Cory Schroeder, who had served in Afghanistan and is a senior in
business administration at the Laramie campus, said the vice
president of the Associated Students admonished him not to open
meetings with the pledge because it might offend other elected
members of the student council.
Schroeder's account was publicized this week by a conservative
higher-education watchdog group called Campus Reform and later
picked up by the Fox News Channel and other media outlets.
Representatives of the university and its independent student
government have denied that Schroeder, a former president of the
University of Wyoming College Republicans, was banned from reciting
“That’s just patently untrue. Nothing is preventing anyone from
standing up in a meeting saying anything,” university spokesman Chad
The Associated Students vice president, Ricardo Lind-Gonzalez, said
his off-the-cuff advice to Schroeder was meant to show consideration
for international students in attendance, not to impinge on
Schroeder's freedom to express his patriotism.
“It wasn’t supposed to be a form of suppression or discouragement,”
Lind-Gonzalez, a senior majoring in elementary education, told
Reuters on Friday.
He said Schroeder was advised that if he felt strongly about the
issue, he could introduce a proposal to require the pledge to be
recited at the start of all student council meetings.
Schroeder, still a member of the Wyoming Army National Guard, said
he would do just that, and the student body's two dozen-plus members
will vote on the measure in September, according to Lind-Gonzalez.
[to top of second column]
Schroeder said on Friday that the issue has elicited hundreds of
emails and Facebook messages from military veterans and others
expressing support for him and outrage over what he described as a
“ban” on the pledge.
University President Dick McGinity, who served in Vietnam as a U.S.
Navy aviator, said he welcomed Schroeder's proposal.
“As a fellow veteran, but speaking for myself only, I would like for
all meetings of student government to begin with the (pledge),” he
said in a statement.
Lind-Gonzalez and Baldwin said student council members had routinely
recited the pledge at their gatherings in the past but in recent
years had discontinued the practice for reasons not entirely clear.
(By Steve Gorman; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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