By John Connolly
The Student Government Association (SGA) senate passed a resolution on Monday, urging the University’s administration to support and recognize an LGBT group as a student organization.
Stephen Morris, a senator from the school of Arts and Science, sponsored the legislation, which passed unanimously. The resolution noted that both the Catholic Church and Pope Francis have said LGBT persons need to be accepted with respect and compassion. It also noted that many in the LGBT community at CUA feel that “discrimination continues to exists, often unwittingly.”
During his presentation, Morris brought up Catholic University’s unique position as one of the few schools in the country that does not have a university-sanctioned LGBT group. The Princeton Review has repeatedly ranked the university as one of the most LGBT-unfriendly universities. Morris also noted that 55 percent of Catholic universities in the U.S. have an LGBT student organization including eight of the 10 largest Catholic colleges.
SGA president Anne St. Amant was optimistic about the resolution’s passage.
“I have every intention to sign the resolution once it is handed to me and I appreciate the amount of research that was put into this resolution” said St. Amant, who will present the resolution to University officials. “[Vice President] Benedek and I have already started to figure out which administrators we need to meet with and what we plan to talk about in these meetings.”
Freshman senator Matt Kearny said that the move was long overdue.
“It’s kind of crazy that this is still an ongoing battle with the school. I think our unanimous vote clearly shows how SGA feels on this issue: it’s a no brainer” said Kearny.
Once St. Amant signs the resolution, it will be presented to various administrators for consideration.
If the University were to follow the requests outlined in the resolution, a group like CUAllies, which is unable to meet on campus and is self-funded, would potentially be recognized as an official organization.
Some students do not think the SGA resolution has much significance when it comes to the Administration’s decisions.
Politics major Cullen Murphy, who says he fully supports LGBT rights, sides with the University’s stance.
“Our school’s administration cannot allow an official LGBT organization to be created here on campus because it does not align with our catholic beliefs. Though I disagree with the church, until it’s doctrine is changed, we have to respect the laws of the governing Vatican” said Murphy.
While some students had mixed emotions on the issue, most on campus seemed happy with the outcome.
Sophomore Rachel Simoneu hoped it would help advance the campus community.
“I feel that LGBT students should be able to organize and meet in a safe and welcoming space with their peers. We need to aim to promote inclusiveness in our community” Simoneu said.
Lea Skokowski, a freshman Nursing major, said every student needs to be treated equally.
“We need to care for all students. Some students may not want to go to the counseling center for a lot of personal reasons and may not want to feel singled out. Students can be very passionate towards their peers because we have that passion and camaraderie. So I think it is important that the school supplement and help a student organization of this nature to support something many students already support.”