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Members discuss GSA resolution

Michaels, Amanda | Thursday, March 25, 2004

The student government term may be winding down towards the April 1st transition, but the Student Senate is showing no indication of it, as was witnessed by Wednesday’s one hour and fifteen-minute meeting that dealt with, among other issues, a resolution concerning Senate support of the Gay/Straight Alliance. Senior Joe Dickmann took the open podium representing the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), an organization representing students of all sexual orientations that was denied club status under the name of United in Diversity by the Office of Student Activities on March 4th. Dickmann presented an open letter addressed to the administration and members of the Office of Student Activities and endorsed by the Senate Committees on Diversity Affairs and Gender Issues that detailed concerns about the status denial and its implications.Dickmann said the only support structures the University provides for homosexual students are the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs, Campus Ministry and the counseling center, and he said that these were not able to suit the needs of the student population.”There is no point at which [the three support structures] can say ‘your friends are here to help you’,” said Dickmann. “We need a way for students to get more involved, because the Standing Committee only allows for six students, none of which are straight. This is where the GSA comes in.”The letter elaborates on Dickmann’s statement.”The letter of denial reasoned that a student-run club is unnecessary due to the presence of University support-structures … Underlying this argument is the disturbing premise that University organizations rightfully supersede student ones in terms of supporting students. This premise shows an inherent lack of trust in student abilities and a blindness to students’ own yearnings to deal with these issues as a community,” reads the letter, obtained by The Observer at the meeting. Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni questioned whether the senators should sign the letter without first discussing the issue with their dorm constituencies.”Events have happened since January [when Dickmann first addressed the Senate], and I have a very strong feeling about having my dorm’s backing before I sign something specific on paper,” Bongiovanni said. The Senate moved to table the resolution until next Wednesday’s meeting in a vote of 14 for tabling, seven against and one abstaining.

In other Senate news:u The Senate passed a resolution expanding the Pharos Student Printing Account System to the printers on the first floor of the Hesburgh Library that do not currently charge students for their use. The reasoning behind the change is that toner takes up 80 percent of the library’s budget, and many students abuse the privilege when printing is not charged to their account, said O’Neill senator David Osburn.