Task force provides recommendations in support of Texas State’s LGBTQ community
On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s majority in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
At the beginning of the year, a task force made up of Texas State University faculty and staff was created to provide recommendations for the university in support of the Texas State LGBTQiA community.
Dr. Michael L. Casey, a senior lecturer in the Ingram School of Engineering, is the president of the Alliance of Texas State and heads up the 11-member task force. “We recommended that the Task Force be made permanent, and that a point in the university’s Strategic Plan be to improve our rating with the Campus Pride Index, and to adopt a new civility policy as a UPPS (university policy and procedure statement).”
Casey said that the Campus Pride Index is a national index that is used by approximately 330+ campuses, as a premier benchmarking tool to self-assessed LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices. Texas State currently rates three out of five stars on the index. Among in-state peer institutions, The University of Texas at Dallas has a five-star rating and the University of Houston received 4.5 stars.
In an email to the Texas State community, President Denise Trauth reiterated her support of the recommendations by the task force, now known as the LGBTQiA+ Advisory and Resource Network at Texas State.
“I want to use this ruling as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment set forth in Texas State University’s existing policy prohibiting discrimination. Our LGBTQiA+ faculty, staff, and students can work without fear of discrimination or retaliation in an environment where they are not only accepted but are affirmed.
“At Texas State, we are committed to building our capacity for inclusion and will promote an environment free of discrimination or harassment for all members of our university community,” President Trauth wrote.
The task force is comprised of 11 members, including student, faculty, and staff representation.
“The vision for us is that we will provide information to the President and Cabinet about the climate on campus for LGBTQiA employees and students,” Casey said. “I am going to make the guess that, as things do and do not develop, the network will be responsible for helping the president and cabinet address new situations.
“An example of what it means to our community is that we see statements from the president much like what we saw today, or policy changes may come about that provide further protections or assurances to our community.”