The Associated Students of Cerritos College Senate took the non-religious invocation, discussion item presented by board member Zurich Lewis on Wednesday, Sept. 2 and voted to not support this proposal by a landslide in a 19 to two vote.
Non-religious invocation is a call for wisdom or call for authority, Lewis stresses that in this case it would be non-religious.
Student trustee Victor Villalobos asked for the board of trustees to hold off on its decision about the matter until the student senators in ASCC gathered the viewpoints of the students.
The viewpoints were gathered, analyzed and discussed within voting senators.
Senator Gloria Sedano said, “I think two senators voted for having religious invocation because they thought that it would promote inclusiveness for other religions.”
However, the senator is one of the 19 voters that stand against non-religious invocation.
She said, “I voted against non-religious invocation because I think it’s a loophole toward religious invocation, which is actually offensive toward other religions.”
Using parliamentary procedure, a procedure that prevents one side to dominate discussion, Ivan Oryarzabal, ASCC vice president, allowed for the item to be discussed.
Senator Daniel Flores also stood against non-religious invocation.
He said, “I’m opposed to it only because there’s laws like separation from church and state and a lot of the students here feel that we shouldn’t bring [invocation] in the first place. We believe that our board of trustees have more important things to do than doing stuff like that.”
Board member Lewis was appreciative of ASCC Senate’s stance, but he believes he will continue to pursue non-religious invocation.
Lewis said, “I am happy to hear and consider the opinions of everyone even if it is diametrically opposed to my own. That is the beauty of a college, a marketplace of ideas. However, there is a strong minority within that senate whose voices must also be heard in our continued dialogue on this issue both at the board table as well as outside the boardroom.”
The minority voices, Lewis spoke about was the two senators that decided to vote for it.
Sedano said, “It was almost a unanimous vote, the two senators that voted for it were senators Adrian Gomez and Alyssa Chavez.”
During the board meeting when Lewis brought up non-religious invocation, board member John Paul Drayer was worried about getting a possible lawsuit because of the proposal.
President Dr. Jose Fierro assured Drayer and the rest of the board that if non-religious invocation does go through that it will be done in a legal matter.
Flores said, “We already say the pledge of allegiance and already do other ceremonious things I think that the agenda is so packed, we will be wasting time on that to bring the whole campus into it, that makes some students uncomfortable.”