Earlier today, Texas A&M Student Body President John Claybrook vetoed legislation passed 35-28 by the Student Senate which would have allowed students to opt-out of paying student fees which supported groups to which they had religious or moral objections. Originally authored as the GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill, students renamed the measure to the Religious Funding Exemption Bill after backlash from student at A&M and around Texas.
Because the Aggie's Student Senate failed to achieve a veto-proof majority in their initial vote, it is expected that Claybrook's veto will stand. You can find our previous coverage on this topic here and here.
Photo Credit: GLBT Aggies Facebook Page
Claybrook explained his decision to The Eagle.
“The damage must stop today,” Claybrook wrote in a letter announcing the veto. “Texas A&M students represent our core value of respect exceptionally and I'm very proud of the family at this university. Now, more than ever, is the time to show great resolve and come together, treating each other like the family that we are.”
“As of right now I've gotten over 1,300 emails in the past 24 hours,” Claybrook told The Eagle. “There's been a very large negative response and that's been made pretty clear.”
He said he hopes quick action can curb some negative misconceptions, and that A&M is a diverse and accepting place.
“Despite the perception in the past few days, Texas A&M is a welcoming school and a place people do call home,” Claybrook said. “… I really feel for those who have been hurt recently and I hope that this is a reminder to them that there are many thousands of students who consider them brothers and sisters and as Aggie family.”
Some of those thousands of emails likely were a results of this nearly 5000 person strong, and now successful, Change.org petition started by Erin Williams in College Station.