Students seek to add to equal opportunity

T.J. Gerlach

Some students have become concerned with Missouri Southern’s Equal Opportunity Clause.

The clause does not currently include any specification for sexual orientation.

Jason Hare, junior Spanish major and president of B-Glad, said a member of the Student Senate came to him and requested Hare to propose this addition to the clause at the Nov. 3 Senate meeting.

Hare said Pittsburg State University and all four University of Missouri campuses already have sexual orientation included in their Equal Opportunity Clauses. He said people at Southwest Missouri State University have been fighting for this for many years as well.

“Last year Jimmy Noriega, who is a member of Student Senate, brought this up to Dr. León whenever he came to his annual meeting with the Student Senate,” Hare said. “Jimmy said, ‘Should we not add sexual orientation to the Equal Opportunity Clause?'”

Hare said University President Julio León said if that privilege was granted, other groups would come and demand their rights as well.

Hare said León did not specify which other groups, but “threw the question off.”

“His (León’s) idea saying all these other groups would want protection, well most of them do,” said David Torres, senior accounting major. “All those are written in already. So I guess the case could be said if we’re really going to do this on an equal basis then we should drop all said discrimination lines and just say no discrimination period.”

Hare will present this idea at the Nov. 3 Senate meeting because León is tentatively scheduled to attend the meeting.

“We’re not saying that there is discrimination against gays,” Hare said. “What we’re

saying is that the potential exists – that you don’t even have to be gay; they just have to look gay or sound gay, and somebody who is of the persuasion that they don’t like gay people, if they got into a key position within some office here, they would have opportunity to discriminate.”

Torres said they are not asking for any special rights.

“A lot of conservatives will say, ‘Well these are special rights that we’re trying to give to the homosexual agenda,'” he said. “And to be honest it’s not special rights; it’s equal rights.”

Hare drafted a petitionary resolution to the Senate and has had several faculty members and numerous students sign it, including two senators.

Hare said having faculty and student signatures should make the proposal a little “weightier.”

“We’re bringing it up again because we figure this is something that’s important,” he said. “And it’s something that really has just been relegated to a status of, ‘we may deal with it in the future, but we don’t have to deal with it right now.'”

Hare said if the proposal is shot down again, it will just be brought back again.

“If it’s not me, it’ll be somebody,” he said. “This question will not end.”

“We want to follow what is happening across the United States,” Torres said. “This is something that’s going to happen. So whether MSSU wants to be in the forefront or whether they want to be one of the last to join this – that’s the good question.”