MARICOPA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
OCTOBER 13, 2008
A special board meeting was scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m.. in the Governing Board Room at the District Support Services Center in Tempe, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Don Campbell, President
Colleen Clark, Secretary
Linda Rosenthal, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
ABSENT: Scott Crowley, Member
Todd Simmons for Linda Thor
Attendance: 100 people (including Board & CEC)
(6:30 p.m. through 8:05 p.m.)
Welcome & Introductions:
Governing Board President Dr. Donald R. Campbell convened the special board meeting and welcomed everyone present. He then introduced Ms. Teresa Toney, Manager of the Office of Public Stewardship, who would be responsible for explaining the policy adoption process at the Maricopa Community College District.
Issue Background (Policy Adoption Process):
Ms. Toney explained that the policy adoption process is a part of the Maricopa Governance Policies which provide the guidelines as to who is in charge of the organization and provides the rules by which it abides. The Governing Board of the Maricopa Community College District is made up of five persons elected from geographical districts within this Arizona County. They are elected in staggered years to six year terms. This a governing body created and provided power by Title 15, Chapter 12 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The Governing Board provides direction and sets policy. The Chancellor is the only staff person that reports to the Board and is responsible for the administration of the Administrative Regulations. She outlined the different sections included in Board policies which include:
Executive Duties And Responsibilities
Vision, Mission And Values Statements
Employee Group Policies
Administrative Regulations include:
Ms. Toney explained that policies meet legal and regulatory provisions, reflect institutional values, and public accountability. The process for policy submission is through a responsible agent or through policy housekeeping as determined by annual review beginning each July. The non-discrimination policy being discussed this evening was first submitted for First Reading in August of this year as part of this process after being submitted by the Diversity Advisory Council and then for review by the Chancellor’s Executive Council.
Evening Format Overview and Introduction of Panelists:
Director of The Center for Civic Participation Alberto Olivas welcomed everyone present to what was intended to be a learning session on a difficult topic. He commented that information would be provided about how the Maricopa Community College District makes policies. He furthered commented that the Governing Board had previously heard from the public on the issue of gender identity and expression and for tonight’s session questions had been drafted and provided in advance to the two panels. The discussion was meant to be a learning experience for both the Board and the public. Mr. Olivas informed those in attendance that the discussion would be taped by MCTV and would be available for faculty or community members for viewing later on. The objectives for the evening were as follows:
Information for the Governing Board regarding different perspectives
Opportunity to educate members of the audience regarding gender identity issues
Deliberative conversation (not a debate)
Deeper appreciation for other group’s position
The following people were members of each panel:
Lori Girshick (lead off speaker), CGCC faculty
Loman Clark, PC faculty
Erica Keppler, PVCC student
Milo Neild, student (campus?)
Dr. Maria Hesse, CGCC President
Dr. Rosa Inchausti, City of Tempe
Rory Gilbert (closing speaker), DO Mgr Diversity Initiatives
Lynn Allred (lead off speaker), Communications & Research Director, Family Watch International
Dr. Monica Breaux, former ASU faculty
Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona House of Representatives
Jack Peterson, MCC faculty
Catherine Smith, ASU student
Sharon Slater (closing speaker), President of Family Watch International
Proposing Side: Lori Girshick
“President Campbell, Governing Board Members, Chancellor Glasper and members of the Maricopa community, I am Lori Girshick, sociology faculty at Chandler-Gilbert CC, President of Equality Maricopa, and author of “Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men.”
The Diversity Advisory Council and Equality Maricopa have proposed that “gender identity and expression” be added to the nondiscrimination policy of the District. We do this in the spirit of a shared vision to the values of diversity and inclusiveness that all students and employees should be treated with respect, dignity, and equity. What we see is that current policies are inadequate to ensure that these values are enjoyed by people who challenge gender norms.
As proponents of this proposal, we believe that:
• People who challenge traditional gender identity norms are often considered abnormal, frightening or deviant and are targets of discrimination, ridicule, and violence both in the general community and at Maricopa. Yet, all people are born with their gender identity and there is no gender identity that is abnormal. What is problematic is that some people are uncomfortable with non-traditional expressions of gender.
• Because there are no state or federal protections related to gender identity and expression, employees and students have no way of knowing Maricopa’s intent as it relates to this group of people.
• People who do not conform to gender identity norms do not feel safe at our colleges because they do not know what to expect. Nor do they feel safe going from one college to another because of a lack of consistency in expectations and policy interpretations.
• Employees and students react automatically to transgender people in unwelcoming ways because they do not know explicitly that they are expected to act differently.
• People who want to support inclusive treatment and discourage exclusionary treatment do not have unambiguous policies to rely on. This includes administrators, college safety, human resources and EEO. These groups have identified a need for an explicit policy statement as noted in the letters they have sent. This statement needs to come from the Governing Board.
All of us have a gender identity and a way of expressing it. These protections apply to all of us—our friends and family members who may be challenged because they do not conform to somebody else’s standards of what is “normal.”
Opposing Side: Lynn Allred, Communications & Research Director, Family Watch
“ Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, thank you for convening this special board meeting as you begin the evaluation process in what is a very emotional, highly controversial issue. I am the Director of Communications for Family Watch International, a nonprofit, international policy organization that, among other things, works at the United Nations on gender issues. I am also the mother of eight children, five of whom are university students in three different universities.
I represent many, many people in our community who are opposed to adding “gender identity and gender expression” to the Maricopa County Colleges nondiscrimination policy. We believe this proposal is not in the best interest of students, faculty, staff or the larger community.
