SGA passes resolution for LGBTQ-friendly housing application option

SGA met on March 20 to discuss upcoming events on campus and to finalize bill from the previous meeting. President of SGA Andi Dahmer gave a report at the meeting on current events on campus and upcoming bills to be passed at later meetings.

Nicole Ziege

The Student Government Association passed a resolution to support Housing and Residence Life making the “Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity” question optional and LGBTQ-friendly questions on the housing applications for residence halls.

Senator Noah Moore, who is also a reporter for the College Heights Herald, said that answering a question on the housing application about sexual orientation or gender identity would be optional, according to this resolution, because that answer would already be confidential and is “purely informational.”

Moore said the LGBTQ-friendly question would be mandatory for students to answer when applying for housing, asking if the student applying is comfortable with having a roommate who identifies as LGBTQ.

“The application for housing does not currently ask about sexual orientation or one’s willingness to live with someone who is LGBTQIA+,” according to the resolution, which was co-authored by Moore and Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Mark Clark.

The resolution stated that LGBTQ-accommodating housing encourages the retention of the LGBTQ students. Moore said adding a LGBTQ-friendly question on housing applications would be the same for both honors residence halls and non-honors residence halls.

“This serves as not just a way to help the LGBTQIA+ community, but it serves as a way so that if someone is uncomfortable with having an LGBTQIA+ roommate, they do not have to room with them,” Moore said.

Clark said the LGBTQ-friendly question would help promote safety for those who identify as LGBTQ.

Moore said it would help improve WKU’s standing on the Campus Pride Index, which stands at 2 out of 5.

With a vote of 28-2, the resolution passed.

The senate voted on a bill to amend the SGA Constitution to rename the “English as a Second Language International student senator” position to “international student senator.”

Senator Cassidy Townsend, who co-authored the bill with Chief of Staff Conner Hounshell, said some international students have been confused by the wording of the position because they thought that they needed to be part of the English as a second language program in order to apply for the senator position.

“Since international students do face a unique set of challenges, I think it’s really important that we have someone speaking for that community in this senate and that we encourage international students to run for that kind of role,” Townsend said.

The bill passed unanimously.

The senate voted on a bill by Hunter Smith, which amended the SGA Constitution to add a section to the executive branch of the Constitution “where it will no longer allow a member to hold offices in other branches,” according to the bill.

“The potential for an official to hold both an Executive Branch office and Legislative Branch office would allow that official to have voting rights in both the Senate and the Executive Council,” the bill stated. “This would concentrate too much power in the hands of one person.”

Currently, in the SGA Constitution, if a senator is appointed to the executive board, that senator can continue to do his or her duties as senator and do his or her duties as an executive board member, though normally the person would leave that position and that seat for his or her executive board position, Director of Public Relations Amy Wyer said in a point of clarification during the meeting.

The bill passed unanimously.

The senate unanimously passed two bills to fund SGA scholarships in Bill 26-18-S and to fund the Campus Safety Walk, which will take place on April 23, as stated in Bill 27-18-S.

SGA also fixed the electronic voting system in the senate chambers, which had not been working all year. Prior to today, the Senate voted by individual roll call with a verbal “yes,” “no,” or “abstain.”

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.