- Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A student veteran wants to hear the Pledge of Allegiance recited at University of Wyoming student government meetings.

Cory Schroeder, a first-time member of the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, said he will submit a proposal for a vote next fall to recite the pledge at meetings, although he disagrees that a vote should be required.

“I don’t think the Pledge of Allegiance is an agenda item that should be passed by two-thirds votes,” Schroeder, of Wright, said. “I don’t think 15 seconds for a couple patriots to say the pledge disrupts anything.”

The group now reads its mission statement at the start of meetings.

Changing that practice would require a vote of the full Senate, said Ahmed Balogun, president of the student group.

Balogun said he didn’t know the history of the pledge in UW student government but noted the pledge had not been recited in the three years he has been involved with it.

Schroeder said that while he disagrees a vote should be required to allow students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, he respects the organization’s process.

There were different accounts about why the pledge isn’t recited.

Schroeder has been quoted by some media outlets as saying student government leaders told him the pledge wasn’t recited because it might offend international students.

Ricardo Lind-Gonzales, vice president of the student group, said that he talked with Schroeder in April about why the group did not recite the pledge before meetings but that he did not tell Schroeder it was because the practice could offend international students.

“I told him it could very well do that, but that’s not why it’s not happening,” Lind-Gonzalez told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1uFZ3tg ).

Lind-Gonzales said the group’s leadership is willing to work with Schroeder.

Balogun, a native of Nigeria and an international student, said he had no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance being recited if the Senate approves it.

UW President Dick McGinity, a Vietnam War veteran, said in a statement that he personally would like all student government meetings to begin with the Pledge of Allegiance.

“But this is not up to me,” McGinity said in the statement. “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.”

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