IUSA gives slap in face to pro-lifers and other students

By Eric Seymour

On Thursday, February 19, the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA) voted on a resolution to use Grass Roots Initiative Fund (GRIF) money to reimburse the Women's Student Association (WSA) for their pro-abortion activities surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court.

Despite vocal opposition by IU Students for Life, who urged IUSA to remain neutral on the devisive issue of abortion, as well as the hundreds of students who contacted their IUSA representatives voicing the same view, IUSA passed the resolution 26-8, giving WSA $380. This amount is less than the $590 WSA originally applied for, but more than the $295 WSA member and IUSA senator Lucas McGregor said (in an Indiana Daily Student opinion column) they would ask for.

The debate surrouding this issue and the behavior of IUSA members on the 19th sadly showed once again that IUSA is more interested in playing politics and supporting their own ideological crusades than truly representing students. Senator Brad Preamble (who voted against the resolution) was among many members who testified that numerous students had contacted them about the resolution. Yet, those who voted for the resolution showed no concern about representing their student constituents, instead relying on patent rationalizations, claiming that they had "no right" to deny funds to IUSA.

This cop-out just doesn't hold water. In an IDS article, IUSA Vice-President for Congress Steve Chiagouris said "WSA applied and we can't just tell them no. It shouldn't be on the basis of pro-choice or pro-life, it should be whether or not they met the GRIF requirements." Yet, in response to an email question about whether certain other groups, which would be eligible for GRIF funding but objectionable to the student body, would receive GRIF money, Chiagouris stated "I have faith that congress will not fund every event applied for, because some will be deemed unworthy of funding."

Obviously, there is an element of discretion by IUSA in the allocation of these funds. It would seem, then, that many IUSA members were using the above argument in public comments to hide the fact that they personally support WSA's pro-abortion position. This bias came out in full force at the congress meeting, however. Twice, the congress had to be reminded to show respect to the pro-life students testifying, and to stop the rude behavior (such as talking to other senators, rolling eyes at the speakers, etc.) they were engaging in. The majority of the congress appluaded when a point was made in favor of WSA, but when the few pro-lifers dared applaud each other, one senator angrily called out, "Order!"

Unfortunately, IUSA not only hurt pro-life students with this vote, but with the publicity they generated, opened a Pandora's box for future GRIF funds. Senators who tired of the debate over the resolution can look forward to many more such debates when more and more student groups apply for GRIF, and other groups oppose that funding. Self-proclaimed "First Amendment junkie" Lucas McGregor stated in the IDS, "If any pro-life group wanted money, I hope I'd be the first person they contact, because I'd help them." Lucas and other IUSA members will get their chance. Now that IUSA has funded the WSA resolution, IUSFL plans to submit "a request for matching funds to help underwrite [their] pro-life weekend in April." According to IUSFL, "If the pro-abortionists received support, it's our position that pro-life students should receive equal support."

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

Bryan Wilhelm

Bryant Lewis
Joel Corbin