their school; we didn’t grow up in their religion,” Andres said.

Other action

Five student groups received funding from SGA. The Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects received $1,000; the Modern Languages Graduate Student Association $1,000; Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma $5,750; the Nepalese Student Organization $1,294; and the Institute of Managerial Accounting $300.

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Jason Tidd
Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.