BSG suspends usual agenda to vote on DACA resolutions

Kathryn Nicolai, Investigative News Editor

Bucknell Student Government (BSG) suspended their usual agenda and doubled their typical one-hour Congress on Oct. 29 in order to hear two resolutions related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). The first resolution, “A Resolution for BSG (Bucknell Student Government) to support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals),” was not passed after a vote of 53 percent opposed, 43 percent approved, and four percent abstained. The second resolution, “Resolution for Actions that Empower Bucknell Community Members to Support Those Affected by DACA and the DREAM Act,” passed with only one opposing vote.

The first, “A Resolution for BSG (Bucknell Student Government) to support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals),” coauthored by BSG’s Head of Diversity Committee, Shirah Moffatt-Darko ’18, and public committee member Alec Cartwright ’19, was first presented to Congress on Oct. 22.

The resolution called for BSG to position itself in support of DACA and publicize its support through posters and an advertisement in The Bucknellian. The resolution stated that DACA “is a moral and humanitarian issue, not a traditional political issue,” and BSG supporting DACA would “send a clear signal to LACOS, our Latinx community at large, and any other students for whom DACA matters […] that we as a governing body have heard their concerns, and show that we support them.”

Cartwright described the first session as a “nightmare,” and the students that showed up in support of the resolution “were subjected to thinly veiled racist rhetoric.”

Class President of 2020 Chandler Houldin ’20 said that after the resolution was first introduced, it was met with “mixed reactions” and that there was “confusion” as BSG members did not initially understand what was being asked of them.

“There was a lot of aggression and emotions in the room,” Houldin said.

The presentation of the resolution resulted in “a great deal of debate over what our role as student government representatives should be,” Class President of 2018 Gabriella Gomes ’18 said.

“Overall, the major questions being debated in this session [were]: What is student government? Are we a political body or a governing body? Who and what do we represent?” Gomes said.

Members of Latinx Alliance for Community and Opportunity (LACOS) were present and supported the resolution, according to Gomes.

Cartwright believes that the resolution did not pass because “people turned a humanitarian issue into a political issue.” Cartwright has since resigned from his position as a public committee member in BSG.

BSG President, Amanda Battle ’18 said, “Our responsibility as an organization is to provide a forum for students to express their own beliefs, but never to determine for students what those political beliefs must be, regardless of how moral or humanitarian a political policy may seem. The debate surrounding DACA, despite there being bipartisan support, cannot be divorced from its political ties.”

“In essence, the first resolution was voted down because BSG has historically not taken a stance on government policy,” President of the Class of 2019 Stephen Mayer ’19 added. “To do so would be opening up Pandora’s box and forc[ing] BSG to rule on all political issues brought to Congress in the future.”

“Resolution for Actions that Empower Bucknell Community Members to Support Those Affected by DACA and the DREAM Act” was drafted by all four class presidents Gomes, Mayer, Houldin and Class of 2021 President Colin Fee ’21. Congress voted to include the statement, “Bucknell Student Government supports and stands in solidarity with all Bucknell community members affected by DACA and the DREAM Act.” The resolution also proposed three specific actions to create “a more informed student body by providing the means for those affected to feel supported and acknowledged by the Bucknell community.”

The passed resolution resulted in a public support list for DACA, viewable here: A screening of the documentary “The DREAM is Now” will occur on Nov. 12 and a letter-writing event will take place on Nov. 6 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Student Space of the Elaine Langone Center.

(Visited 599 times, 1 visits today)