LSU Student Senate has spent the start of the spring semester debating several Senate resolutions regarding the university's association with Rouse’s Market. This is following retired CEO Donald Rouse Sr.’s presence at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.
The initial resolution brought to the floor addressed several student senator concerns for the protection of LSU vendors’ first amendment rights. Its authors expressed the importance for a factual evaluation of the events pertaining to Mr. Rouse's attendance at the rally.
However, the legislation faced pushback from multiple student senators questioning its relevancy to the deliberative body. Careful consideration and review led to the resolution being pulled by its authors before it reached committee.
"Several prominent members of the LSU Board," Senator Colin Raby later explained "said they weren't going to break ties and that was one of the objectives of the resolution in the first place."
However, resolution's aimed at Rouse's did not end there. A new set of senators authored a second resolution aimed at producing a statement from Rouse’s supporting “democracy, diversity, inclusion, and promotion of truth” through the LSU administration.
When the opportunity came for floor debate on the resolution, many student senators gave impassioned arguments. The main problems levied against the SGR was whether it was politically neutral. Four amendments were proposed to remedy this concern, three of which were deemed hostile and failed.
One Senator proposed a third resolution, yet to be written, addressing LSU administration to urge all vendors for similar statements. Eventually, the two hours of debate concluded for both the amendment and resolution with favorable passage in the student senate.
Both pieces of legislation in these few weeks beg the question of SG's involvement with national politics. Student Senator Harris Quadir believes these issues do impact students, yet he did recognize and stress the limitations of the Student Senate.
"Student Government as whole can't make actual policy changes," Senator Quadir said. "Simply, all we can do is advocate for the students, talk to the administrators and have these conversations."
As of now, neither the LSU administration nor Rouse’s has responded to the resolution. Regardless, the SGR authors are still hopeful for a response.
Students wanting to follow more Senate endeavors, can head to the LSU Student Government webpage for information here.