Hey Wallies, Wabash community, and anyone else who happened to stumble upon this blog. For a major change of events, this blog is not going to feature goofy pictures and puns, and “serious Bode” is taking over for a little bit. For anyone on Wabash’s campus, you know that the political atmosphere is fully charged right now and has become fairly hostile. Most recently, the debate has turned to the Student Senate. Two essential issues have arisen in the past 3 days: First, whether or not President Hess has the right to claim that “Wabash College opposes HJR-6,” and secondly whether or not the members of the Student Senate have the right to claim that “the Wabash College Student Body supports President Hess.” I strongly argue that the answer is a resounding “yes” to both accounts. As an active member of the Senate, and as one of the 12 members that voted to pass the resolution, I feel a deep conviction to address this entire situation, which has not been addressed in a mature way by many of my colleagues, I’m disappointed to say.
Part 1: President Hess Represents Wabash College
President Hess represents Wabash College as an institution; there is no question of this. By definition, his position is to do just that; to make decisions that reflect Wabash. There is also no question that Wabash, as an institution, and also by definition, supports its own mission statement – to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely. The Board of Trustees, the faculty, and ultimately, the student body have entrusted President Hess to interpret the mission statement as he sees fit in his decision-making. None of this is ground-breaking information, it is simply how our college operates as an institution.
Enter HJR-6. This piece of Indiana legislation proposes to define marriage as a legal status between one man and one woman, on top of Indiana law that already prevents same-gender couples from requesting a marriage license. HJR-6 represents direct intervention of the State into the definitions of abstract ideas, and an encroachment on how Hoosiers interpret these ideas. Thinking critically about these ideas loses its value when we lose our ability to interpret them. The rejection of equity for all, and the impact HJR-6 could have on same-sex couples already living in Indiana represent direct conflicts with the ideal of living humanely.
Now if our mission statement represents Wabash College as an institution (it does), and President Hess represents Wabash College as an institution (he does), and if HJR-6 goes against the ideals of our mission statement (it does), and therefore goes against Wabash College as an institution, than as an institution, it is only LOGICAL that Wabash College opposes HJR-6. Though not every student agrees with this statement, President Hess HAS indefinitely been given the power to decide what issues coincide with Wabash’s mission statement, and therefore with Wabash College as a whole.
Anyways…on to Student Senate.