SGA to fund local inaugural pride festival

Nicole Ziege

The Student Government Association approved funding for the Inaugural Bowling Green Pride Festival after some debate during its meeting on Tuesday.

Bill 9-17-F was brought before the Senate and proposed funding $250 from the Senate Discretionary fund for the Bowling Green Pride Festival on Oct. 21, hosted by the Bowling Green Fairness group.

The Executive Discretionary fund will also match another $250 for a total of $500 to be given to the pride festival. SGA will be named a “Green Sponsor,” according to the bill, in which SGA’s name and logo will appear on festival t-shirts and the festival’s website. SGA will also have a tabling space at the festival.

Senator Lucas Knight and Chief of Staff Conner Hounshell, co-authors of the bill, spoke in favor of the bill.

“It’s not really a controversial bill,” Hounshell said. “We’re here to represent all students.”

In their separate speeches in favor of the bill, the co-authors each said Bowling Green has been “terrible” at promoting equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Knight said Bowling Green’s city commissioners failure to pass the Fairness Ordinance is an example of the city’s lack of promotion for equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

The Fairness Ordinance would provide legal protection for the LGBTQ community against discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I have supported this concept for the past three years and will continue to do so,” Knight said.

In his speech, Hounshell called the event “a celebration of identity.”

“We will really be improving WKU,” he said.

There was debate over the necessity of SGA to be financially involved in the pride festival. Senator Jordan Tackett called the bill “somewhat controversial” and asked the Senate if the event was worth the Senate’s money.

“Not that I disagree with the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, but are you ready to face the backlash if something does happen at the event?” Tackett said. “[SGA] could face backlash from the WKU community and from Bowling Green alike.”

Director of Public Relations Amy Wyer said events like the Bowling Green Pride Festival are “highly secure.”

Public Relations Committee Chair Will Hurst said LGBTQ rights are “fundamental rights as Americans.”

The bill was approved by a 12-2 vote.

SGA also passed Bill 7-17-F which proposed an amendment to the bylaws of the Student Government Association’s constitution. The bill proposed to strike section 2.4 of the Student Government Association bylaws, which states “…by the other four justices” and replace it with “…by the other six justices.”

Public Relations Committee Chair Will Hurst said it is a “numerical error” and the amendment was “not really a big deal.” Senate unanimously approved the bill.

Next Tuesday, SGA will vote on a bill to approve $1,500 for the Office of Study Abroad for study abroad scholarships.

Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].