23 February 2010

Pre-PGSG Statement on the Nondiscrimination Policy

The Nondiscrimination Policy Amendment Resolution is headed to Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG). PGSG has a great opportunity to help countless Purdue students by following the lead of the Purdue Student Government (PSG) and passing this resolution.

While I could go on and on about why PGSG should pass this resolution, I decided it would be best to present a concise list of five reasons to support, "A Resolution Supporting the Inclusion of Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation to the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy."

1. Purdue University is the only Big Ten University not to include Gender Identity and Expression in its Non-Discrimination Policies in some way. This really is an embarrassment, and Purdue's ranking have been affected by the lack of its inclusion.

2. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Policy became law on May 21st, 2008. This act passed the House of Representatives 414 - 1, and protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of genetic test results.

3. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crime Prevention Act became law on October 28th, 2009. It should be noted that both of Indiana's Senators - Democrat Senator Bayh and Republican Senator Lugar - voted for this law. This act added gender identity to national Hate Crimes legislation.

4. Purdue University will produce some of the world's leaders, and those leaders need to be able to safely develop a political voice.

5. The addition of Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy would be a low cost way for Purdue University to enhance its reputation and regain lost ranking due to the lack of its inclusion. Adding Genetic Information and Political Affiliation will show Purdue University as a forward-thinking institution anticipating future problems and producing future leaders.

I have no idea what the PGSG meeting will hold, regardless, the good fight will continue. This resolution is important and means a lot to a large number of people. Support for the policy has been obvious throughout this effort, and I hope PGSG follows PSG's steps and unanimously supports amending the Nondiscrimination Policy. I can not stress enough how much this resolution means to some people.

With Hope,
Nicholas Goldsmith

Edit: The Purdue Graduate Student Government Meeting is March 1st at 6:00pm in KRAN G005.

10 February 2010

Nondiscrimination Policy Tracking

Media about the Purdue University Student Government Senate unanimously approving a resolution to urge Purdue University to add to its Nondiscrimination Policy: Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation.

Exponent Articles:
[Purdue] Senate to Discuss Non-Discrimination Policy 10 February 2010
PSG Votesto Support Revised Policy 11 February 2010

Exponent Opinions:
Nondiscrimination Policy Must Include... 10 February 2010
Nondiscrimination Policy Discriminates 12 February 2010

Student Blogs:
Mine 1 10 February 2010

Students Toughen Bias Policy 21 February 2010

Nondiscrimination Policy

I can not believe it, and it is so amazingly spectacular. The Purdue Student Government Senate has unanimously (yes, a 20-0 vote) approved a resolution urging Purdue University to amend its Nondiscrimination Policy to included Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation.

I thought the vote would be close and we might even lose, but no, it was unanimous and we won! This is fabulous, and while I could go on and on about why, it really comes down to inclusion. Purdue Student Government just sent a message, which is going to get media attention, that Purdue University needs to be more inclusive.

I have no idea what is still to come. This issue is ultimately going to go to the Board of Trustees, and this unanimous vote is going to appear before them (and hopefully help this pass!). I know that each step will be harder, but this was a huge hurdle that was just jumped, and it is really energizing after seeing so much defeat in meetings. I truly have to commend Jessica Rombach. Her campaigning has been brilliant and she has no idea how much she has helped people.

Purdue University will hopefully join the rest of the Big Ten, and the overwhelming majority of the other high ranked universities, in including Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy.

Notes on the vote: The resolution came up, and a few senators spoke (nobody in opposition). There were a lot of spectators for a PSG meeting (and that did not go unnoticed). The vote was unanimous, and a huge applause followed. I teared up (had my tears of happiness a little later), and several other people did cry (and were very touched).

I don't know if people know how much these few words mean to people. How much it means to some of my friends that Gender Identity and Expression may be added. How much safer they will feel. I feel safer just with the knowledge that there was support for an addition that affects a lot of other members of the Queer community. This is also a huge retention and recruitment issue. The people who know to look do, and this will really help.

I will start another post tracking this issue as it develops.

(Sorry this is discombobulated, and that it really only talks about Gender Identity and Expression. I am SO excited that I just needed to get something down. I know we still have a long way to go, but I was not expecting to see this step so soon).