UA Regents to consider adding “sexual orientation” to non-discrimination policy
A proposed revision to University of Alaska’s non-discrimination policy to include “sexual orientation” is among a number of items to be considered during the Board of Regents two-day meeting at Lee Gorsuch Commons on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus this Thursday and Friday. About 400 public colleges and universities across the nation have adopted such policies. UA students, staff, and faculty have requested the change for years — Bent Alaska has written about it a number of times — but the Board of Regents has never taken action.
One difference now: this time the proposed change has the backing of UA President Pat Gamble. According to an article last Sunday in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,
In a short summary on the board agenda, Gamble said he recommends adding sexual orientation as a protected class. He said national trends are heading in the direction of including it as part of the already protected “gender” class, and that the federal government already lists it as a protected class in all federal employee manuals.
“With the elimination of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ from the military, the trend is clear,” the summary reads. “The time has come to acknowledge this protection explicitly.”
But one major concern: the proposed policy does not address gender identity, a protection that is just as sorely needed.
University of Alaska Anchorage’s daily faculty/staff newsletter Green and Gold News for February 8, 2011 has more complete information about the full range of issues to be discussed by the Regents during the two-day meeting. Other items on the packed agenda include two new construction projects in Anchorage and Soldotna, two new academic degree offerings, and an overall academic master plan. See the complete agenda at the Regents’ website.
Public testimony about the non-discrimination policy (or any other business on the Regents’ agenda) will be taken in the morning on both days. Here’s the basic info from the Regents’ website:
- Date/time: February 17, 2011, 10:00 AM and February 18, 2011, 9:00 AM
- Location: Lee Gorsuch Commons, University of Alaska Anchorage (see UAA interactive map)
- Public comment information: PUBLIC TESTIMONY WILL BE HEARD AT APPROXIMATELY 10:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011 AND AT APPROXIMATELY 9:00 A.M. ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011. Sign-up sheets will be available prior to the meeting. The chair will determine when public testimony is closed. Comments are limited to three minutes per individual or as determined by the chair. Written comments are accepted and will be distributed to the Board of Regents and President Gamble following the meeting.
- For further info: UAA Green and Gold News for 8 Feb 2011; Agenda and attachments for February 17-18, 2011 Board of Regents meeting
There has been some coverage of the proposed policy change in Alaska media and on blogs:
- 13 Feb 2011. “University of Alaska could expand non-discrimination to include sexual orientation” by Jeff Richardson (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner).
- 13 Feb 2011. “UA president says policy should protect gays” by the Associated Press (Anchorage Daily News).
- 14 Feb 2011. “University of Alaska Will Decide Whether to Include Sexual Orientation in Non-Descrimination Policy” by AKMuckraker (The Mudflats).
- 14 Feb 2011. “Will the University of Alaska Finally Stand Up to Anti-Gay Discrimination?” by Michael Jones (Change.org).
As a 20-year staff member at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I can only say that this policy change is long overdue. But it troubles me very much that the proposed change does not explicitly address gender identity as well as sexual orientation. I hope the Regents will amend this oversight when they take the issue up this Thursday and Friday.Tags: UA Board of Regents