After heated debate, Student Government was unable to pass legislation to promote political inclusivity in a humorous manner by renaming the College of Liberal Arts.
Assembly Resolution 26 was in support of renaming COLA, the College of Liberal Arts, to COCACOLA, the College of Conservative Arts and the College of Liberal Arts.
Several students spoke during open forum in opposition and in support of the legislation, including members of the Liberal Arts Council and Young Conservatives of Texas. While all acknowledged that there is a problem with political discourse on campus, A.R. 26 failed with 14 votes against and 11 in favor.
“This legislation is meant to promote open-mindedness,” said Jordan Cope, author of A.R. 26 and liberal arts representative. “It’s not meant to promote one political narrative over the other.”
The name COCACOLA is intended to use humor to humanize all groups on campus while uniting them as students at the University, Cope said.
“Whatever you are, you should feel free and safe to advocate your views on campus,” said Cope, an international relations and liberal arts honors senior. “All I’m trying to do is make our campus more tolerant of all communities and all identities.”
Jordee Rodriguez, president of the Liberal Arts Council, strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that it is not taking practical solutions to encourage constructive political dialogue.
“(There are) 177 members of the Liberal Arts Council who unanimously voted against this piece of legislation,” said Rodriguez, government and rhetoric and writing senior. “(This bill is) directly going in opposition to the voices of the entire college.”
Rodriguez said A.R. 26 misconstrued the use of the term “liberal.”
“(The legislation’s) definition for liberal is completely erroneous, misplaced and misconstrued,” Rodriguez said. “Liberal arts was named in such a way because of philosophy … and the Enlightenment and new ideas.”
The legislation could be pointless because COLA may soon be renamed after a donor, Rodriguez said.
Students in favor of A.R. 26 argued that it would effectively advocate for all students on campus.
“At the end of the day, you may not hear us very often, you may not see us very often, you may not know we exist among you, but conservatives exist at UT,” said Saurabh Sharma, chairman-elect of Young Conservatives of Texas and biochemistry junior. “Whether you like it or not, they will continue to be here.”