Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Texas A&M to end employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression

This post originally appeared on on January 24, 2012

Dr. R Bowen Loftin
Texas A&M University President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin issued a memo Jan. 20, re-affirming the university's commitment to non-discrimination in employment. Historically this memo is issued annually and has in recent years included sexual orientation among a list of attributes that have been the historical basis of discrimination and which the university vows not to use to discriminate in employment. This year's memo is a little special, however. For the first time in the school's 141 year history, Texas A&M has committed to employment nondiscrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. From the memo:
"... the university has developed an Affirmative Action Program that documents the policies, practices and procedures to support equal treatment for all applicants and employees and assure, in good faith, equal access and affirmative action for women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans at all levels of its workforce. It is our policy to not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Furthermore, we will maintain a work environment free from discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
The memo applies only to the employment practices of A&M's main campus in College Station, not to students or employees at any of the other A&M system campuses. Last month the Texas A&M Student Senate passed a resolution encouraging the university system to adopt a system-wide non-discrimination policy for students, staff and faculty that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Student Senator Andrew Jancaric, the driving force behind that resolution, greeted the news of Loftin's memo excitedly. "President Loftin has shown a great deal of leadership, particularly given the proximity of this release to the legislation passed by the Student Senate. Because of that leadership it will make changing that policy at the student level much more easy," said Jancaric. "It's a really important statement coming from the president of our university, which I believe will have great weight with the system's board of regents."

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