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Parthenon 2000

 

February 17, 2000: Groups recommend diversity training

by COURTNEY L. BAILES
reporter

Although members of Marshall's gay community voiced their concerns about recent acts of hate against homosexuality during Wednesday's Commission on Multiculturalism meeting, Jonathan Sutton isn't exactly pleased with the meeting's outcome.

"It bothered us that the committee would not make an instant decision or take action and that no reference was made to when another meeting would be scheduled or when action would be taken," said Sutton, president of Delta Lambda Phi, the fraternity that reported its Rush fliers had been defaced, which sparked the topic of the meeting.

Dr. Betty Cleckley, vice president of multicultural affairs and international programs, accepted the recommendations and said the Subcommittee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Affairs will consider the recommendations and then bring it back to the full committee.

Cleckley denied an immediate decision and said, "We will do everything to make Marshall a nurturing and caring environment."

Sutton and Okey Napier Jr., chairman of the Commission on Multiculturalism's Subcommit-tee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Affairs, brought recommendations before the committee after feeling the university had not cooperated with them when the acts of hate were first reported two weeks ago.

Among Napier's suggestions are beginning a poster campaign addressing homophobia, hate crimes, multiculturalism, and diversity. He also wants to begin public forums on campus to address the same issues. Napier wants to require sensitivity and diversity training for all incoming freshmen dealing with homophobia, hate crimes, sexual harassment issues, race and ethnic relations, women's issues, issues regarding disability and an introduction to the Student Code of Conduct.

Napier asked for the recommendations to be implemented in two weeks.

Napier wants the long-term recommendations implemented before the end of the spring 2000 semester. They include establishing and funding a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Leadership Institute with retreats and sponsoring the first LGBT Leadership Institute. Napier also wants to expand the current Lesbian Gay Bisexual Outreach Office into a homosexuality support center.

Sutton recommended incidents regarding discrimination be reported to the National Reporting Agency, which is a division of the FBI. Sensitivity training should be required for the Student Government Association, Student Senate, and all tutors, he said. Self defense classes should be offered by the MUPD each year for the Multicultural students, Sutton suggested.

Although Napier suggested times for the recommendations to be implemented, he and others, wanted an immediate answer on whether or not the commission would take the suggestions.

Raymie White, coocordinator of LGBO, said he too is still dissappointed. "The committe, while taking a stand, could have taken a stronger stand," White said.

Sutton said Marshall's colony of Delta Lambda Phi has put up 450 to 500 flyers and probably 420 have been torn down. That worries White.

"This is how the gay hate crimes start," White said. "It leads to Matthew Shepherd being beaten so bad that they thought he was burned."

President Dan Angel responded to accusations that the university is not standing up for the gay community.

"Well, the university has been a leader in multiculturalism and diversity for a long period of time," Angel said. "I think Marshall University has done more than the vast majority of universities in the state or nationally regarding that. I think we have a long standing policy procedure and penalties in place. "

Sutton said he hopes to be taken more seriously and is waiting to hear which recommendations the committee will act on.

"I would like to stress to you that what we are requesting is equal rights, not special rights," Sutton said.

 

 


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Last updated: 01/11/12.