A University of Wyoming student protested against his school’s student government after they decided to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited before meetings.
Army Staff Sergeant Cory Schroeder was just recently elected as a senator in the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming government. The six-year Army veteran, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, recently learned of the ASUW’s policy to not allow the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited before meetings out of concern that it would offend international students.
Instead of just adhering to the policy, however, Schroeder decided to stand up for what he believes in and protest against the school’s policy.
“Multiple senators sat me down and said it was a ‘very touchy subject’ and ‘we don’t want to offend anybody,’” said Schroeder.
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The veteran says that he was instructed to write a bill asking for a 20-second allocation of time before each meeting for the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited, but he did not feel that was a thoughtful solution.
“If you look at any constitution that governs a student body, there’s no law, there’s no bill that states you must give 20 seconds to say the Pledge of Allegiance and there shouldn’t be,” said Schroeder.
Following the story becoming national news, University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity, himself a Vietnam veteran, made a statement saying that although he supports Schroeder’s efforts, he himself cannot do anything to change the policy.
“As a fellow veteran, but speaking for myself only, I would like for all meetings of student government to begin with the Pledge of Allegiance. But this is not up to me,” said McGinity. “ASUW is an independent student organization with its own procedures and rules of conduct, and these elected student leaders make their own decisions. I respect that. The ASUW leaders have indicated that there is a process they intend to follow, and I expect that they will do so."
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In the end, it appears that Schroeder’s efforts to get the policy changed may only be successful if he writes a bill and goes through the standard democratic process.
“What they have is a meeting template that they follow that is written into their rules,” University of Wyoming spokesperson Chad Baldwin said. “They need a vote from the student senate to change it.”