Editorial: Tensions loom over upcoming SGA election

SGA Fight Night

The Issue: Tensions ran high on the night of Tuesday, March 27 in the Student Government Association senate chambers when Senator Dallas McKinney cited his belief in the Bible as to why he voted not to fund stoles for the Lavender Recognition Ceremony: an event that supports LGBTQ graduates. Several of the verses he referenced stated those who are “wicked” deserved death. This is just one of many issues SGA has experienced this academic year where the current president, Andi Dahmer, has already announced she does not plan on seeking reelection at the conclusion of this semester.

Our Stance: The issue is not that McKinney shared his faith, but rather he used his personal beliefs to dehumanize an entire group of people who already experience discrimination on a regular basis. Given the toxic environment SGA finds itself in, a major election could either turn the tides toward peace, or further the current divide.

SGA has experienced far more inner conflict this year than it has in recent history. According to an article recently published in the College Heights Herald, the current members of SGA have experienced “longer debates,” “more proposed constitutional amendments,” “‘controversial’ resolutions” and an “emergency judicial council meeting” which had not finished before former Public Relations Committee Chair Will Hurst walked out. Not exactly signs of a well-oiled machine.

Of course every organization has to deal with conflict every now and then. However, according to current Dahmer, debates have begun hitting people on a more personal level. In a recent interview with the Herald, Dahmer stated “People do a lot to not only attack other people’s viewpoints, but issue personal attacks against individuals, and that was never part of the culture in SGA previously.”

This all comes at a very critical time as Dahmer has already announced she will not run for reelection, creating a vacuum for a new leader to take her place. This individual would be given a chance to begin making peace between the different factions of the senate, or perhaps continue to fuel the fire of anger and distrust.

Conner Hounshell, who Dahmer has already publicly endorsed, and Kenan Mujkanovic, who finished as runner-up to Dahmer in the most recent presidential election, have already expressed interest in filling the vacuum created by Dahmer’s absence.  

Whoever it is that ends up winning the next election, he or she needs to prioritize prohibiting attacks against minority groups, starting within SGA. This incident this past month was not an issue of McKinney sharing his faith, but it was the fact that he used snippets from his personal beliefs, seemingly out of context, to dehumanize an entire group of people who already experience discrimination on a regular basis. Even if it’s against someone who doesn’t necessarily experience discrimination regularly, spouting off verses that intend to demonize that person is wrong and only serves the purpose of furthering the current divide in SGA.

If you’re going to refer to an entire group of people as “wicked” and claim they deserve death and use that as your reasoning for not providing $250 to allow students to be proud of who they are and the work they’ve done to get here, then don’t sign up for a leadership position where you work to enhance opportunities for all students. Ask any student and they’ll tell you they just want a safe environment where they can work hard to create a better future for themselves.

This upcoming SGA election could hold great influence over whether this environment will be available to students from all walks of life.