SGA resolution serves campus well

Ashley Remkus

While everyone has his or her own definition of being a leader, to me it means doing what is right — no matter what.

That is exactly what SGA senators did when they passed a resolution urging university officials to implement gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

Although many community members seem to think accommodating the needs of transgender students is taking away from the majority to give to the minority, senators still passed the resolution. Despite the negative feedback they received, they did what was best for the community at large. And for that, I commend UNA’s student representatives.

I think it is important to note leaders do not always make decisions based on what their constituents think, and for good reason. A large portion of the U.S. was against the Civil Rights Act when it passed 50 years ago, giving hope for equality to a minority racial group. Today, anyone can see passing it was the right thing to do.

Passing the gender-neutral bathrooms resolution is a step toward civil rights for a minority group. This year’s SGA members can say they were part of that movement.

A transgender student went to SGA members and said he had been harassed, threatened and assaulted based on his decision to use a campus bathroom. While many people may have religious or moral objections against the LGBT community, it is not up to anyone else to condemn another person.

I watched that student stand before a room full of students, faculty and staff members and tell his story. I listened as the student, from behind tear-filled eyes, said he had considered dropping out of school because of what he endured. I hurt for the student because I think every person should feel safe everywhere, at all times.

The student said people told him he does not have a place in this world, and that it would be better without him, as he exited campus bathrooms. Those sadistic, cruel statements came from members of the UNA community, and that is appalling.

Now that the resolution will be sent to the administration, it is my hope they will step up as leaders, putting aside personal beliefs and biases to improve campus safety for all students. Their responsibility is to do what is best for campus.

SGA members have requested an update on the progress toward implementing gender-neutral restrooms, and I hope future senators will make sure that report is provided. Administrators should not assume the issue will be forgotten if they ignore it.

While it may seem this issue is not a big deal because it only affects a small number of students, the impact it has on those few lives is monumental.