Saturday, March 13, 2010

Doing the Right Thing! Thanks, John Carroll University

Those might recall my earlier post about the sit-in by John Carroll students in support of including a non-discrimination clause regarding sexual orientation; the following memo from President Niehoff reverses the earlier draft proposal which declined to take such action. Thank you to the President and the Board for their taking this progressive move, an act of moral courage, and for the students, faculty, staff, and others who made this decision a clear one. There is work to be done, and probably state or federal law will require this sort of clause shortly anyway; but it's never too early to do the right thing.
To: The John Carroll University Community

From: Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.

Date: March 12, 2010

RE: Diversity and Inclusiveness at John Carroll

Earlier this week, members of the Board of Directors met with student and faculty representatives to discuss our campus climate and the possible inclusion of sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies.

The Board wholeheartedly supports our continued efforts to create a safe environment for all which includes members of the LGBT community. Remaining faithful to our Jesuit Catholic character, we seek a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

There is important work ahead for all of us. The Board has requested that I act expeditiously to develop a revised non-discrimination policy and report to them on three essential actions at our May meeting:

1) As recommended by the Diversity Task Force, strengthen our reporting systems and investigative processes for all issues of bias, harassment, intimidation, and threats on campus. This may include the implementation of the Ombudsperson process.

2) Work with faculty to address issues of fairness and equity for all faculty concerning hiring, tenure, and promotion (such as the issues identified in the McCourt/Hagedorn Report), and make appropriate Faculty Handbook adjustments.

3) Complete a legal review to determine how a change in the University’s non-discrimination policies might be accomplished in a way that is consistent with current laws and regulations. This process will include a review of the practices at the other 27 Jesuit colleges and universities.

The conversations that took place this past week were an important step, and I am pleased that our campus can engage in a spirit of inquiry where different perspectives are valued. This is at the heart of our Jesuit Catholic tradition.

I extend my thanks to everyone, especially to the students who accepted our invitation to engage with the Board in a thoughtful dialogue about their experiences and points of view.

I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others to build on this momentum.


No comments: