The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

Does truth matter?

 Does truth matter?
Does truth matter?

Does truth matter?

As I perused the Feb. 20 edition of Hilltopics last week, one question kept appearing in my mind: Wait – so Student Senate actually gave out student fees to pay for this?

In all fairness, Hilltopics does not normally produce this reaction from me, and I usually enjoy reading its opinions, even if they generally are one-sided. I saw no obvious bias. But, then came Douglas Hill’s article.

I hope everyone turned away with disgust last week at Mr. Hill’s article regarding the Young Conservatives of Texas. Knowing how some people feel about YCT at SMU, I am quite sure that some reacted with glee. However, Hill’s article is wildly unsubstantiated and clearly displays a disregard for basic research.

First, let’s examine perhaps the most easily verifiable aspect of Hill’s article. Mr. Hill claims to be a “self-described conservative,” and he asks that you check Facebook if you don’t believe him. Curiously enough, his Facebook profile says nothing of the sort.

Secondly, Mr. Hill originally claimed outright that YCT was behind the amendment that students voted on in February 2005. Thankfully, he did offer clarification in this Monday’s Hilltopics. I will elaborate.

Student Senate created a Membership Task Force that examined student representation in Student Senate. The Task Force interviewed various groups, including YCT. Without any lobbying or pressure from YCT, Senate placed an amendment on the ballot to allow students of all races to run for, but not vote for, Special Interest Seats. YCT was no more involved than other interviewed groups.

Was the referendum a “sound defeat,” as Mr. Hill claims? I’m not sure how it could be a defeat in any way, since YCT opposed the amendment because it was only a cosmetic change that cheaply attempted to appease both sides. Besides, the amendment garnered 63 percent of the student vote – it needed 67 percent – without our support. Around 1,000 people voted in support and 600 against. I would hardly describe that as “sound defeat.” Minority groups led a vigorous campaign against the amendment that likely kept the amendment from passing.

My final point regarding research is the lack of overall research done. No one from YCT was contacted to give input or verify information. The author did talk to YCT at least once, but not about his article. He must not have paid much attention since our signs – the harshest of which stated “Help Bring Democracy to Student Senate” – were far from “brash and confrontational” as he claims.

His only other contact with anything YCT-related was blatantly misconstruing the statement regarding racial preferences on our Web site, which was primarily my creation. Here is what part of our position online states: “Race does not determine a person’s world view, so categorizing all people of the same race as similar in belief is stupid.”

Nowhere in that statement does it say that we believe Asian Americans cannot represent Asian Americans, as Mr. Hill claims. The point of the statement was to say that YCT believes that commonalities between races allow us to adequately represent people outside our own race if we don’t resort to defining ourselves by race, as these seats do.

There are certain arguable points about Doug’s article. Of particular interest to me is this notion that the seats are permissible because they don’t really do anything. To this I would simply ask a question: Does principled opposition no longer exist in America?

Finally, student representation must be discussed, because nearly everyone who supports Special Interest Seats identifies increased representation as a benefit of the seats, and Mr. Hill is no exception.

What does YCT propose to do with the Special Interest Seats? Instead of completely eliminating them from Senate, YCT proposes to simply remove the racial restrictions from the seats. They would be renamed “General Interest,” and the representatives that hold the seats would represent the entire student body. Because no seats would be eliminated and representation restrictions would be eased, proponents of the current configuration cannot reasonably claim that this move decreases representation as a whole in Senate.

Perhaps proponents of the seats will still claim that YCT’s proposal would decrease minority representation in Senate. It’s certainly possible. If it did, perhaps it would encourage minorities to run for more positions.

Special Interest Seats have made the minority community at SMU complacent when it comes to Senate. The seats are there for the taking – the School of Engineering cannot field a complete list of candidates – yet minorities do not choose to take them.

Democracy was not intended to be hamstrung by groups trying to guarantee representation. You should not be able to restrict elections in any way to benefit a certain group that is deemed ‘acceptable’ to win. That is a totalitarian mindset that erodes our freedom to choose whoever we want, whether right or wrong.

 

Reed Hanson is junior electrical engineering major. He can be reached at [email protected].

More to Discover