Students at Texas A&M University could soon opt out of paying student fees that support groups contrary to their religious beliefs, a local news station reported Thursday.
In a packed meeting Wednesday, the Student Senate voted 35-28 to recommend the policy to the administration. Before the vote, senators,renamed and broadened the original proposal, at first called “The GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill.”
The measure was designed to give students the ability to opt out of helping to pay for a resource center for gay students, which collects about $100,000 per year in student fee funding. The money averages out to about $2 per student, according to a university spokesman.
Supporters of the renamed “Religious Funding Exemption Bill” told the news station the measure was rebranded Tuesday and all mentions of the GLBT Resource Center were removed in an effort to protect the religious rights of students without singling out the homosexual community.
"I don't see why we should be forced to pay for something that we wouldn't take part in other wise," Prima Starr, a student at Texas A&M, told the news station. "I am morally opposed. I'm not saying you can't do what you want to do. But it my eyes, it's what I feel is wrong."
Despite earning Student Senate approval, the opt-out allowance remains controversial. Opponents claim the rebranding was simply for show, and that the measure is still “anti-gay.”
TAMU's student body president, John Claybrook, will get the measure next. If he approves it, the bill will go to school administrators for final approval.