University stance on HJR-6: Stand back

Zane Clodfelter

This paper reported last week that the University of Southern Indiana has no plan to publicly take a position on the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state of Indiana, otherwise known as HJR-6.

As an Indiana taxpayer, I couldn’t be happier that my university is doing what all public state universities should be doing: staying out of it and letting the elected legislators decide for the voters.

With USI being a public institution, the university receives funds courtesy of tax dollars from Hoosiers all over the state. Whether a citizen in this state wants their money to be sent here for whatever expense, it doesn’t matter, it happens anyway.

Out of respect to those who send their hard-earned cash to this university, and other public universities around the state, revere our rights to decide for ourselves whether or not the bill is a good or bad for this state. Hoosiers are smart and resourceful. We don’t need universities telling us whether something is good or bad, we can decide that independently.

Indiana University announced that they would join the coalition called Freedom Indiana, which is dedicated to defeating the house amendment, and private institutions, such as Wabash and DePauw, have also joined.

Private institutions can support anything they want to, in my opinion, because they are privately funded. Someone who may disagree with those universities doesn’t support those schools through their tax dollars.

I find it frustrating that my tax dollars, which enable Indiana University to operate, could be used to support something that I’m not willing to. If someone wants to support this cause from IU individually, fine, but to make a blanket statement saying the whole university supports it is somewhat annoying.

We elect legislators to send to Indianapolis that mirror our values and traditions, here, in this state. With that said, isn’t this entire university out-cry a little pointless? People are going to support what they feel deep inside. A university’s stance isn’t going to sway a lot of people—including legislators.

Legislators aren’t going to care what those at Indiana University, DePauw and Wabash think. Most university leaders have diverse backgrounds. What works in one place may not work in another, so why bother? Indiana isn’t California or Massachusetts. We live in a different environment and a different surrounding.

I trust the legislators and their decision when this bill is presented to the General Assembly in January. There is a reason why we elected these politicians to represent us.

At least USI gives me the opportunity to make up my own mind without trying to sway me by joining some coalition that won’t make one bit of difference. When it’s all said and done, those at the statehouse in Indianapolis will decide. That’s the way it was meant to be.