Meetings: 2004 (1.16) | The President’s Commission for LGBT Issues
President’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues
Jan. 16, 2004 – Nyumburu Cultural Center
NOTE: NEXT MEETING FEBRUARY 11, Nyumburo Cultural Center, Room 0120 1:30 – 3:00
Meeting called to order at approximately 1:36 p.m.
Members present: Monette Bailey, Joan Bellsey, Cherina Booker, Roger Candelaria, Jan Davis, Paul Dillon, Colleen Farmer, Vicky Foxworth, Chris Higgins, Luke Jensen, Karen Kimmel, Marilee Lindemann, Edna Mora Szymanski, Ruth Waalkes, Kevin Fries, Robert Waters, Ron Zeigler
Vicky Foxworth opened the meeting with a welcome and congratulated Coke on her 20th Anniversary and Karen on her recent engagement.
- Meeting with Irv Goldstein was cancelled but Vicky will get back on his calendar.
- Response of the President’s Commision on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues to the Climate Report issued on March 21, 2003, by the Campus Assessment Working Group (CAWG) handed out by Luke Jensen.
Campus Assessment Working Group
The Campus Assessment Working Group (CAWG) was created in 1996 and is a deliberate blending of the assessment and quality agendas. CAWG is charged with developing a campus "Culture of Evidence" in which data and assessment play a key role in campus decision making. The current “Culture of Evidence” indicates that there are several issues facing LGBT students within, and outside of, the LGBT community. In order to address the needs of LGBT students, the Commission is drafting a memo to be given to Rob Waters indicating the chief problems and suggested plans of action. Rob is responsible for pulling together all responses to the CAWG report and meeting with the Cabinet.
After Commission member read the CAWG Response, discussion began over the format the response should take and what items needed to be included.
Members felt that the current response needed to prioritize its needs. Without dates, the University can simply let the recommendations sit. Members suggested a 1 to 2 year perspective to be followed by a 3 to 5 year list of objectives.
Luke explained that in drafting the Response, he and the group looked beyond the CAWG, utilizing the National Gay and Lesbian Family Study by Suzanne M. Johnson, Ph.D. and the Council for the Advancement of Standards and Guidelines. They felt that CAWG was a little too general and they wanted to actualize concrete ways of resolving the issues, for example who would be responsible for recommendations if they are implemented? i.e., Admissions should be responsible for recruitment and retention of LGBT students. Luke also stated that they had decided against the use of footnotes due to concern over the response length.
Commission members agreed that shorter was better and suggested the use of bullets to highlight the issues. Edna Szymanski said that when she, and other higher-ups, have to read something they want it to be kept simple. They want to know what the issue is, why they should care, and what they should do about it. Using bullets should serve to draw attention to these points.
Rob Waters arrived at 2:00 p.m. and confirmed that the document will be incorporated into the entire CAWG response and go to the Cabinet. Therefore, it should be short (less than 3 pages) and action oriented. He suggested 4 to 6 items that would really make a difference at the Cabinet level and then trickle down.
Members then further discussed the role of the Commission. They asked why they don’t have more say. Vicky informed the members that she and Rob were meeting with President Mote on Wednesday which will ensure that the Commission does have a say. Having the ear of the President will indicate that this is high on the agenda and will dove-tail with the Dean’s Council meeting in February. In addition, writing the CAWG response further ensures that the Commission is heard.
Members then discussed the format and contents of the response. Several versions of the issues and debate over the bullet points followed.
Versions of the Issue:
- Making campus welcoming and safe for LGBT students: CAWG indicates the campus needs to improve.
- The campus must be a safe, supportive and welcoming climate for LGBT students. (other adjectives brought up include, affirming, educationally worthy, academically rigorous)
- The campus must be a safe, supportive, and welcoming climate for all students, especially those in the LGBT community.
- The University has a responsibility to provide all students a quality education. I n order to provide LGBT students with a safe, supportive and welcoming climate, we recommend…
Luke said all students should leave campus with an understanding and experiences with diversity. Students should not be homophobic or ignorant after 4 years of school.
A bullet stating that diversity needs to be inclusive of LGBT students was suggested.
Kevin said that the University is not functioning well at all levels. i.e., education needs to be kept in the response but it also goes beyond that. It includes curriculum and support services.
- Enhance Existing Resources
- provide the Office of LGBT Equity with an Associate Director, ample space for the LGBT Resource Room to function as a congregating point for LGBT students, and funds to staff the room at least 40 hours per week
- convert Campus Programs’ Coordinator for LGBT Student Involvement and Community Advocacy from a graduate student to full-time staff.
