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SMU Daily Campus

SMU Daily Campus


LGBT seat resolution fares worse on second vote

Editor’s note, July 3, 11:20 p.m.: The author of the original story included misquoted information by an interviewee who voted against the LGBT seat. We apologize for the error. The post has now been updated.

The LGBT Student Senate seat referendum failed to pass Thursday, with the ballot initiative receiving only 51.9 percent of the vote — almost 14 percent less than the necessary 2/3 of the student body’s votes to pass the amendment to the Student Senate’s constitution.

The second vote’s 51.9 percent was about 8 percent less than the first vote, which tallied to 59 percent of the votes.

Final voter turnout was 2,132.

“It was an amazing turnout for a vote like this,” Student Body President Ramon
Trespalacios said.

The voter turnout was slightly larger than the 2,060 people who voted on the referendum three weeks ago.

“It’s very disheartening to see that, not just looking at the numbers being lower from [the last vote],” said Samuel Partida, an SMU senior and undergraduate assistant in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

A new social media app on campus, Yik Yak, may have played a big role in garnering opposition turnout against the proposed referendum. Many posts were made on the anonymous social media site that urged students to vote against the referendum that took place Wednesday and Thursday.

“I would like to thank Yik Yak for single handedly getting the LGBT seat to fail,” read one anonymous post on the app following the announcement of the results. “I don’t think any of us would have known to vote without it.”

“It definitely influenced my vote,” sophomore Erik Beresford said. “I didn’t even know there was a re-vote or when to vote without getting info from Yik Yak.”

Partida said the social media bullying that has erupted over the past two days is blatant evidence of the intolerance on campus. He said it should serve as a call to the administration that this is a real problem and no longer just hearsay.

“I think [this is] a rare opportunity for the administration to be able to see what’s going on their campus,” Partida said. “All the social media is giving us documentation of this homophobia. The perpetrators themselves are giving us all the evidence. It’s not whether or not there is homophobia, it’s right there on the screen. It’s right there for everyone to see.”

Junior Senator Carole Finley stated the fact that the failed referendum is a clear reflection of the social views of a large portion of the student body. She thinks the student body harbors elements of bigotry in its ranks.

“We’re not accepting of the gay community…we’re just not,” Finley said.

Beresford said his “no” vote was about rejecting special interest seats in general.

“I’m glad the student body is ready to turn down a special interest seat, as they inherently divide the student body instead of bringing the campus together,” he said.

Mahli said the LGBT community does not have any plans to reintroduce legislation at this time.

In light of the referendum results, Trespalacios said that he would undergo ALLIES training, and encouraged other student senators to do so as well.

According to the SMU Women’s Center’s website, ALLIES training, “provides educational opportunities and inclusiveness through promoting understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities, as well as to highlight contributions of the LGBT members to the university community.”

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