Update: Baylor University student body president vetos proposal to remove anti-gay language from conduct code

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The president of Baylor University’s student body vetoed the student government’s proposal to remove language regarding “homosexual acts” in its conduct code; a consequent vote on October 31 to override the veto failed.

The private school’s sexual misconduct policy, which dates from 2007, reads, “Baylor will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a gift from the creator God […] Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.”

The proposal, which was passed during the Student Senate on October 24, would have replaced the phrase “homosexual acts” in favor of “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse.” The president of the student body, Wesley Hodges, chose to veto it on October 30. He cited his reasoning as twofold: first, as a private school, Baylor is legally entitled to determine its values; second, he did not believe the bill had been adequately prepared nor its impact sufficiently studied.

He told the school’s official news site, the Baylor Lariat, “My veto was an action of love and care for the university and our students. I understand that human sexuality is a topic that is very important to our student body and I do not want to limit our conversations on this topic. I deeply respect our students and their respective views. I just want to make sure that whatever is represented in the student government is an accurate representation of the majority of students and seeks to further the mission to protect our students.”

The proposal was returned to the student government to be debated again; it was reported that a two-thirds majority is required to override a veto, and the final tally achieved only a simple majority at 25-22.

Student Senator Chase Hardy Jr., a sophomore, called the bill unnecessary, mentioning that many students found the phrase “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse” confusing. He said to the Lariat, “Why would we attempt to change something that does not need to be fixed?”

Another Student Senator, senior Kimani Mitchell, spoke out in defense of the bill; according to the Lariat, she said, “You may say it doesn’t matter, that the problems being addressed in the policy now aren’t real. I believe that they are real to a great number of students, those students’ friends, those students’ teachers who support them in every way. I think that is something we need to take into account and we are advocates for those students as well.”

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