After the Southern Methodist University Student Senate voted last week to approve an LGBT student senate seat, the student body voted the proposal down.
Adding a senate seat required approval by two-thirds of the voters. The election was held on Thursday, and only 53 percent of those voting were in favor of adding the seat. Of SMU’s 11,000 students, only about 2,000 voted.
“However, 53 percent is not a two-thirds majority and it does not get us representation in senate,” Shelbi Smith, vice president of SMU’s LGBT group Spectrum, said. “It does not change the everyday reality for LGBT students who are discriminated against at SMU.”
Smith called this a set-back, but explained the proposal isn’t completely dead for this semester.
“Now, we have to collect 1,100 signatures on a petition to get a re-vote,” Smith said. “We are hoping to get the signatures in time to have a re-vote before the end of the semester. Otherwise, we start from ground zero next year.”
She called the vote by the Senate “a huge victory.” In previous years, the Senate voted down the proposal, in some years by large margins. This is the first time the proposal went to students for a vote.
“This is about so much more than a senate seat,” Smith said. “This is about equality. This is about making LGBT people feel welcome and included at our great university.”