UT protects gay rightsWritten by Dr. Lloyd Jacobs | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I write to clarify the position of the University of Toledo on certain comments made in Michael S. Miller’s April 5 column, “Gay Rights and Wrongs,” and also to repudiate comments made subsequently in an April 19 online writing, “Gay rights and wrongs: Another perspective,” by Ms. Crystal Dixon.
Although I recognize it is common knowledge that Crystal Dixon is associate vice president for Human Resources at the University of Toledo, her comments do not accord with the values of the University of Toledo. It is necessary, therefore, for me to repudiate much of her writing and to make this attempt to clarify our values system. The Strategic Plan of the University of Toledo states certain “Core Values.” Among them are “Diversity, Integrity and Teamwork.” The document further states that we “create an environment that values and fosters diversity; earn the trust and commitment of colleagues and the communities served; provide a collaborative and supportive work environment, based upon stewardship and advocacy, that adheres to the highest ethical standard.”
Recently I have supported the revival of a Safe Places Program at the University of Toledo. Our Spectrum student group created the Safe Places Program to “invite faculty, staff and graduate assistants and resident advisers to open their space as a Safe Place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning [LGBATQ] individuals.” I took this action because I believe it to be entirely consistent with the values system of the university. Indeed, there is a Safe Places sticker on the door of the President’s office at the University of Toledo.
I have recently written a letter to the legislatures of the state of Ohio, on behalf of the University of Toledo, to support Senate Bill 305 and House Bill 502. Those legislative initiatives extend to domestic partners a number of rights and privileges which I believe are assured by the constitutional rights of everyone in our state. My letter of support is dated April 30, 2008 and is available through my office to any interested party.
The University of Toledo welcomes, supports and places value upon persons of every variety. Disability, race, age or sexual orientation are not included in any decision making process nor the evaluation of worth of any individual at this university. To the extent that appearances may exist which are contrary to this value statement, we will continue to do everything in our power to align all of our actions every day with the value system discussed.
We will be taking certain internal actions in this instance to more fully align our utterances and actions with this value system.
As regards the continued asymmetry of benefits packages across the campuses of this university, do understand that we are fully aware that asymmetry that Michael S. Miller spoke of does exist and are working as rapidly as we can to correct this asymmetry. When this asymmetry is corrected, the solution will be reflective of the university value statements above.
It is my hope there may be no misunderstanding of my personal stance, nor the stance of the University of Toledo, concerning the issues of “Gay Rights and Wrongs.”
Dr. Lloyd Jacobs is president of the University of Toledo.