Office of the President

Meetings: 2003 (2.10) | The President’s Commission for LGBT Issues

Meeting Minutes for Monday, February 10, 2003

Vicky Foxworth, Sandra Greer, Nancy Harris, Luke Jensen, Karen Kimmel, Marilee Lindemann, Nichole Maiman, Michael Marcuse, Raul Medina, Linda Valli, Nancy Yeroshefsky

Guests: Monet Bailey

I. Welcome New Members
Vicky welcomed name withheld, a graduate student in Criminology, as a new PCLGBTI member. Name Withheld spoke to the Commission in December on transgender issues.

II. Approval of Minutes
The Commission approved the minutes from the December 2002 meeting.

III. Statewide and City of College Park LGBT Issues and Outlook
Vicky first introduced Jon Kaplan, Executive Director of Free State Justice, who began his current position on December 1, 2002. Free State is a non-profit lobbying organization very interested in helping pass bills and referenda aiding LGBT equity in the state of Maryland.

Jon stressed that due to the recent change in government administration there is much uncertainty in the state’s LGBT climate; fortunately, Maryland is now one of thirteen states where LGBT persons may not be discriminated in public places. FSJ has not yet met with Governor Erlich, who received a failing grade from HRC on his voting history while in the House, and Jon and his associates will use the next month to decide on a meeting strategy. Jon also mentioned that there seems to be much initial support for Erlich throughout the LGBT community, though many people/groups (including Log Cabin Republicans) held off on their endorsements until just before the election.

FSJ’s primary goals under Jon’s tenure are to put “gender identity or expression” into state- and city-wide policies, hopefully introducing a bill to the House during the next session; and to build fieldwork advocacy groups that place LGBT representatives in each county and local municipality.

Vicky then introduced Eric Olsen, a five-year member of the College Park City Council, who expressed a desire to have the city become more involved with campus LGBT issues. Eric revealed that College Park’s non-discrimination policy does not include “sexual orientation,” although the language will now be easy to adopt as it is part of state law. Along with working on drafting hate crime legislation, he is creating a joint task force between the police forces of the University and Prince Georges County to make the area safer for all residents, as well as pushing for a city police force.

Jon stated that Eric recently approached FSJ about truly making a difference in College Park, and the two will work together as their groups move forward.

Commission members then began to discuss domestic partner benefits with the two representatives. Vicky stressed that the Commission has been fighting for DP benefits since 1994, but is concerned their work will now be for naught with the new state administration in place. Luke attested that Chancellor Kerwin is not altogether pessimistic about the passing of those benefits, although all issues will be at a standstill until the University budget is under control, and Governor Erlich appoints the new Chair of the Board of Regents. Eric stated that the City of College Park and Prince Georges County will work together with the Commission on fighting for DP benefits.

IV. Review Updated Guidelines
Due to a computer malfunction, the updated guidelines were unfortunately lost. Commission members present edited the original version, and Nichole will make all necessary changes.

Upon completion, the guidelines will be sent to all campus deans, directors, and department chairs with a letter explaining their importance.

V. Updates

  • Vicky will be meeting with Dr. Mote on Tuesday to discuss the Commission’s objectives and accomplishments.
  • There will be a meeting Thursday with the four consultants working on the LGBT climate study.
  • PCLGBTI meetings will now only be held for 1½ hours, with the last half hour utilized for Queer Central meetings. Queer Central is a group consisting of leaders of campus LGBT organizations and programs.
  • Marilee stressed the importance of Commissioner attendance at the LGBT Studies Program lecture series. The first lecturer, José Esteban Muñoz, will be speaking on Monday, February 17, 4:00pm, in Tawes 2154.
  • Luke will discuss Pride Days at the next Commission meeting. He urged department leaders to consider programming for the event to be held April 1-18.