The CLU student government passed a bill on Feb. 28 that could remove the phrase “to further Christian growth” from the ASCLU Constitution.
The bill will be voted on by the undergraduate student body.
The student senate voted 12 to 6 on the amendment to the preamble after an hour of debate among the senators and students in the audience during the meeting.
Student government member and CLU senior Jesse Knutson requested that the proposal be reviewed by a judicial review panel consisting of one administrator, one professor and three students.
After the panel reviewed it on March 7, the proposal will now be voted on by the student body.
Knutson also wanted Sandlin and Evan Clark, ASCLU president, to be removed from office, but the panel decided they will be allowed to stay in office.
A two-thirds majority vote by the undergraduate student body is necessary for the change to pass.
The amendment would change the section to read “inspire the maturity of faith and reason in an environment of Lutheran tradition.”
Along with sophomore Rebecca Cardone, junior Senator Evan Sandlin originally presented the bill and explained why the phrase needed to be changed.
“I think it doesn’t accurately reflect what our university is,” Sandlin said. “I think we are a place founded on the Lutheran tradition and Christian tradition, but we are also a place of diversity and mutual understanding and this new wording will help our constitution better reflect that.”
Sandlin felt that the preamble in its current form implies that it is the role of the student government to further Christianity on campus.
He does not see a problem with a religious reference by itself in the document, which is why the final wording in the amendment would read “Lutheran tradition” instead.
There is some concern among students and senators that backlash will occur as a result of the proposed change.
Some question what the benefit would be to adding the amendment.
“I don’t see that this amendment would do anything beneficial whatsoever for anyone at all,” sophomore and communication major Victoria Kromnick said.“I do think there is room for it to do harm; I don’t see that there is room for it to do good.”
However, some rejected this argument.
“Some people are upset about Christian being taken out; it’s just a nine-letter word,” senior Ray Ostrander said. “With this new statement, it’s more inclusive and there’s no risk of people feeling alienated.”
Assistant professor of religion Rahuldeep Gill attended the meeting at the request of Sandlin and agreed that the final wording in the amendment accurately reflected the mission statement of the university.
Gill believes that students should be able to discuss this issue amongst themselves despite the controversy it may create as a result.
For this reason a number of the senators, including Sandlin, will hold forums to get more feedback on the amendment in the upcoming weeks.
One of the concerns voiced at the meeting was that the measure could be a slippery slope that would lead to a loss of Lutheran ideals at CLU.
Ostrander is in favor of the amendment but does not want to see that happen.
“I’m not a religious person and I really hope that [CLU] does not lose its Christian values,” Ostrander said. “I think that sentiment is echoed in most people. I don’t think anyone would want to see this campus lose its Christianity.”
Published March 9, 2011