GVSU student government reinstates Pledge of Allegiance at meetings

Posted at 10:43 AM, Nov 19, 2019

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State University’s student government has reinstated the Pledge of Allegiance to its meeting agenda.

The Student Senate voted last Thursday to remove it from the agenda. Those in support of removing it said it doesn’t represent everyone and puts people in an uncomfortable situation when they don’t want to stand.

The decision was met with a lot of backlash from students, alumni and the community.

On Tuesday, the Student Senate said it will reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance to its meeting agendas.

“After considering feedback brought to the body, students, and the University, we contemplated the many diverse perspectives of students and stakeholders and, through deliberative dialogue, we worked to find a solution that we believe will meet the needs of all students,” a statement reads.

Tuesday, student senate president Eric-John Szczepaniak made the sole decision to bring the Pledge of Allegiance back after lots of backlash.

Ryan Fritz, the vice president for the Student Senate told FOX 17, "We were at a point of contention, and at that point, (Szczepaniak) decided that given everything that had gone on, given the ramifications, given the fallout, given the pushback, that it was the right decision to give back students the decision to either stand or not stand."

Student senator Dorian Thompson, speaking for himself, told FOX 17 he's relieved the pledge is back although he understand the intent of its removal. He there is a compromise.

"Students who might not believe that the United States of America represents them can have a time and place to just reflect on their own personal identity," he said.

Thompson added, "I think that's a good compromise to make sure everyone's feeling included and has a seat at the table."

A university spokesperson says the student senate makes its own agenda, and handles its own discussions and that the university supports their right to debate and vote on issues.