Last night we held our first SBA meeting since I requested provisional status for our new Pro-life Student Group at LSU Law. The full SBA has to vote on approval of new student groups, so it got brought up in last night’s meeting. I have to say, I was a little thrown off by the amount of debate that preceded the vote.
While I understand that there are certainly going to be people that disagree with the premise of the group, I sincerely believed that it wouldn’t be an issue in regards to approving us as a group. After all, at LSU Law, we have groups dedicated to many different causes and viewpoints- OutLaw, which is for LGBT students; BLSA, which for black students; Christian Legal Society, for Christian students; and a Veteran’s Society. I don’t see why a pro-life group should be treated any differently than these groups. All views deserve equal recognition if they are willing to follow the rules.
Here is an excerpt from the minutes of last night’s meeting:
LSU Law Advocates for Life – Represented at meeting by Deanna Candler. New organization seeking provisional status.Handout on projector: Statement for Provisional Status from LSU Law Advocates for Life
James: They meet our provisional requirements.
Justin: What are the provisional requirements?
James: Under Article XII, Section 2:That the group has at least eight or more members
That the membership of the group is open to all Members of the Association;
That the group has a leader and include the name of the leader;
That the group has undertaken creative activities that promote educational, social, or charitable endeavors that contributes to the Law Center or the community at large;
That the group will abide by any decision of the Ethics Committee and any legislation, policy, or rule adopted by the officers of the Association and the Council of Student Organizations;
The group’s purpose, goals, and needs; and
Any other additional requirements required by the officers of the Association.
Ken: What does the organization plan to DO?Deanna: In keeping with the goal of promoting life, the org plans to bring in speakers regarding life on topics of euthanasia and others.
Ken: Will it include issues of human trafficking?
Deanna: Narrower focus
James: We’re open to organizations that are open to all members in principal but not in practically, and this organization will have to accept that some will feel/be excluded.Val: Personally okay with approval, but make sure that those who run the organization are familiar with regulations as to not violate 501(3)(c) statusDrew: This gets closer to “advocating” and does not have a safe non-bias place in the law school. There cannot be a Casino Night, but we can
James: This is like the Hastings case that involved a Christian Legal Society; you can have organizations that have these beliefs provided that they’re open to ALL people. In Hastings, they limited membership to “Christians,” and that was a problem.
Drew: Is someone going to come along in and make a pro-choice society as well?
Justin: There are groups on campus that are narrowed to a certain belief system and even age-groups
Wood: This is advocating because “advocate” is in the name. Being so narrowly tailored, the organization would be out of topics in a month. In his experience, visual display will become offensive to people – fetus displays, baby photos, etc. It can become inappropriate.
Ali: Are there Law Centers around America with similar organization?Deanna: There is a national group through Americans United for Life. The goal is not to become an apologetic group for life but just to address legal issues. There are a ton of specific legal topics to discuss. The intention is to have LEGAL focus with legal speakers and possibly legislatures, not just in general pro-life.
Drew: Yale has one of these programs.
James: There’s likely a constitutional problem with voting this down.
Drew: There were issues with the approval at Yale; Harvard has one too.
Sarena: Possibly need to change our SBA constitutional regarding the rules on organization because some may need to be combined/limited. With so many organizations, it is becoming difficult just to reserve rooms.
Drew: For instance, a Pro-life group and Federalist could just work together.
Wood: This is a conversation to let you (Deanna) know how to go about leading an organization like this; it’s not violating the constitution to make this discussion – it’s saying that there is overlap with groups that already exist, that there may not be enough topics to sustain your organization, and being sensitive to other students with the visual projects, etc.
Dixon: Logistically with the posting of baby photos etc, the posting policy that will be complete by the end of the semester would prohibit that kind of posting
Ken: Planning any protest?
Deanna: Only thing that comes to mind is letting the students know that the LSU main campus organization does protest at the Delta Clinic, but as for organizing a specific protest, hasn’t been the plan.
Ken motions for approval of provisional status. Neal seconds. 8 in favor / Drew, Savannah, and Chris decline / Jeffery abstains – MOTION PASSES
When it’s all said and done, the Provisional Status was granted with 3 dissenting. I gather from this, that the opposition to this group may be larger and more vocal than I originally reckoned. While getting the group established, and making an impact on the Law Center’s community might be an uphill battle from here, I am determined to see it through. This is without a doubt my passion and my calling in life, and I will fight the good fight.
1 Timothy 6:12
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.”