• Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2009 9:15 AM GMT
    Well, I'm going before the University of Alaska Board of Regents tomorrow to testify. We're petitioning on behalf of the University of Alaska Fairbanks to include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy.

    Despite the fact that the state and the University both offer benefits to same-sex couples, the University of Alaska still does not have employment protections for LGBT (or even straight for that matter) employees. Just about every school district in the state has beaten them to it, with the exception of Palin's home school district.

    We're not sure how the meeting will go. The Alaska Family Council, the local branch of Focus on the Family, has sent out alarmist emails warning the Board of Regents is being "bullied" into providing "special privileges" to members of the "homosexual movement". They have called on conservatives to attend the meeting.

    They mobilized major support in the summer, effectively cowing the Anchorage City Council into reversing the exact same proposal we are bringing to the University. icon_evil.gif

    On top of that, in the past, the University President, Mark Hamilton, has replied to the same appeal that "he didn't want to add to the alphabet soup" or that "it would be bad for the budget". icon_evil.gif

    The upside: we have a giant blind spot in university policy to point to. The University is bound by court judgement and the University's own consensus to give benefits to same-sex couples...but they can still fire them for being gay. icon_question.gif

    Finally, if the far right does show up, and uses the same bombast and populist anger, it will likely blow up in their face. President Hamilton does not take kindly to being yelled at, and is not beholden to the public to make policy.

    Well that's how it stands right now. I will fill you in on how the meeting goes tomorrow. icon_razz.gif
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Nov 30, 2009 1:14 PM GMT
    Ooh, I'll keep my fingers crossed and send best wishes you're way.
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    Nov 30, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    I'd love to change the world, but I get mad too easily. It wouldn't do much for our cause if I jumped up and slapped the opposition (literally, instead of with valid arguments icon_redface.gif)

    You can do it, north runner!
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    Nov 30, 2009 7:37 PM GMT
    good luck! I'm rooting for ya!
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    Nov 30, 2009 11:04 PM GMT
    Well. It went as good as can be expected. The meeting runs til tomorrow, but the GSA and student government from my university will leave tonight for Fairbanks again. The opposition never showed up, and we were amongst the first to give public testimony. (Although the crazies still have a chance to testify tomorrow)

    Out of about 15 or so pple who testified, there were 3 pple who testified on adding sexual orientation into the non-discrimination clause. We all did pretty well. I tried to slow down and make sure that I was speaking legibly and persuasively...it still felt like I finished waaay too early into my 3 minutes allotted time.

    The Regent's reaction was pretty unreadable. They didn't outwardly dismiss our petition. I spoke with our Chancellor afterwards, who is very pro-gay-rights, and he said that the sticking point they are afraid of is the transgender issue. They don't want to have to deal with that. But he was very encouraging and said that today was a good step towards getting the issue out of executive committee next meeting.

    The next Regent's meeting (where we are fighting to have this issue added to the agenda) is actually going to be at the main campus in Fairbanks, our home town. We will be able to get a lot more people to show up and testify, including both straight and LGBT faculty, as well as students.

    Again, ironically enough, the local school districts have just amended their own policy on non-discrimination to include gender identity. Its really nice to have local precedent to reference.icon_wink.gif

    All in all, a good day i guess. :/