ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — Controversy is brewing in the student senate at Grand Valley State University.
Dorian Thompson, GVSU student senator, said the student leaders voted Thursday 21-10, in favor of removing the Pledge of Allegiance from the senate’s official agenda. He added there were 10 abstentions.
“It’s not over,” Thompson said. “A lot of students I’ve seen on social media are just angry.”
Thompson told News 8 it’s the third time this semester the topic has been up for a vote, and the third time he has opposed it.
“It’s the week of Veterans Day and this is the message we send,” Thompson said. “By taking the Pledge of Allegiance away, you’re taking away the right of students. You’re taking away the voice of the people.”
Student senator Samuel Jacobs doesn’t see it that way.
“By removing the pledge, we can be accepting of all students,” Jacobs said.
Jacob said he voted to remove the pledge to ensure all GVSU students are represented.
“Removing the pledge is the first step in allowing all students to have their voices heard and all students, not just the majority or minority,” Jacobs said.
GVSU President Philomena Mantella didn’t state her opinion on the debate but said she hopes the vote doesn’t clash with her push to diversify the campus.
“Boy, I sure hope not,” Mantella said. “I think it’s these kinds of debates and discussions we need to be having, as long as it’s done thoughtfully and respectfully.”
The university said on Facebook Monday that they are aware of the community’s response. They say that the student senate is a student-run organization and they set their own agenda. The senate is working on a way to compromise to show respect for differences.
This debate may continue at the next meeting on Thursday and could come up for a vote again this year.