Office of the President

Meetings: 2002 (11.18) | The President’s Commission for LGBT Issues

Meeting Minutes from Monday, November 18, 2002


Roger Candelaria, Roberta Coates, Paul Dillon, Vicky Foxworth, Elizabeth Hagofsky, Jim Harris, Luke Jensen, Karen Kimmel, Marilee Lindemann, Nichole Maiman, Raul Medina, Martha Nell Smith, Daryle Williams, Nancy Yeroshefsky

Guests: Laura Scott, Trisha Schlusser

I. Welcome
Vicky welcomed Nichole Maiman, the new graduate assistant to the PCLGBTI, and Trisha Schlusser, Luke Jensen’s new graduate assistant in the Office of LGBT Equity.

II. Review 2002-2003 goals

  • Continue to work on domestic partner benefits
  • Continue to work on education – the Commission will split into subcommittees to work on the “guidelines” project
  • Learn about the transgender community
  • Vicky asked Luke to invite a panel of transgender people to the Commission at the December meeting
  • Introduce “transgender” into the Human Relations Code
  • Create an assessment of the University LGBT faculty and staff population regarding comfort and safety in the workplace

III. Update on the election and its implications for DP benefits
Incoming Maryland governor Robert Erlich does not have a good track record on LGBT issues: he has been very hostile in the past to LGBT interest groups, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, and refused to support hate crime legislation. Although he promised HRC that his office would adopt a non-discrimination policy, Erlich’s new position with the UM system means that this is not the right time for the Board of Regents to vote on extending domestic partner benefits.

  • Actions the Commission could take:
  • Vicky will schedule a meeting with Chancellor Kirwan next semester to encourage support for domestic partner benefits (Martha will create a one-page bio on Erlich for these meetings)
  • Vicky will continue to encourage Dr. Mote to press forward on this issue with the other USM presidents
  • Invite someone from Free State (the Maryland LGBT lobbying organization) to speak to the Commission (Vicky will contact them for the January meeting)
  • Insist on Erlich making public statements regarding his stance on LGBT issues

IV. Update on the Senate Human Relations Committee
Luke met with the Senate Human Relations Committee this past month (the second time this calendar year) to discuss the inclusion of the words “gender identity or expression” into the University’s Human Relations Code. There was much less resistance towards this issue than last spring; only one person on the committee raised negative concerns. The chair of this committee even made the important comparison of transgender concerns to disability issues.

The Human Relations Committee will need to make a decision and create a proposal for the Executive Committee before this issue even gets to the Senate voting floor; the Commission must educate the senators on transgender issues prior to the vote. In addition, President Mote has the final decision regarding the Code. Therefore, he should be contacted to discuss his support on the issue; if he publicly endorses the proposal, the Senate will be more likely to agree.

Vicky will contact the Senate Human Relations Committee to let them know that the Commission supports a proposal from them.

V. Debrief Fred Phelps visit and the planned activities resulting from the “Speak Out”

  • The Commission acknowledged and thanked Elizabeth Hagofsky and Nichole Maiman for their tremendous efforts in helping the students organize the planned events in response to Fred Phelps’ protest. Paul Dillon was also thanked for his role in keeping the community safe.
  • Members of the Commission gave students at the “Speak Out” the opportunity to discuss what they would like to do regarding Phelps’s visit. It also created an environment for new people to get involved in LGBT and ally issues, as all four of the President’s Commissions were sponsoring the events as a collected stance against hate crimes
  • The button campaign went extremely well; 20,000 buttons were distributed with additional requests for potentially thousands more. Faculty and staff were enormously helpful in distributing buttons and getting others involved
  • Paul was very encouraged regarding both the Phelps protest and student counter-protests over the Homecoming weekend. No one was injured, the counter-protests were very positive, and only one student (unconnected to the counter-protests) was arrested
  • The fundraiser garnered approximately $5,000 in pledges and donations. Donors are now being contacted to collect these funds
  • Dean Harris stressed the significance of how far the campus population has come with regard to LGBT issues over the last 30 years of his tenure. Even several years ago, such a positive and unified response to such shameless displays of hatred would not have been possible on this campus. We should be very proud of how far we have come and the efforts of all involved.

VI. Qualitative study of the climate for LGBT faculty and staff
Guest Laura Scott from the Office for Organizational Effectiveness discussed the creation of a research study to assess workplace comfort level for UMD LGBT faculty and staff. The Commission brainstormed ideas, and the consensus was reached for a qualitative study, rather than quantitative. Therefore, there will have to be confidential, personal interviews with a cross-section of faculty and staff (whether they identify as LGBT or not). Interviews will have to be from different academic and non-academic departments, as well as have different hierarchical positions.

The Commission also discussed whether or not to include graduate student staff, as they are part of the UMD workforce. Elizabeth suggested contacting social science departments to see if there were any studies currently being conducted on this issue.

The Commission also spoke about different ways to promote the study. Due to literacy levels, time constraints, and the like, it was very difficult to decide on one way to reach all employees. Some ideas included a bilingual flier posted in offices with directions to access the website, and a paycheck stuffer.

VII. Determine subgroups to take the next steps on the "guideline" projects
Vicky and Nichole will create these groups and contact the Commission with their assignments.

VIII. Prepare for the next meeting (December 9 from 3:00 - 5:00, 0120 Nyumburu)
Luke has invited three transgender guests to the Commission’s December meeting between 4:00-5:00 for discussion. He will contact the Commission with articles and websites to learn more about transgender issues in advance of the meeting.

IX. Announcements

  • Roberta announced that there is a new set of campus guidelines for search and selection procedures, which incorporated many of the ideas and resources provided last year from the Commission, listed on the Personnel website to help recruit members of the LGBT community. The Equity Council also changed the EEOC card, in part based on Commission recommendations.
  • Elizabeth will contact Ash regarding the status of the “Transgender Bathroom Project.” Vicky will invite Brent Flynn, Associate Director of Facilities, to the December meeting to discuss this issue.

X. Action items for December meeting

  • Vicky will schedule her semester meeting with Dr. Mote
  • Vicky will call Gay on the Senate Human Resources Committee to say the PCLGBTI endorses the inclusion of “gender identity or expression” in the HR Code, and encourages the Senate HR Committee to move their proposal to the Senate Executive Committee.
  • Luke will forward information on the transgender community for review by the commissioners in preparation for the December meeting
  • Vicky will invite Brent Flynn from CRC to the December meeting
  • Vicky and Nichole will create subcommittees for the “guidelines” project
  • Martha Neil will create a one-page fact sheet on Robert Erlich for Vicky to give to Drs. Mote and Kirwan