Senate called upon to sign letter criticizing gender-inclusive bathroom decision
Ongoing controversy from elections resurfaced at Wednesday’s ASUO Senate meeting. A group that identified itself as “Concerned Student Leaders” presented a letter intended for the Office of Affirmative Action to Senate, protesting Constitution Court Decision 16. The decision pertained to lack of gender-inclusive bathrooms for on-campus events.
On April 16 the ASUO Constitution Court responded to a motion for clarification by gender and diversity advocate, Elle Mallon. The court said that Article 2.4 should not be interpreted to mean that incidental-fee funded events can’t host events in facilities that do not have gender-inclusive bathrooms. According to the the decision, “Such an interpretation would prohibit incidental fee-funded organizations from hosting events in a sizable amount of the facilities currently already available to them.”
Article 2.4 of the ASUO Constitution reads that “access to activities supported in whole or in part through mandatory student incidental fees shall not be denied for reasons of sex, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, handicap, political view, national origin or any other extraneous considerations.”
On Wednesday, Mallon, one of the “Concerned Student Leaders,” stated that the Constitution Court had ruled that, “Trans students may be de-facto excluded from events because it is too much hardship to schedule an event or meeting in one of the 39+ buildings on campus with gender-inclusive bathrooms.”
The group asked senators and other student leaders in the room to co-sign a letter which requested the director and Title IX officer in the Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity, Penelope Daugherty, investigate the decision and advise them in how to respond to the ruling.
The letter also asked, “If it is necessary that we pursue disciplinary action against the justices that created and enacted this discriminatory policy to protect ourselves from the legal liability of CC 16.”
Wednesday evening was also the first opportunity at a meeting for over-realized fund applicants to present before the whole of Senate. Treasurer Will Iversen discussed the progress of the over-realized allocation and reminded senators that May 20 is the meeting when senate will pass its recommendation on how to spend the funds.
The recommendation currently includes $40,000 to the Health Center to start providing free HIV and STI testing for students, a program that was funded by over-realized in the past but ran out of money in the past year. Other projects in the recommendation include putting money toward hosting a trans-related conference and providing resources to Women in Graduate Sciences.
The Senate also heard seven special requests, all of which were passed with no debate.
Senate meetings are 7 p.m. in the EMU Walnut Room. For more information about the ASUO, visit its website.
Note: A previous version of this article stated that the court said that Title IX should not be interpreted to mean that incidental-fee funded events can’t host events in facilities that do not have gender-inclusive bathrooms. The court was in fact referring to Article 2.4, not Title IX.
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