Comments and Questions from Listening Session with Bruce
We have all likely had experience of marginalization. For example, partner’s benefits are taxed while spouse’s benefits are not. Our policy predates the changed WA law requiring registration of domestic partners. This has an impact of about $300-400 per year in extra taxes paid.
It is important to consider the role of benefits for existing employees as well as for recruiting potential employees.
There are some small fixes that could help, such as formal acknowledgement of LGBTA on the diversity web page. We should acknowledge LGBT in same way that other groups are acknowledged, eg in welcoming receptions.
Retention of faculty and students: fear that waxing and waning of energy of the student LGBT Association doesn’t give institutional weight to academic support issues and actions. Need assessment of whether it is an issue. Max and Arlene Lewis did a study of activist LGBT students sense of well being, which indicated that it took a dive in the aftermath of I-200 (initiative regarding affirmative action). Only 140 of all universities in country have academic programs for LGBT.
A survey indicated that LGBT students who had just started at WWU did not find a connection and didn’t come back for winter quarter. Students who come out during college need special support with academic and family issues.
Need to remember to ask what our climate is like. Just asking creates a connection. Last campus climate study was in 1992.
The Chick Fil A issue was discussed: We have a sense that we weren’t heard. We raised it as early as February and there was lots of exchange of information both ways, but no reflection. This sort of affiliation tears at social fabric of community – a pretty experienced group of learned people brought the recommendation against the contract. Corporate responsibility is lacking. What are the ethics of saying that they don’t discriminate on campus, when they discriminate off campus and we can only control what they do on campus.
What is the function and role of the LGBT Concerns Committee on campus? The same as veteran’s groups, MEC, others? We don’t expect that our recommendations will always be accepted, but the handling of the Chick Fil A issue challenged our confidence that they will be considered.
There are policies that promote safe spaces. But we often get lost in policies – and specific actions may not be taken. Those who access intramurals resources don’t welcome the groups (eg students w disabilities or whatever). Staff and others don’t intervene when negative or derogatory comments are made on fields. Training and education are needed.
Women feel uncomfortable in the Rec center weight area. Use of showers and bathrooms, can be uncomfortable for LGBT students – but also for parents with young children of opposite gender. It would be good to have more private unisex restrooms.
The Committee provided three documents for information: (1) LGBTCC mission statement; (2) two letters from committee members that were sent to the presidential search committee regarding presidential leadership.