Texas A&M Student Body President Saves Campus LGBT Funding With Veto of Senate Bill

A Texas A&M Student Senate bill that would allow for a religious exemption to student funding was vetoed by student body president John Claybrook, because the original intent of the bill was to allow students to opt out of funding the campus Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. Even though language specific to the GLBT Resource Center was left out of the final bill, passed through the Senate, Claybrook said, “the sentiment towards the bill has not changed and has caused great harm to our reputation as a student body and to the students feeling disenfranchised by the bill.”

The Student Senate passed the bill on Wednesday after the language specific to the GLBT Resource Center was removed. But because Texas A&M is a public university, there is already a mechanism in place for students to opt out of funding, through student fees and tuition, anything with which they have a religious disagreement. The bill passed by the senate only re-inforced standing policy according to one of its co-authors.

“When the bill went to committee, it was rewritten to an across the board religious freedom bill,” Said Cary Chesire, a co-author. “We were trying to say, ‘Hey, let students know that, if they do have a religious objection, here is how they can opt out.’”

Claybrook’s veto could still be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the Student Senate but getting those votes is not likely.