Cornell student gov refuses to outlaw political discrimination

According to the sponsor of the measure, other senators balked at the idea because political affiliation is a "choice," and therefore does not merit the same protections as things like race or religion.

The Cornell University student government recently shot down a proposal that would have prevented student groups from discriminating on the basis of "political affiliation."

Cornell University’s student government recently shot down a proposal that would have protected students from political discrimination in student organizations. 

According to Student Assembly Representative Olivia Corn, who proposed the measure on May 3, the student government “debated it for a little while, but it was shot down pretty overwhelmingly.”

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The current language of the Student Assembly Guidelines For Funded Organizations maintains that any student organizations receiving Student Activity Fee funds cannot discriminate “on the basis of actual or perceived age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any combination of these factors.” 

According to a draft of the legislation obtained by Campus Reform, the proposal would simply have added the term “political affiliation” to the catalog of prohibited categories listed in the school’s non-discrimination policy. 

In an interview with Campus Reform, Corn explained that her proposal was axed because the Student Assembly believed political affiliation was a “choice and should not be equated with race and religion.” 

She also maintained that the Student Assembly wants to avoid situations where “someone says hurtful things.”

According to the university website, the undergraduate student activity fee for the 2017-2018 school year was $241 per student. 

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Corn, who was shoved to the ground and called a “racist b----” for supporting the GOP in the 2016 election, found the Student Assembly’s refusal to recognize political discrimination troubling. 

“I have personally witnessed individuals be denied entry into an organization (myself included) because they affiliate with the Republican Party,” she explained.

The Student Assembly members who opposed the proposal did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment. 

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