Student Government Uncivil and Hostile Towards Conservatives
"They erupted in violent, accusatory attacks on Kelley and the mere proposition of this discussion."
Author: Grant Layle
The undergraduate student government meeting of the General Assembly on Thursday October 18 became a battleground fueled by liberal bias against common courtesy and civil discussion. Liberal members walked out and mocked & interrupted their conservative peers.
The night’s hostilities began with a presentation by Lee Belding, an activist promoting consistency in the law and demanding action from the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU). His proposal considered banning alcohol on campus in an effort to reduce the risk of sexual assault.
“This fine body of men and women talk a lot about sexual assault, and I want to help throw some action in there,” stated Belding. “According to a Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation study, women who drink more than they should are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault.”
Three members hastily stormed out of the room at this comment. Belding continued, “And we have the chance to lead the way in a fight for a safer campus.”
When the agenda turned to one of the night’s proposed bills, 55-09, Representative of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sergei Kelley spoke out against the leftist proposal. The proposal called for the revoking of the standing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 12-month blood deferral policy for men who have sex with other men (MSM). This policy, according to the FDA, exists to mitigate the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in donated blood. Representative Kelley sought to challenge the proposal before pushing it through. This was met with unprecedented and furious backlash.
He was interrupted by various outbursts. His allotted time was cut short by the ‘official’ timer.
The interruptions during Kelley’s opening remarks took Vice President of Governmental Affairs Eli Pales aback. “We shouldn’t be interrupting one another.”
The Assembly immediately called a 5-minute recess after Kelley first spoke. He became surrounded by Assembly members. They erupted in violent, accusatory attacks on Kelley and the mere proposition of this discussion.
“Kelley, I expect an apology,” demanded Representative Ben Horne and Talyce Murray. Horne represents Lyman Briggs College and Murray represents the Senior Class Council. Representative Murray accused Representative Kelley of being homophobic. “You basically just said some homophobic stuff.”
A call for his dismissal from Vice Chair of the Finance Committee was stated by Representative Horne, “Hey everybody...you have the ability to remove your Chairs and Vice Chairs with a simple majority at any time.”
The meeting resumed and Kelley suggested ASMSU take caution in their decision and its implications. Ignoring the proposition, other members resorted to claims that any supporters of the policy, from MSU to the FDA, are heinously homophobic and discriminatory.
Communication College Representative Maysa Star stated that “ASMSU can get on a bit of a power trip sometimes,” but proceeded to say, “we don't need to follow federal guidelines on everything.”
Representative Kelley continued his position to state that his intent was to prioritize health and safety, and that the prejudice his opponents suggest is just plain wrong. His defense, “I am not anti gay...Jesus tells me to love thy neighbor.”
He proceeded to display a massive stack of scientific studies, which according to him, are supported broadly and seen as legitimate. Despite the library of hard facts and science he personally compiled, as was indicated, the best argument against the data was that, “scientists can selectively chop off relevant variables.” This was stated by College of Engineering Representative Ryan Aridi. Several other members pointed to possible “biases” in the studies.
No study from the stack was read by ASMSU members until after the meeting ended.
Several Representatives stood firmly against any defense of the FDA blood deferral ban for MSM. After in-meeting research, Representatives Kumaran Arivoli, Theo Van Egeren, and Dylan Catalano delegitimized the need of an MSM ban since “all blood” and “every donation of blood is screened.” According to Sophomore Class Council Representative Catalano, “they (FDA) already test all blood donated for HIV type 1 and type 2, so the current policy...is based on discrimination.
According to the FDA, “While testing has greatly improved, it is not 100 percent effective at detecting infectious diseases in donors with very early infection.”
The General Assembly was growing tired of discussion. Complaints to go home were brought up by College of Music Representative Isaiah Hawkins.
The Assembly moved to vote. There was little opposition.
More information on FDA blood screening and donations is available here.
The State News reported on the October 18 meeting of ASMSU with no mention of debate over Bill 55-09.
Contributor Grant Layle