SGA passes resolution disavowing discrimination, standing with underrepresented students


Daniel Caudill

LAS Sen. Rija Khan speaks at the Wednesday SGA meeting. She and Sen. Zachary James presented a resolution to condemn a bias incident that occurred Saturday at a Greek life event.

The Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday condemning acts of discrimination and prejudice and standing with underrepresented students. The resolution came as an investigation is underway into an incident of a racially charged statement made against members of Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latino-based fraternity.

Assistant Dean of Students Nancy Loosle said she was told the statement in question, made by a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, was “link arms and build a wall”.

“This is a gesture to support the underrepresented students on campus,” said Liberal Arts and Sciences Sen. Rija Khan, who co-authored the resolution.

Out of State Sen. Michael Brown asked if the senate could take any concrete actions to hold offenders accountable for derogatory statements.

“Is there any action being taken towards groups that uses any type of discriminatory or prejudice towards any underrepresented student?” Brown asked Khan.

“With this resolution, we’re not taking any action towards them, because we basically can’t do that,” Khan responded. “Considering it was Greek life, just in general, we cannot revoke their status.

“[The resolution] can basically encourage people around us to take those actions necessary.”

The resolution notes that, per the WSU Student Organization and Advisor Handbook, an organization that violates university guidelines can face suspension or permanent removal.

The resolution was not on Wednesday’s agenda, but it was brought to the floor after a motion from Khan. Sen. Zachary James also authored the resolution.

Veteran Sen. Jonathan Miller said his military experience has shaped his outlook on handling discriminatory statements.

“In the military, there is zero tolerance, so if you do something like this, then it’s automatically no-go,” Miller said.

Underserved Sen. Hannah Ezell said it’s important for the Student Government Association to take a stand against intolerance on campus.

“What happened was really disappointing, and I think that it’s up to us as the body that represents students, that we basically let everyone know that that type of behavior doesn’t have a place here,” Ezell said.

Khan stressed that people’s words and actions carry weight.

“We still want to show that, hey, we don’t support an action that might not be perceived in the nicest way possible,” Khan said.

She expanded on her point after the meeting.

“Intention is definitely important — because I also make mistakes. I’m not perfect. I wish I could say I was, but it’s not true, and I know it,” Khan said. “But as long as one is making an actual effort to do something — to maybe face the consequences or just in general improve themselves.”