Public colleges and universities in Texas with LGBT resource centers may have to spend an equal amount of money on centers promoting “family and traditional values,” under a budget amendment approved by the House on April 1.
The amendment from State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, passed by a vote of 110-24. Christian claims that these centers are not a direct criticism of LGBTQ students but are necessary to support students who believe in traditional values.
The main target for the amendment is the Inclusion and Community Engagement Center (ICE). According to their mission statement, the ICE’s purpose is to “explore issues relating to culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, volunteerism and politics.” They offer volunteer opportunities as well as scholarships and support service to UTSA students.
The irony of this amendment is that House Bill 1 is operating $7.8 billion below the amount required to fund the school under the Texas Education Code. What does this mean for us? This means that we will pay more, receive less in federal funding and observe massive cutbacks in funding to our academic departments, which means less research will take place.
However, adding this new amendment wouldn’t be as horrific if UTSA had the funds to support it. Students shouldn’t have to foot the bill for these programs just because politicians with opposing views deem these centers necessary. Where will the center be housed? Who will UTSA employ to run it? We are already facing spacing issues and faculty cutbacks.
Conservative students deserve to express their opinion, but if we can barely fund the programs we have now, is it worth adding new systems for the sake of propriety?