Dude, Where Was My Senator During the LGBT Vote?

If you’ve read the print story about yesterday’s LGBT vote, you know that many senators didn’t vote because they weren’t present at the time.

So what were they doing during one of the most controversial/important votes this year? Student Senate normally reserves the Hughes-Trigg Forum from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and tells its members to keep that time open, just in case the meeting runs long (like it did yesterday).

I asked via email, and here are their responses. Will update as I get them.

Sen. Aden Abiye (Dedman I): “I have class at 6:30 so I had to leave early. Usually Senate doesn’t take that long so I was okay until this time.”

Sen. Yasmin Aceval (Cox): “I had a doctors appointment.”

Sen. Alejandra Aguirre (Hispanic-Americana): “I was sick and I thought I’d make it to senate but I couldn’t go.”

Sen. Justin Amos (Meadows):

Sen. Michael Boulos (Law):

Sen. Wes Davidson (Cox): “I left early because I had a night class that began at 6:30. That being said, I wish I could have been there to cast my vote.”

Sen. Alex Ehmke (Dedman II):

“I had to leave promptly at 5:15 because of family things that had to occur this evening. I actually sent an email to Katie, Austin, and Jake to find out if it would be possible to record my vote early so that I could vote before leaving – an unprecedented stretch, but I wanted to try. Our constitution doesn’t allow votes by proxy, so that was really my only option.

When it was made clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to submit an early vote (I hadn’t had high hopes in the first place), I decided that the best thing to do would be to try to expedite officer reports and committee reports so that we could get to the legislation fast enough. Little did I know that we would have a packed chamber for speaker’s podium and that we would also have several huge controversies over budgets. So, my backup plan of rushing to the LGBTQ legislation was foiled as well. In the end, I’m glad that I at least participated in Harvey’s photo campaign so that my fellow senators knew where I stood on the issue, but I still really wanted to be able to cast my vote and participate in the debate.

What I would have wanted to emphasize in debate is that senators ought not vote against an LGBTQ because they oppose interest seats. Most of the arguments that I read in your live blog were against interest seats as a whole, but this concern should have been divorced from the matter at hand. The LGBTQ legislation did not compel the question “do you support interest seats?” Rather, it ought to have brought about the question, “Given that interest seats already exist, do you believe that the LGBTQ community ought to qualify?” Many senators muddled these questions, and it’s a shame.”

Sen. Rachel Fox (Dedman II): “I was absent for no other reason then panicking to get a research paper finished. I know I coauthored the legislation, which makes the move all the more desperate!  It’s why I’m awake still this morning.”

Sen. Hiba Ibad (Dedman I): “I had a family emergency that came up and had to leave immediately. I was very disappointed that I could not vote for the LGBT even though I was there for the entire discussion/debate of the important issue. I still would have voted Nay though because of the very fact that we do not have the statistics to prove the need or legitimacy of an LGBT senator in Student Senate. There are many minorities on campus that we do have records on who still do not have a senator, such as an athletics senator. Before we can seriously consider an LGBT senator we need to know how many people will be voting for said position.

I do not think that the LGBT Senator position being denied is any indication of any biased-ness toward the position. I think our campus is very open and very welcoming to any group of minorities. A lot of people from the Dedman’s school that I represent have shown their support for such a senator, but the problem is they would not be qualified (be in that minority) to vote for one. I think we need more data before we can concretely establish an LGBT Senator.”

Sen. Jamison Joiner (Cox): “I had a doctor’s appointment. You can check with Secretary Perkins to verify that.”

Sen. Sam Mansfield (Dedman II):

Sen. Katie O’Neil (Lyle):

Sen. Scott Rogers (Law):

Sen. Jason Sharp (Law):

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About Meredith Shamburger

Meredith is a journalist working for the Longview News-Journal in Longview, Texas.
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One Response to Dude, Where Was My Senator During the LGBT Vote?

  1. Pingback: Important Correction to Note | Hilltop Politics

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