The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the Student Government Association at Florida State University has elected to withhold funds from student groups that discriminate against gay and lesbian students. This decision has directly affected two FSU Christian student organizations.
The Democrat interviewed a member of one of the groups who believed the SGA’s decision to hold the funding was “kind of akin to telling a student group of Democrats that they must have a Republican as president.”
Clubs and organizations that are officially recognized by a public university – specifically those that receive money from the general pool of activity and service fee funds all students must pay – should not be allowed to bar any student who pays said fees, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or disability.
First, the comparison of homosexuality to affiliation with a particular political party is absurd. Second, the decision doesn’t usurp the rights of student groups in selecting their leadership, but instead ensures that all students are allowed to join any club funded by student fees.
The same club member also stated that the decision was “destroying a tenet of the organization.” If an organization’s strength is built upon the exclusion of a particular group of people, then there is a problem with that group receiving funds generated by all students – and possibly with the club even being chartered by the university at all.
Exemptions were granted to the student groups and they were accepted by the FSU’s Office of Student Affairs, but the FSU SGA rightly voted against providing them funding. It is a bold, impressive stand by SGA to preclude base discrimination in groups that receive inclusive student funding.
If the standards set or decisions made by a student group violate the laws by which public workplaces are required to abide, that group should not be permitted on campus.
Hopefully, the decision of FSU’s SGA to stand up and protect the rights of all its students to freely join whatever club their tuition and fees support reflects the beginning of a change in the morals of American society. At the very least, it seems to represent the righteousness of one group of students who fought for the rights of the disadvantaged on their campus.