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SA passes resolution denouncing swim coach comments

Solomon Ni / Thresher

By Bonnie Zhao     3/8/22 11:32pm

The Student Association passed a resolution denouncing Rice swim coach Seth Huston’s statements on the National Collegiate Athletics Association policy regarding transgender participation in college-level sport at the March 7 Senate meeting, with one SA member voting against the resolution.

Stephanie Martinez, SA Director of Equity, said during the meeting that they made several amendments to the original resolution.

“I feel like there’s a discourse around this resolution,” Martinez, a Sid Richardson College junior, said. “I just want to say that this resolution is just one piece of [our efforts], and SA has many aspects that are working towards change for trans students … So this resolution is focused on [Huston’s] comments and statements, but I do think that’s a step to creating a more inclusive community.”

The resolution, introduced by the Equity Council, now clarifies that this resolution is not commenting on the intent of the statement, but the impact of Huston’s words. 

“The Student Association and Rice University must take responsibility for the negative impact of his statement regardless of its original intent,” the resolution said.

Sarah Mozden, the outgoing president of Sid Richardson, said during the meeting that she appreciates that the Equity Council has amended the resolution to better represent the will of students.

“I see you guys took a lot of feedback from SA discussions, and I’m very proud of you guys for having those discussions and actively working [on amending the resolution],” Mozden, a senior, said at Senate.

The resolution urges Rice University to have Huston undergo allyship training and an anti-discrimination course, denounce the statements made by Huston and apologize to the student body for allowing transphobia to proliferate on campus. The resolution also calls for Huston to publicly apologize for his comments.

The vote on the resolution was not unanimous. All voting members of the SA, except for Jones College president Aaron Pathak, voted to pass the resolution. Wiess College senator Kamren Walls abstained from voting.

Pathak said that he believes the passing of a large number of amendments that could change the interpretation of a legislation should have time for discussion with constituents.

“While not a recorded roll-call vote, I also voted no to waiving prior notice and voting without the normally allowed discussion time,” Pathak wrote in an email to the Thresher. “However, Senate’s motion to waive prior notice passed, and we had to operate on an accelerated timeline. Based on the data my senator and I had most recently collected, a clear majority of Jonesians did not support the resolution in its original form; as such, our split-vote was important to most accurately represent the voice of the college we were elected to serve.”

Pathak said he is strongly against the intimidation of voting members by members of the Rice community.

“I fear an increasingly common strategy in the Senate is to bypass our democratic structures through intimidating voting members in their personal lives or through threatened ostracization,” Pathak wrote. “Rushing through legislation prevents representatives from accurately discussing key issues with their constituents. I find this increases the gap between the SA and the student body, and this may be why many students feel the SA is not representative of the student body as a whole.”

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