Faculty opposes Amendment One, CCE SGA delays in passing similar resolution
Aaron Hall, Staff Writer
April 20, 2012
Filed under News
An expected proposal against Amendment One this week from the CCE Student Government Association would have created a solid wall of opposition among Guilford College faculty and student representatives.
This possibility was delayed for the moment after last-minute opposition from some members of the CCE SGA.
On April 11, the Guilford faculty joined Community Senate in passing a proposal opposing Amendment One to North Carolina’s constitution, which would restrict legally recognized domestic partnerships to marriage between a man and a woman.
The proposal’s unanimous passage was greeted warmly by many faculty members as a sign of institutional solidarity on the issue.
“I’ve never been so proud of the faculty,” said Jack Zerbe, professor and theatre studies and director of study abroad, to the assembled faculty during a moment of silence following the meeting. “God bless you.”
According to Guilford College archivist Gwen Erickson, this is the first time the faculty has approved a resolution regarding a political or social issue; this includes earlier issues pertaining to race relations.
“We were in agreement that we are making a statement that is not strictly political,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy Lisa McLeod, who spearheaded the initiative.
“This was about human rights and core values,” said McLeod. “If you think about our core values here at Guilford College, then you have to understand there was no way we could support such an amendment.”
While the faculty contemplated an historic resolution, confusion reigned in the CCE SGA.
According to Victor Lopez, incoming SGA vice president and three-year student representative, earlier meetings of the CCE government body produced what many perceived as a consensus on the issue.
“With respect to the vote to join the traditional student body, it was both the impression of the current (outgoing president) and myself that the board was behind joining the traditional student governments from across the state, including our own student body, in opposing Amendment One (to) N.C.’s Constitution,” Lopez said.
The impression of consensus was strong enough to produce an April 1 press release announcing that the CCE’s SGA had passed the proposal.
The issue was revisited when Secretary Deborah Stephens mentioned that the CCE SGA had not come to consensus, and felt that there were SGA members who supported the amendment, effectively negating the proposal’s passage.
Stephens declined to comment.
The turn of events surprised many SGA members, who thought that the process was completed.
“It seemed clear to both the President (and) myself that the wording had been cleared by the dean and faculty adviser,” said Lopez.
While this is perhaps the result of a misunderstanding among members of the SGA, Lopez feels that the last-minute revelation of support for the amendment in the SGA signals a prejudice among members that until now remained unspoken.
“I see this as a blatant attempt to complicate and convolute a matter, and allow someone’s prejudices to come to the surface, showing us that where some representative CCE members are concerned, there are still those underlying fears and prejudices,” Lopez said.
“We talk a lot about the CCE/traditional student divide from the perspective that the younger folks are just learning,” Lopez added.
“It seems some in CCE have a long way to go.”
According to Lopez, several of the dissenters remarked that they wanted to wait until after the election and take up the issue in the fall, making a pre-election statement pointless.
“If this was just an issue of misunderstanding, and there weren’t sinister connotations, I’d have been less disappointed in the antics being played,” said Lopez. “I have little patience for those who say they represent the student body, but willfully, and potentially maliciously, practice behavior that lends itself to bigotry. Guilford is a place that promotes equality, not bigotry; not willful ignorance, but equality.”