Office of the President

Meetings: 2011 (1.24) | The President’s Commission for LGBT Issues

PCLGBTI Meeting Minutes
January 24, 2011

2234 McKeldin Library

In attendance: Jamie Adasi, Joan Bellsey, Bob Mueck, Shaunna Payne Gold, Mark Brimhall-Vargas, Noah Drezner, Jay Garvey, Luke Jensen, Demetrius Colvin, Joanna Damiano, Nick Sakurai, Hannah Wu, JV Sapinoso, Penny Jacobs, Nancy Yeroshefsky, Karess Taylor-Hughes, Spencer Brennen, Craig Leets, Stepahanie Chang, Natalia Cuadra, Tanner Wray, Laura Scott, Daniel Hayes, Marilee Lindemann, Tosh Patterson, Coke Farmer

I. Introductions – including various students who are new to the Commission.

II. Agenda Review

III. Updates from Tanner

Lots of activity since December around the Town Halls - Mark will be reporting

President’s briefing:

• Met with Luke and Marilee, and also Sally Koblinsky to get ready.

• Meeting is Jan 31 - President, Tanner, Luke, Marilee, Sally Koblinsky, Meghan Gibbons (President’s speech writer) will attend [note: meeting was later rescheduled to February 10]

• Will review Commission, LGBT Equity and LGBT Studies

• Expect Q&A mostly

• Main topics:

o Introduce key LGBT areas/programs on campus (Commission, LGBT Equity, LGBT Studies)

o Town Hall (why needed/purpose - talking points from subcommittee)

o Partner benefits

o Gender identity and expression (importance of president's ongoing support and being able to quote it)

o How the Commission partners with him.

Brooke has a standing conflict for meeting time of Mondays 10:30-noon. We may need to look at our schedule. Also discussed were conflicts for March and April meetings.

IV. Mid-Year check in discussed at last meeting

Receive input on how the year is going for people…

Tanner noted that this year came in with a lot of energy. Some subcommittees have really gotten going (Town Hall), while others have not.

» This may not be what people expected – it is a significant change from the way the Commission operated in the past.

o Are people feeling overwhelmed?

o Feels like people feel empowered to work on long-standing needs that people were experiencing.

» Sees Commission as an umbrella, with lots of work going on without strong control from the top.

» Membership question – have we gotten too big? Adding students as we stated we wanted, still trying to increase diversity.

o Terms still not effectively staggered to get continuity – returning members were appointed for 2 years, new members for 3 years, and students for 1 year. Comments from others:

Comments from group members...


• As a new student here, I feel I have as much freedom to get involved as I want, and that is good for me.

• Very different environment from past years, particularly the student involvement. Not much contact with student issues, not sure what I can contribute. Concerned that we might not have enough staff representation now.

• Great that we have students involved, but we only have grad students from the CSP program. Why aren’t others interested?

• Membership increase in students can be maintained by recruiting this semester for next year, not waiting until summer or fall.

• For students, being invited or asked to come is key.

• Should connect with all the student organizations to get names and invites out. President Loh should send a letter to all staff and faculty explaining that the Commissions exist and what their purpose is. Could be posted on the web site.

• There are five CSP grad students present – need to have more strategic appointments from other Schools/Colleges and departments.

• The Commission needs to keep the “prestige” factor attached. It should be okay to say “thanks but no thanks” to those who are interested/have shown up. They can work as part of a committee/task force without being part of the Commission as a whole. That could be a step on the way up to being on the advisory board.

• People should bring some capital with them.

• As a student group leader, I want to know what I can do to get more involvement. Viewed this as a very prestigious group.

• Growth in student attendance was a result of the question at the first meeting, “What do students think,” and there were no students here to answer.

• You do want consistent representation, not a drop-in/drop-out attendance.

• Concerned about getting too big – don’t think we want to just get as big as we can.

• We don’t get a lot of guidance about how Commissions should work. Moving into next year we will need to be more intentional.

• Suggest that each student group be represented, not necessarily by leader, but by member who has time to commit.

• Diversity in all aspects is important, but ultimately you need people willing to show up and do the work.

• Maybe get in touch with members who don’t come and find out why.

• Great to have alum join us, we should make sure we get with Riggs [Alumni Association] to possibly get less recent alumni as well.

• When I got a “thanks for volunteering to be on the Commission” letter, didn’t know what this was or why I was on it.


• I strategically selected a committee to work on because I need for my work to ease up after February, so I’m doing the Town Hall.

• Committee format favorable for students who can’t commit to the whole Commission, but can do discrete projects. Like the feeling of making a difference, of doing something concrete.

