Conflict centers on mock ballot

By Jayna Ronayne

Miscommunication and discrepancy of wording apparently are to blame for lack of support from the Student Association concerning a mock ballot against discrimination.

A mock ballot being distributed at a table sponsored by the Gay/Lesbian Union outside the Pow Wow dealt with the hope to change the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1332.14 (Part 1, Section H) which begins “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service …”

Cory Parham, co-president of the GLU, said the movement is sponsored by the United States Student Association, but there has been “lack of support from NIU’s Student Association.”

“The ballots will be sent to the USSA and presented in mass quantity to President Bush on March 9, 1992,” Parham said. “The ballots were supposed to be distributed at Sunday’s (SA) meeting, but they weren’t. My sincere hope is that people on campus and especially the SA would support equal rights and abhor discrimination.”

SA President Preston Came said the reason the ballots were not distributed was due to a mistake and he has apologized to Parham.

“There was no malicious intent,” Came said. “On Friday at the staff meeting, Nolan Hendreson (SA minority relations adviser) asked if he could pass out the ballots and we decided he shouldn’t because the language is one-sided.

“It was decided that a GLU member would be invited to present the ballots to the SA and Nolan Hendreson was supposed to call them and apparently didn’t,” Came said. “Our full intent was to allow them to be passed out, but it was an unfortunate mistake.”

When asked about the mistake, Hendreson said, “It was a miscommunication and they should be passed out Sunday.”

The ballots, however, cannot be distributed at Sunday’s SA meeting because they are due in by tomorrow, Parham said.

The second problem with the ballot has to do with the wording. The ballot asks to check a yes or no box. The ‘yes’ box calls for the issue of “an Executive Order immediately rescinding the DoD and ROTC’s discriminatory policy against lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens.” The ‘no’ box reads “No, I do not support civil rights and equality.”

Came said he disagreed with the wording because “The ROTC does not have a discriminatory policy. Anyone can join.

“My staff and I felt that it was a ‘loaded’ question, not really giving a fair choice,” Came said. “It should read ‘the policy should be changed or the policy should not be changed.'”

Parham said that Came’s arguing about the wording is a cop-out.

“All intelligent people should be able to agree that everyone deserves basic human rights. I think the ROTC is discriminatory —if you are gay, lesbian or bisexual and you sign up for the ROTC, you can’t be an officer or be eligible for the scholarships,” Parham said. “If this policy is rescinded, it will not result in hurting the ROTC program at NIU or anywhere else. I’m not trying to trash the SA, I just want a response.”