By MEGHAN ALESSI
Georgetown is all about diversity, right? Their non-discrimination policy seems to speak otherwise. Many members of the tiger community have requested that other factors, like sexual orientation, be added to the mix. As of now, this is the official policy taken directly from the Georgetown College website : “Georgetown College is committed to equal employment for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, citizenship (as defined under the Immigration Reform and Control Act), disability or veteran’s status (Inclusion of other protected categories such as sexual orientation or marital status depends upon the school’s policy and state law).”
Kentucky has laws in place that prevent discrimination of sexual orientation and gender identity from occurring in the public work setting, but that does not include private institutions, such as Georgetown.
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC), an organization headquartered in London, Ky. set out to help with the situation. They met with interested students, staff and faculty on Jan. 22 to come up with a “power analysis” meant to generate a strategy on how to “protect LGBT members of the Georgetown College community.”
Basically, a power analysis maps out a person’s interest in an issue and their level of influence. So, for example, the Board of Trustees has a lot of influence but their interest level has not been very high. The power analysis allows you to see what the current shift on campus is, whether or not the right people (those with all the power) care about the issue. Unfortunately, that is not the case at this point in time, or at least it is not yet a top priority.
Many students on campus are frustrated with the situation because it has what appears to be an effortless solution. Shakir Mackey, senior and member of Campus Spectrum, was part of a vigil that occurred on the steps of Giddings last Friday during the Board meeting. He wanted to express that the main intent of this vigil was to make sure “the board knows that we as students, faculty and staff are serious about this. By not taking a step forward, it’s like taking a step back.”
The group passed flyers to anyone walking by that contained their mission statement, which mentions that, “unlike many respected institutions of higher learning, Georgetown does not formally recognize the employment rights of gay and lesbian persons.” This matter has not been an issue thus far, but it is the possibility that is making people anxious. That is why several organizations on campus have decided to band together and that has made all the difference.
Cristian Nuñez, junior, is excited about what this semester might bring. He realizes that this time around they have more support, saying “last semester was unorganized. This semester is organized and we’re ready for the long haul.”
Mackey hopes that the readiness they have for the long term will not have to come into use. By raising awareness he hopes that they will push the discussion forward, which may already be happening. It was rumored that discussion of the policy would not begin until April, and yet a Jan. 28 email including details about the recent Board meeting showed that the policy was in the realm of their discussion. Whether the dedicated students and faculty standing outside their window influenced this discussion is unclear, but nonetheless it is a start.
Meetings occur Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. in room 150 of the LRC for those interested in getting involved.