SGA Severs Ties with FCIC Due to Diversity
James Twine, The Battalion (Texas A&M), Feb. 13
The Texas A&M Student Senate severed ties with the Faculty Committed to an Inclusive Campus (FCIC), due to differences in race-based admissions ideals.
The two organizations had scheduled a Feb. 18 diversity march before they realized their agenda differences, said Student Services Chair John Mathews.
Although both organizations support diversity, the FCIC supports race-based admissions and SGA opposes race being a factor in admissions criteria, Mathews said.
“I believe in the admission policy based on merit,” said Sen. Jeff Graham, a junior business major.
The legislation was a part of the “Support for Diversity Bill,” an emergency legislation bill passed by the Student Senate during Wednesday night’s scheduled Senate meeting.
According to the bill, “the Student Government Association denounces the discriminatory agenda of the Faculty Committed to an Inclusive Campus and shall not cooperate with that organization in any way.”
The FCIC takes a different stance on diversity. The organization’s Web site states, “We urge (University) President (Robert M. Gates) to reverse his stated policy on admissions and consider race and ethnicity as central factors in admissions as well as in recruitment and financial decisions.”
Gates’ admission policy includes individual achievement, leadership potential and personal strength, but not race.
As part of its split, SGAwill not cooperate with the FCIC including participating in the Feb. 18march, Matthew said.
Harris Berger, a member of the FCIC, said that the FCIC was upset that the SGA recalled their support of the march.
“(The idea) started out as an informal discussion,” Berger said. “Some people don’t wish to be involved because of their standing with the University… but if something’s going to happen it’s going to happen.”
“The event that was originally publicized was a noble event. Then I discovered FCIC’s position on diversity,” Mathews said. “(The FCIC position) appeared to be withheld from sponsors.”
The Student Senate has authorized its diversity team to organize a march of its own to be called Aggie March for Merit, beginning at 3:15 p.m. on Feb. 18.
The SGA march supports the admissions policy instituted by Gates as well as the progress it will represent for diversity at A&M.
Mathews said he was disturbed because the FCIC withheld information from SGA and others.
“So many people had united for this cause, and to now realize that FCIC was cause, and to now realize that FCIC was hiding behind this secret agenda is upsetting,” he said.
The bill commended Gates’ admissions policy.
“(Gates’) admissions policy will lead to greater diversity at A&M, and we fully support his bold decision to affirm the dignity and worth of every person by making individual merit the only criterion for admission and refusing to institutionalize discrimination on the basis of race, legacy, sexual orientation or any other demographic characteristic unrelated to individual merit,” according to the bill.
Two new bills were proposed for consideration for a vote at the next Student Senate meeting on Feb. 25, including the “Ballot Vote Clarification Bill” concerning the issue of secret ballot voting.
According to the bill statement, “(the ballot vote clarification) allows constituents of the Senators to have the ability to access their representative’s voting record and hold their Senator accountable for their opinions and actions.”
The bill states that “the process consists of allowing votes on issues to be counted aloud in the presence of the senate, but the names will remain anonymous until the meeting is over and voting records are compiled for the use of constituents.”
The other bill that will be voted on at the next meeting is the “Senate Apportionment and Governing Documents Correlation Bill.”
This bill is meant to clarify the contradictions in the constitution, bylaws and operations of the Senate, from the 57th Student Senate.
The Student Senate also confirmed the appointment of Jeff Murray as the new city council liaison and Jim Carlson as the new chair of the Student Services Advisory Board.