• Need to review the plan for the rest of the semester. Some committees haven’t met.

• The overall structure with the small groups/task forces should be a structure we look at closely – do we need to have some standing committees on those issues that will be lasting (e.g., gender identity, technology needs).

• Caution that we don’t take on tasks as a Commission that should be someone’s job (e.g. web site).

• Some committees have done lots, some haven’t. After the Town Hall, we can re-organize around issues that emerge.

• Maybe the heads of the committees should meet together/coordinate.


• Need to consider new room to meet in – something bigger. Those with suggestions to contact Tanner directly (Annapolis Hall, Stamp, Maryland Room, etc.)

• In coalition with other Commissions, perhaps we should ask for some financial support.

• The web site, in particular, isn’t a one-time development project. Would rather have a not-so-fancy looking site that is constantly supported and changed.

• We could be getting information out if the President provided resources. Asking for support piecemeal works.


• This was created as an “advisory” group and given no resources to suit the former president.

• We are at a moment of profound institutional transition. Observation and communication about this are our top tasks.

• Generally extremely pleased with the energy of the group and hoping for continuity.

• In my years here, didn’t hear much about the Commission and what it does. Should be more outreach and awareness.

• Lots of students don’t see the effort/work behind the scenes that is done to support them. Maybe if they were aware, it would increase their participation in their own communities.

• Diamondback piece that Mark and Shaunna did last year was good for visibility.

• Are we planning Diamondback and Between the Columns coverage or ad space?

• We have built an LGBT infrastructure (Equity office, LGBT studies) that we didn’t have when the Commission was started. This is a measure of our success. Need to remember that our purpose is to advise the President.

• Positive impact of Tanner’s leadership, organization, and information sharing was recognized.

V. Town Hall Sub-Committee Update

A. Sub-committee met in January, discussed logistics and “what the town hall experience should be.”

1. Decided to collect RSVPs from VIPs only – invitation has been sent. Not collecting general audience RSVPs; was viewed as a logistical complication without great benefit.

B. Stamp Marketing is doing their process but there are things left to do:

1. Publicity. Getting information out to those we want to get out there. Sending each commission member the 8½ x 11 announcement. Let Mark know if there are particular places we need to send the flyer.

2. Security. Committee hasn’t been successful reaching Police liaison. Bob Mueck volunteered to both connect with her and be present at the events. (a) Are we expecting trouble? Yes, but of an ordinary nature. Not something we can’t handle.

3. Need Commission members to take notes for both town halls.

(a) This involves sitting at a table facing the audience and taking notes on what speakers say.

(b) Brooke will be scribing notes that appear on projected screen.

(c) Note takers will have access to the presentation before it is made. Areas of concentration include:

1. Safety, comfort and inclusion

2. Multiple identities

3. Attracting and retaining students, faculty and staff.

(d) Presenters, Shaunna Payne Gold, Hannah Wu & Natalia Cuadra are working to whittle down the content to a 10-minute presentation with a 5-minute Q &A. There will be a timekeeper at the event.

4. Need 1-2 people to watch for VIPs so Tanner can recognize them in his remarks.

C. Reminder: Event is on February 24.

1. Prince George’s Room in the Stamp Student Union.

(a) 3:30-5:30 FAC/STAFF.


2. President Loh will be present for the first half and hour of each.

D. The town halls will be recorded. Video will record only the front half of the PG room, not the back, in order to protect people. It is will also serve as a resource for those who could not attend and helpful in general to have a record.

VI. President’s Briefing on Jan. 31.

Luke, Marilee & Tanner Tanner, Luke and Marilee will provide an update/background that is brief in nature. The main portion of the briefing will be questions, answers and discussion. Luke will bring a copy of the Campus Pride report for the President. No other written materials will be provided. The President’s speechwriter will be present to assist in developing his remarks for the Town Hall.

VII. Announcements

A. On February 15 at 7:30, presentation of “City of Borders” (Noah has details,

B. LGBT Studies lecture series announcement (Marilee has details,

C. Student trip to National Portrait Gallery on Saturday (Nick has details,

D. Weekly lunches in Equity office 11:30 – 12:30 (Nick has details,

E. Big Rainbow Terrapin Network reception planned. The program is being updated and re-launched.

F. Bill Ayers speaking on February 10.

G. New GA in Equity Office – Vanessa – not present but looking forward to meeting us.

H. LGBT Studies has moved (again) to 2417 Marie Mount

I. Dan Savage on campus on Thursday. Not a sponsored event – will be seeking to do interviews in multiple locations (Stamp, Health Center…)