- assign half a faculty line to LGBT Studies now with an addition half-line in tow to three years, and provide a dedicated conference/seminar room.
What Commision Wants Bullets:
- Enhance Infrastructure the Supports LGBT
- Associate Director
- LGBT Studies
- Improve Communication Across All Units (Education, Sensitivity, etc.)
- Create a liaison
- (committee decided Vicki should finish the list at this point)
Rob wants commission to speak to classroom experience (safety, variety of ways to educate inside and outside of the classroom.
- integrate LGBT issues into Core Diversity Requirements (Curriculum?)
- show a concrete effort to support LGBT program and infrastructure
- ensure that graduate leave the University with an understanding of diversity, including LGBT (Rob)
Commission members again debated the point of the response and its function. Members said that the CAWG report shows that LGBT students face a harsh environment. Luke argued that responding to CAWG should not be the goal. Rob said that the response is simply a stepping off point, a vehicle for other discussions. Vicky said it was the Commission’s opportunity to address the issues.
Luke was concerned about short shifting the liaison position. One problem is defining the liaison’s function. Kevin asked, “How would the liaison help us?” Luke said that the liaison’s job is as a point of contact for students and to help staff better assist LGBT students. There should be an expert on the issues and what students need. The liaison system has been going informally for years but it is one thing to ask someone to act as a liaison and another to actually hire someone. One reason for a liaison is to ensure that the equity officer doesn’t alleviate others of their responsibility. Edna felt that the point person should be within the units such the health center, admissions, etc. There is currently a liaison in the Career Center.
Commission members worried that they might be making the document overly complex. It needs to be general enough to be readable. The Commission has to simply get the document to Rob for approval and he will bring it to the Cabinet. Members decided that Vicky, Edna, and Coke should work together to finalize the response given the Commission’s input from this meeting.
Vicky then asked the group what their priorities were for the discussion she was scheduled to have with Dr. Mote and Rob. Members felt he should be reminded of the recent hate incidents. However, they believe their biggest concern was asking the President to work towards domestic partnership benefits. Luke said the current infrastructure is so lean its ready to topple over. Members wanted Vicky to ask for support in working with the people who have the power to implement change at the System level. Vicky and Rob said that Dr. Mote has heard the issue and is on board, but will re-emphasize it at the upcoming meeting. Luke wants the issue with the Chancellor and the meeting of the University Presidents raised. He also felt that comparing the University of Maryland to other Universities is very important. The comparison data can improve Dr. Motes argument.
Vicky said it was important to allow Dan to look good, let him be the champion.
Vicky said that this is the first time going the Commission is going to the Dean’s Council. She wondered if it would be possible to get Deans to document how many potential hires they have lost and how many faculty they have lost to other institutions as a result of not offering DP benefits. Finally, it was suggested that Vicky ask the President or Chancellor how they see the issues and what the Commission can do to help.
Kevin says it is about 300 words, and he will include a summary of the meeting along with some quotes. Monette agreed to edit.
- Since the International Federation of Gay Games has pulled out of Montreal, it appears that the DC gay games may not be happening in 2010. Montreal is still having the games but they cannot be called the gay games. There will be a team DC meeting over the issue.
- LGBT Studies is still finalizing the spring lecture series. George Chancy will be speaking on February 24th in Tawes. Specifics will be sent via e-mail. They are putting the finishing touches on the hate speech bulletin board. It will illustrate what hate speech looks like, what hate speech leads to with an archive of victims taken from the web, some of the nice responses received in lieu of the hate incidents on campus, and room for people to write.
- LGBT Faculty and Staff Climate Study – Rob met with the Cabinet. It has been approved but needs a little tweaking. There will be 12 focus groups (lesbian specific, transgender specific, and more general). Vicky asked about providing facilitators and people to take notes. In addition, administrative support is needed to help get things off the ground, help with logistics (phone calls, e-mails, etc.) The Outlook graduate assistant may be able to help.
- Vicky is meeting with the Equity Council on February 19th to discuss the Guidelines/Suggestions for the Recruitment and Hiring of LGBT Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees
- Vicky, Edna and Coke will work on composing the CAWG Response
- Vicky will get back on the calendar to talk to Irv Goldstein about DP benefits and the idea of a pilot experiment, how to proceed, etc.
- Vicky and Luke will meet with the Council of Deans on February 9th.
- Vicki will meet with President Mote and Rob Waters on January 21st.
- Kevin will finish the GLC newsletter and Monette will help him with editing.
Response of the President’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues to the Climate Report issued on March 21, 2003, by the Campus Assessment Working Group (CAWG)
- Domestic Partner Benefits
- CAWG Report Response
- GLC newsletter