Last month, Chancellor Brady Deaton met with students to express support for a proposal that would add "gender identity and expression" to MU's non-discrimination policy.
According to a March 5 report in The Maneater, students who are transgender are not protected by the university's non-discrimination policy. Triangle Coalition President Asher Kolieboi insists the lack of unisex bathrooms is discriminatory toward the transgender folks among us. Apparently, Kolieboi believes the changes to the university's diversity polices would bring about more unisex bathrooms and lead the transgender folks to feel more accepted in our community.
Earlier this week, the Missouri Students Association began to draft a bill that would call on MU departments to include gender identity and expression in their individual non-discrimination policies. MSA Senator Phyllis Williams said, "This is not radical by any means." In reality, it is radical by nearly every means. This entire issue is so ridiculous -- it is hard for me to decide whether to laugh or to cry.
This entire discourse exemplifies everything that is wrong with MU. We have spent countless hours and way too much mental energy trying to change our campus into a wonderful peaches-and-cream utopia. We spend way too much time and energy on transgender diversity clauses and way too little time learning how to make money. I often feel college is more about accepting everyone than it is about learning how to be a successful, productive, hard-working member of society.
I don't think that anyone deserves to be discriminated against, but we can't make rules for everything. We can't add a new caveat to the diversity rules every time someone comes up with a new way to define identity. MU offers plenty of bathrooms for men and women. The present accommodations are very reasonable. The university is already on a very tight budget. It is nothing short of irresponsible to insist that we build more unisex bathrooms.
The words and deeds of our student government reflect upon all of us. When the student government panders to immature and ridiculous issues such as gender identity, they discredit the intelligence and seriousness of our student body. When our student government gives serious consideration to policies, such as gender identity non-discrimination, it only serves to show the outside world how out of touch we truly are.
Since 1984, a non-voting student representative has sat on the UM system Board of Curators. For more than 10 years, lobbyists associated with MU's student government have petitioned Missouri's state legislators to give this student curator one vote, just like the other curators. So far, their efforts have been unsuccessful, as their bill has never been signed into law.
In 2008, former Gov. Matt Blunt was right in vetoing legislation that would have given the student curator a vote. Our student government has yet to prove itself mature enough to handle such a responsibility. The gender identity non-discrimination bill Williams is advocating, is a perfect example of the student government's inability to embrace practical solutions to real problems. I call on our student government to abandon its present course and to begin advocating important and realistic proposals that solve real problems. As students, once we prove that we're mature enough to handle the responsibility of a curator vote, perhaps we'll get one.
Marcus Bowen is a former vice president of the MU College Republicans and serves with the Jackson County Republican Party. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.