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Some Aggies still pushing for ‘traditional values’ center at A&M

Supporters of a family and traditional values center at Texas A&M University plan to continue battling to pass a bill in the student senate that supports equal funding for a traditional values center in addition to the GLBT center on campus, even though the bill was vetoed by the student body president earlier this week.

Michael Ariza, a student senator and a member of the Texas Aggie Conservatives, said Thursday that he plans to continue the fight in his position as senator, though he isn’t sure yet what the role of the conservative student group will be in the battle to establish a traditional values center on campus.

A news release on the Texas Aggie Conservative website says that “the administration is using your money (student fees and donations) to push such leftist worldviews on a primarily conservative student body. Stand up to this bias and demand equal funding for conservative programs.”

The news release is in opposition to a “pornographic sex seminar” put on by a sex therapist at the GLBT center that showed videos of “two men kissing and having oral sex; a graphic close-up video of two lesbians having sex; a graphic video of a man doing cunnilingus” and other sexually explicit items.

“Is this really an appropriate use of university funds, mandatory student fees, taxpayer dollars, facilities, and donor contributions to Texas A&M University?” the news release asks. “Do A&M donors have any idea how their money is being spent? Should a public university be teaching this kind of stuff to young, unmarried men and women?”

When asked if the members would have been as outraged about a similar seminar covering oral sex among straights, Ariza said that he feels members of the campus conservative group are generally opposed to the idea of mandatory student fee funding, state funding, and donor money administered by the university going to support sexually explicit programming, rather than education.

“Personally, I am more concerned with viewpoint neutrality in how funding is spent,” Ariza said. “Currently, student fee money and funding administered by the university only goes to support one side of the issue, in this case a side that is very-pro GLBT. I think everyone can agree that every individual will have their own ideas of what is right and wrong — some find nothing wrong with the sexuality of GLBT individuals, while others may be deeply opposed to it on moral grounds. However, as it currently stands today, all students must pay a mandatory fee that funds aspects of the GLBT Resource Center, whether they support the mission of that center or not. While this may not seem like an issue to those who support that mission, students who are opposed to that mission find themselves forced to fund something that directly opposes their personal viewpoints, without any funding being spent on a resource center that promotes their viewpoints.”

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear how the Texas House budget amendment by state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) would affect the GLBT centers at A&M and the University of Texas at Austin. Christian’s amendment — which was supported by the A&M student senate before being vetoed by the student body president — mandates that universities spend an equal amount of “appropriated funds” on a traditional values center if they have a GLBT center.

However, as the Texas Independent has previously reported, the GLBT centers at A&M and UT are almost wholly funded by student service fees and private donations, which are not classified as appropriated funds, according to the Legislative Budget Board.

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