May 26, 2011 at 7:29 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
UDC acts to correct Human Rights Act violation

A resolution approved on May 16 by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3F in Northwest D.C. accuses the University of the District of Columbia of failing to comply with the city’s Human Rights Act. A university spokesperson told the Blade Wednesday it is working to correct the problem.

The resolution, introduced by gay ANC commissioner Bob Summersgill, says the university is not in compliance with the act’s requirement that it prominently display posters or information about the law and the classes of people it protects throughout its campus and on its website.

The university’s “failure to educate faculty, students, and staff” about the law’s requirements “has led to acts of discrimination against gay and transgender people,” the resolution states.

The Human Rights Act bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas based on a wide list of categories such as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The ANC resolution, among other things, calls on the university to provide mandatory training on LGBT issues for all staff, to establish an LGBT resource center, and to post a city-mandated non-discrimination policy statement on its website and in posters displayed in all campus buildings as well as in course and student guide books.

Alan Etter, the university’s vice president for university relations and public affairs, said the university is taking immediate steps to fulfill its Human Rights Act requirements following the Blade’s inquiry into the matter.

“We have not done this properly,” he said. “We hope to get the information up on our website today and to get it in our publications as soon as possible,” he said. “We have a new EEO officer and we’re moving on this.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • As a student at UDC, I can say I have never experienced hostile behavior. There are several out and about LGBT faculty and staff members. Now what I will say is the lack of participation in the student body in the TAG LGBT Support Association. I have seen them try and get stuff started but students don’t participate. UDC is trying, but the errors of a few, don’t constitute the good things the masses are doing. We just need more student participation.

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