Law students vote to extend discussion on hate group policy

Mike Johnson, a Student Bar Association senator, speaks about retracting the hate group memo Tuesday. Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Matthew Kwiecinski.

The GW Law School’s student senate opted to continue discussion on a proposed policy for adding safeguards against the appearance of hate groups on campus at the body’s meeting Tuesday.

A motion to remove the Student Bar Association Senate’s memo of support for the proposal, which was raised by third-year law student and SBA senator Mike Johnson, was amended to extend debate on the policy.

“I think that we can all benefit from learning more of what the student body thinks of the proposal,” Johnson said. “I think we can take more time on something of this importance.”

In the first meeting of the 2012-2013 SBA senate, the body voted unanimously in favor of two amendments to the memo, clarifying that while this year’s senate voted in favor of the policy, next year’s members refrained from taking a position until the fall, after further discussion between the student body and faculty regarding the policy. Two senators abstained from the vote.

Third-year law student Samantha Ames proposed the “hate speech” policy in March after an encounter with a representative from the Family Research Council that allegedly turned into verbal harassment.

The policy would alert event-goers when “hate groups” come to campus – as defined by two civil rights organizations – and call for increased security at these events.

A.J. Huber, a third-year law student and SBA senator, proposed the two amendments to Johnson’s motion following a 30-minute debate among senators over the impact of stripping support completely.

“Tabling our position until the fall makes the most sense,” third-year law student and SBA senator Sam Stone said before the vote. “If we let it sit for a few months and we think about it and we talk about it and we go through and really have a good discussion about it, I’d rather have the time to do that.”

If the SBA approves the policy in the fall, a faculty committee then must sign off on the proposal before it could take effect.

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