Nondiscrimination Policy change is a landmark

By The Beacon | October 3, 2013 12:44am

matt-gadbois
Photo by Kelsey Thomas

 

By Matthew Gadbois |

To those that aren’t convinced of the significance of the Nondiscrimination Policy change:

Adding “sexual orientation” to the Nondiscrimination Policy doesn’t instantly change the culture on campus, but it is a sign of what this institution deems as important to respect and protect.  The policy has legal power and will stand as a testament of UP’s values for other people and even other institutions to recognize and follow.  The presence of just two words is outward, visible proof that the administration has not overlooked the protection of sexual minorities.  This change is a historical moment that anyone can point to and use to measure how far we have come.  Long overdue, but worth celebrating nonetheless.

To those that think the fight for equality is won:

The fight for equality is never over.  I still believe there is plenty that can be done with the diversity programs on campus, and there is a lot of change that students need to be a part of.  A lot of interesting conversation has already emerged regarding the continuing absence of “gender identity” from the Nondiscrimination Policy and the more complex barriers that arise with this issue.  I know students will never stop talking about these issues, but I hope that students will also bring these conversations to the clubs and organizations on campus to utilize the resources around them.  Redefine Purple Pride proved that when student leaders decide to organize for a cause, they can shake the whole campus.  While the Redefine movement may be remembered by the petition, videos and demonstrations of last year, I hope student leaders will be inspired to create new energy for positive motion.

Lastly, to the students who have fought for this change in the past - those that raised the initial questions and challenged assumptions even before the Redefine movement existed:

We owe you an enormous amount of respect for fighting for a change that you never got to see.  I just wish you were here to see the University of Portland light up in this moment.  It is a significant moment and I think like every new day, it marks the beginning of a bright future.

B