ISS discusses discrimination policy, freedom of speech

At Wednesday’s Illinois Student Senate meeting, the senators discussed the discrimination policy and freedom of speech.

In last week’s meeting senator Carey Hawkins Ash, graduate student, was asked his age during the debate in the vice-presidential internal election. Ash took time at the beginning of this week’s meeting to inform the assembly about the regulations of discrimination.

“We have got to be more careful,” said Hawkins Ash. “When your actions are borderline, that means they are not far away from (the boundaries) and we need to make sure we are respectfully expressing our voice.”

In clarification, president Brock Gebhardt said,“Carey wanted to make sure the body is well-aware of its commitment to diversity and to not judge someone on the basis of age, color or sexual orientation.”

Where freedom of speech is concerned, during last week’s meeting a motion was made to remove speaking privileges from senators Matt Gold, senior in LAS, and senator Max Ellithorpe’s, graduate student, for the duration of the meeting. Although the motion did not carry, it led Ellithorpe to create a resolution to reaffirm the importance of freedom of speech.

“I think removing speaking privileges is a petty way to silence someone in the room,” said Ellithorpe.

Christopher Dayton, senator and senior in LAS, had an opposite view on the issue.

“There are times when someone is seeking to slow down the legislative process that we are here to do,” he said. “That person can muddle, defame and slow down what we are here to do.”

Jim Maskeri, senator and senior in LAS, moved to remove the motion.

“We do not have time for this song and dance,” he said.

To clarify the rules to the assembly, Gebhardt said the freedom of speech is typically respected. However, in extenuating circumstances, those rights can be removed.

“The body is free to make its own rules so if it wishes to limit the rights of members, with a significant majority it can,” he said. “However, this is done only when dialogue has evolved into something where it inhibits the assembly’s progress to move forward.”

During the meeting, Gold and Dayton were nominated to be liaison between ISS and Champaign City Council. With one extra vote, Gold was once again elected to represent ISS at the Champaign City Council this academic year.

In Gold’s speech to the assembly, he said, “City council is real power, city council is real importance.”

Comparing the two government assemblies, Gold added, “I think the city government truly does things that affect people’s lives,” he said. “But in the student senate, today for example, we discussed the dress code.”

_Corinne can be reached at [email protected]_

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that senator Jim Maskeri moved to remove speaking privileges indefinitely. Maskeri moved to remove the related motion indefinitely. The Daily Illini regrets this error.