At the Oct. 16 meeting, Student Government passed four resolutions, three of which were ordinarily voted on and one was read as an emergency piece. However, Connor Clegg, student body president, sent out a memorandum informing senators of his veto on one of the pieces.
The piece of legislation, authored by Senator Claudia Gasponi, general studies senior, would have added the Texas State Student Body Government’s name to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
An amicus curiae is filed by groups or persons who have a strong interest in matters and intend on influencing the court’s decision based on providing information that may not have been included in the suit.
The proposal was deemed an emergency piece and required a vote prior to the amicus brief’s Oct. 18 deadline. However, due to the veto, the university’s student government’s name will not be attached to MALDEF’s amicus curiae brief.
The memorandum reads, “in passing this piece and affixing the name of this organization to an Amicus Curiae brief in support of litigation against any litigation passed in any chamber of either the Texas or United States Legislature, we would effectively politicize this nonpartisan body and therefore ostracize a large portion of the student body at Texas State University.”
Clegg disagreed with the emergency type status attached to the piece. Under normal circumstances, senators would have at least a week to research the piece prior to voting. Due to the emergency status, senators only had about five to 10 minutes, therefore, Clegg believed not enough “thoughtful deliberation” could take place.
“There wasn’t anything in the piece of legislation that I disagreed with. There were a couple factors that went into my decision though,” Clegg said.
Throughout the memorandum and in his statements, Clegg said he believed Student Government, by passing this piece of legislation and others like it, would continue the trend of becoming more of a partisan organization.
“I think there is a trend that has culminated in where we are right now, where we have a group of senators who identify as being on the left, sitting on one side of the aisle and a group of senators who identify with sitting on the right, sitting on one side of the aisle,” Clegg said. “I think that speaks for itself, and that’s something unsettling—it’s something that has crept its way in the body.”
Gasponi, who authored the legislation, stated that SB 4 protects racial profiling and in its full effect, would violate the first, fourth, fifth and 15th amendments.
“I completely disagree with the veto and the memorandum,” Gasponi said. “The memorandum is (written) very first person. It says that Connor doesn’t believe that Senate should take (a) political stance, and it says that Connor believes that this piece is political and that Senate Bill is political and partisan and I disagree with that fundamentally.”
Gasponi believed that this piece would have “full chamber support” given the new subcommittee regarding international and undocumented students and was surprised to see the vote split due to underlying politics.
“I’ve talked the talk and now I’ve walked the walk. I have put it in writing and said, ‘this isn’t going to fly anymore, figure out a way to represent students without attaching a Big D (Democrat) or a Big R (Republican) to it,’” Clegg said.