Editor's note: Since The South End was not present for this Student Senate meeting, all of the information below was received by sources who were present.
During an open-body meeting on July 7, the Student Senate of Wayne State rejected a proposed resolution to fly a rainbow LGBTQ flag on campus.
“A resolution is a formal thing that says the Senate is in support of this happening, that we are going to work towards it, but there are no promises,” President Anthony Eid said.
The original proposal was to have an LGBTQ flag flown below the American flag on the same pole on the main campus. Eid, who co-sponsored the resolution, said the proposal was edited to be more feasible by flying it by the Welcome Center because there are multiple flag poles.
The flag poles on West Warren Avenue, currently fly two WSU flags and the edited resolution stated one them would be replaced by a flag chosen by the GLBTA Student Union and Multicultural Student Union.
Eid said sixteen of 20 members were in attendance when the edited resolution was rejected 9-7 by a secret ballot vote. Each resolution must have 2/3 of the majority to be passed.
Chris Gregory, a mechanical engineering technology and business administration major, sponsored the resolution at the meeting and said current events, especially the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, were major factors.
“I thought it would receive a lot of support,” he said. “With tragic events at Pulse, I didn’t foresee this happening.”
Gregory added that with unfilled seats, he did not feel the Senate was representative of the student body “at all.”
Almost two years ago, former president William Alexander and other Student Senate members succeeded in forming the Multicultural Student Engagement Offices and worked to have an LGBTA coordinator on campus.
Since then, a new Senate has transitioned into place.
“Many felt that if we did it, it would be unfair to other groups and many did not want to lower the American flag,” said Eid.
“I was in support of this. I am very disappointed it was rejected,” Eid said. “We will take the feedback, edit the resolution and when we present it in the future, hopefully it will get passed. Also, when we presented the coordinator position two years ago, it wasn’t passed immediately.”
Ashton Niedzwiecki, a senior psychology major and former chair of the GLBTA Student Union, encouraged Senate to consider the message this sends to the LGBTQ student population.
“I remember when they were working so hard to get an LGBTQ coordinator. I'm disappointed to see the shift from such a strong support of Wayne State's large LGBTQ student population to an unwillingness to hang a rainbow flag on campus,” Niedzwiecki said.
“This is a turbulent time in this country for LGBTQ rights, so any show of support is incredibly important. By the same token, rejecting a proposal like this speaks volumes, even if that wasn't the intention of those who voted it down.”
Student Senate's Housing and Residential Life Representative Giselle Gaitan said she hopes the resolution is amended in a way that hears the voices on those who rejected the resolution to be brought back on the table.
“I think it's really important we push the university to make this statement, to say ‘hey, we're here for you, we hear you, we love you.’ And if an amended version of the resolution still doesn't pass, I hope we, Senate and Wayne, show their support in another permanent and impactful way,” Gaitan said.
Student Senate is currently hosting interviews to fill six unoccupied seats on the board. The next meeting is set for July 21 at 6 p.m. in Hilberry AB.
Contact Managing Editor Sarah Rahal at Sarahal@wayne.edu. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahal6611