A meeting held on Baylor University Campus, September 21, 2011, has been at the center of some controversial debate on whether it’s appropriate for Baylor to allow certain Speakers to violate policy, while other Speakers must adhere strictly to policy.
Daniel Cervera, member of the Student Senate and Chapter President of the Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas, attended the above mentioned meeting, addressing Hispanic Civil Rights.
Being Hispanic and an Activist, Cervera felt it would be interesting to hear who Baylor had invited to speak to students on campus. What he found was the beginnings of an organized movement to spur DREAM Act promotion and activism.
He witnessed the Dean of Baylor’s Student Development participate in an event, where a 3rd year Baylor Law student/ Undocumented immigrant promoted favorable depictions of civil unrest given in said panelist’s remarks including “civil disobedience, …sit-ins, block traffic, and go into senators offices and refuse to leave, and then they’ll get arrested. And all that serves to drum up attention, and keep the spotlight longer.”
Cervera sat in the meeting and made note of everything being said.
He discussed the meeting with friends, collecting their thoughts, determining whether it was appropriate for Baylor to have sponsored an event where panelists were obviously promoting partisanship, blaming Republicans for the failure of the DREAM Act and mentioning acts of protest as “good things” to do.
They decided to do something about it and authored a bill, laying out Baylor’s policy and how it was violated. The bill was designed not to limit Free Speech, but to cause Baylor to enforce its policy consistently or amend it to allow a wider range of topic and dialogue to be spoken at Baylor sponsored events.
Plain and simple…Either adhere to policy, or make an amendment.
But it wasn’t that simple for many Senators in the room last night. They wanted to know the motive of the bill. They asked, “So, how many people complained about this event?” questioning if it was written by a politically motivated individual, or as a result of student complaints. They came after him as if it was a crime to suggest the University enforce its policy consistently.
These opposing Senators were concerned FREE SPEECH was being attacked, when in reality, Baylor students do not have the luxury of Free Speech. They have agreed to policies and procedures of the private school they have chosen to attend, and this private university’s policy is to not invite the type of speaker that the Multicultural Department sponsored.
They questioned, debated and gave statements for and against the bill for an hour and a half. At one time, a Student Senator stepped in and attempted to “gut” the bill of any reference to the actual incident of the night of Sept. 21st , but was unsuccessful after being “called out” by an observer who witnessed him stating his malicious intent in an earlier conversation.
Since everyone’s opposition was based on the “language” used to describe the “Whereas” clauses (The description of the incident, citations of infractions and policy statements) he felt the amended bill would be acceptable, since it merely was a suggestion for Baylor to address the issue of policy enforcement fairness.
But Cervera would not accept the amended bill. He felt it reduced the nature of its intent and provided no reference for future Senators to understand the scope and reasoning behind it. He, along with others felt it was more appropriate for the bill to include the language describing the incident and moved to have it voted for as submitted.
It was voted down, 25-16.
I commend Daniel and his group of Conservative activists who saw something take place and tried to do something to make it right. They stood for integrity, and defended their position. Unfortunately, the Student Senate does not feel it necessary to adhere to policy. What does that say about Baylor? What does it say about the students at Baylor? I always thought the university was the example of Conservatism. Based on what I witnessed last night, I would say those days are long gone.
To the 16 Senators who supported this bill…Thank you for your courage to do the right thing.