UC President Janet Napolitano announced the creation of a president’s advisory group to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues across the university Tuesday.
The UC task force on LGBT climate and inclusion — a universitywide task force comprising members across the system who meet to discuss ways to make the university more LGBT-inclusive — proposed eight recommendations to implement an LGBT-friendly campus climate. Napolitano will review these recommendations and make a decision in the future, although a timeline for the facilitation of the LGBT advisory group has not yet been confirmed.
The proposed eight recommendations range from instituting a universitywide gender-inclusive restroom policy to improving academic initiatives regarding gender and sexuality. The recommendations also propose giving UC Merced an LGBT resource center so that all UC campuses have accessible resources for LGBT students, faculty and staff.
“The task force recommended that efforts be made to ensure the viability of academic programs already in place, to enhance the possibilities of new research in the area of gender and sexuality, particularly the under-researched fields of bisexuality and transgender studies,” said UC spokesperson Brooke Converse in an email.
One of the eight recommendations would introduce the ability for students to adjust their records to match their self-identified preferred names. The UC task force also proposed the creation of a subcommittee to discuss bisexual community issues and the employment of an LGBT cultural competency specialist for each campus to serve as a resource for the community.
A more efficient method of regulation would be to assign positions on the advisory group to students, said ASUC president Pavan Upadhyayula in an email, to maximize student voices and properly address their concerns.
“I hope to be as involved as possible,” Upadhyayula said in the email. “My main goal will be to try and make sure that student voices are heard on this committee and that we can lobby this group effectively to create change we need to see.”
In 2012, UC Berkeley was awarded a five-star LGBT campus climate rating by the nonprofit organization Campus Pride for the third year in a row for providing and maintaining an LGBT-friendly community. UC campuses at Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara also received the five-star rating in 2012, marking the university’s effectiveness in addressing LGBT issues across the system.
However, Caitlin Quinn, ASUC external affairs vice president, who served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Communities, said she feels skeptical about the feasibility of the advisory group’s recommendations.
“Task forces and committees are a good start, but more action is going to need to be taken to earn the trust of the communities affected,” she said in an email.