Gay Aggie Group Fighting Bill That Would Let Students "Opt Out" of Funding Them

Categories: Education

The Aggies, humpin' to please.
Those brave, lonesome souls who make up the GLBT Aggies have got another crisis on their hands.

A bill introduced into the student senate would allow Aggies to "opt out" of having their student fees going to support the gay-rights group.

Supporters of the bill say it's based on religious freedom: It calls for "allowing students who object, for religious purposes, to the use of their student fees and tuition to fund this [GLBT] Center to opt out of paying an amount equal to their share of the Center's funding from their fee and tuition bills."

The gay-rights group doesn't see it that way, however. They note that the bill:

claims to promote religious freedom, [but] we cannot ignore that it only allows students with one religious belief to control how their student fees are used: only religious traditions that disapprove of LGBT interests are given a voice. A bill truly dedicated to allowing religious designation of fees would make the opportunity available to students of all faiths toward whatever policy creates a moral conflict of interest for them.

Backers of the opt-out bill said while introducing the bill that as much as $100,000 goes to the GLBT Center, the Battalion reported.

The GLBT Center will be staging a show of support for blocking the bill April 3, with the group urging Aggies of all types to attend.

"As a student body we all contribute funds to various campus resources that we do not all use," said GLBT Aggies president Kimberly J. Villa. "We do this to better the environment in which we all have our academic experiences. It is offensive and unacceptable to mask this discriminatory bill against our community as an issue of religion."

The center has had to fight similar battles since a court ruled in 1985 that Texas A&M had to recognize the group.

Somehow, we're sure this won't be the last one.

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If I want to start a pro-fraking group at A&M   would not  the pro-environmental group, in essence,  be forced to finance it? And visa versa? This is the basic problem with student fees at universities which are collected enmass then spread across the student group spectrum. If  each group was required to be financially self-sustaining, basic Darwinian constructs would determine which ones would survive. Left to their own fund-raising devices, sheer effort would determine which group exists long term and which do not. Forcing students to finance groups in which  they  have no stake, provides a disincentive for individual groups to engage in the kind of fund-raising effort that builds camaraderie and purpose. While these huge fees help support many groups, they also strip students of  the opportunity to experience  a shared commonality that comes only from ongoing  fund-raising to keep their group afloat.


This could set a precedent for a lot of other groups on campus that are actually religious groups.  Everyone deserves funding! I am embarrassed to be an Aggie.


@allison_b216  I think the better option is to allow any student to opt out of funding any student organization.  Why should a condition of my education at a public institution be funding political, social or religious groups with which I disagree? If students want a group, fund it yourselves.

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