Ironically, one of the main reasons we oppose the policy is because it can actually harm the very individuals it is intended to help. Our position is not rooted in bigotry, hate, phobia, or radical right wing religious fanaticism. In fact, the positions of Family Watch International are based solely on social science research.
We feel a profound sense of compassion for individuals who experience gender identity disorder in any of its manifestations. I watched the video of the testimonies presented at the last board meeting and was deeply affected. Theirs is a difficult life, and we recognize the numerous and complex challenges these individuals fact.
Physical violence, verbal abuse or harassment of any individual including transgenders is unconscionable and should not be tolerated and currently is not tolerated under existing policy.
Gender identity disorder is categorized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (known as the DSM), the standard tool for categorizing all mental disorders and treatment approaches in the U.S. and in much of the world. It is listed as a sexual disorder alongside other sexual disorders such as Fethishism, Exhibitionism, Frotteurism, Sexual Masochism, and Sadism, and Voyeurism.
This proposal is a radical departure from existing policy. Unlike other categories that are listed in the current nondiscrimination policy such as race, religion, and sexual orientation, this proposal seeks to facilitate and affirm a specific mental disorder and protect the expression of that disorder without defining any limitations to that expression.
Under this new proposal, the individual would determine the behavior that best expresses their gender, and the college would be prohibited from regulating such expressive behavior no matter how inappropriate or disruptive to the larger college community lest it be accused of “discrimination.”
Adopting a policy that would facilitate cross-dressing and opposite gender identification will not solve the problems of these individuals and may even exacerbate them. It also may have the unintended consequence of discouraging rather than encouraging transgender individuals from seeking needed therapy for their disorder.
Although the American Psychological Association (APA) recently recommended that transgenders be affirmed in their discorder through such policies as the one being proposed, this recommendation was and still is highly controversial within the APA and was a political decision pushed by an activitist group within the APA. It was passed despite the science showing it to be misguided. Currently, there is a movement within the APA by those who have studied the science to rescind the recommendation.
Many male-to-female transsexuals claim that they feel they are essentially women trapped in men’s bodies. However, according to a number of scientific studies, this claim has little scientific basis is inconsistent with clinical observations. Research has shown than many of these transsexuals are motivated not by a belief that they are trapped in the wrong body, but rather by the erotic desire and the sexual arousal over the idea of becoming women. These studies have found that affirming this claim is damaging to science and to many transsexuals. We will provide board members with one such study from the peer reviewed journal, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, published by Johns Hopkins University. These researchers confirm our stated position that affirming the behavior associated with gender identity disorder is not helpful to them.
Another concern we have is the safety issue.All students at Maricopa County Community College campuses need to feel safe. However, if a small group of students feel unsafe on campus, the answer is not to make them feel safe at the expense of the safety of all the others.
For most people, having a transgendered individual, who may or may not have been surgically reassigned, using the same bathroom, locker room or showers is a jarring and disconcerting experience.
The Board has already done a good job in that regard with the building of new neutral bathrooms. This provides a safe place for transgenders without causing other students to feel unsafe. We are certain that other policies could be adopted as well that would help transgenders feel safe but not at the expense of the safety and privacy of other students.
In conclusion, our recommendation is that this policy not be adopted. The proposed change, although well-intentioned, is highly misguided. Thank you.”
(Copies of articles referenced included with these minutes.)
Understanding the Position
Question #1. What is something that people most often misunderstand about your position?
(Proposing Side) Answered by Loman Clark, Phoenix College Counseling
Sexual orientation – which is currently covered by anti-discrimination policy – is not the same as gender expression/identity (not covered) which is not explicitly protected under the current policy.
Gender Identity/Gender Expression includes/but goes beyond any individual’s psycho-social development and processes that might conclude with gender reassignment. So…safety of gender identify/expression includes all of us, such as
- safety of a heterosexual male w/ a high voice
- safety of a masculine appearing female
- safety any individual whose sexuality is unknown to others, but appears ambiguous as to masculinity/femininity
- safety of an international student whose garb is not characteristic of local culture
- …and so future protections based upon gender identity and expression would go well beyond only impacting transgendered individuals to protect all of us.
- that transgender people are confused, mentally ill or dangerous to others.
Transgendered people are individuals and have the same range of mental health as the general population. It should be noted that the MCCCD uses NO psycho-social assessment of students as prerequisites to enter study – other than completing a student information form – as if to say, tell us about you and then let’s begin.
If the general student population includes the confused, mentally illness or risk factors, we do not exclude them from studies or NOR SHOULD WE turn I blind eye to their or anyone elses’ safety, we offer developmentally appropriate counseling and referral resources. As a community college, we are colleges of the community; the people. We include everyone in the interest of cultivating critical thinking and decision making across our communities.
(Opposing Side) Answered by Dr. Monica Breaux, former ASU Faculty
Response: (prepared by Sharon Slater; delivered by Monica Breaux) Actually there a few things people often misunderstand about our position. First, our position is based on compassion for those who, through no fault of their own, may be experiencing transgender feelings. Second, some people experience “unwanted” transgender feelings, just like some people experience “unwanted” same-sex attraction. If these people are encouraged by school policies and counselors to express the opposite gender, and are affirmed as the opposite gender, they may feel compelled to make permanent surgical changes to their body that they deeply regret later. Cases such as these are tragic. Third, because Gender Identity Disorder (or GID) is a mental disorder, transgender individuals can be better helped by receiving treatment, rather than being affirmed in their disorder and encouraged to express it without limitation.
It is easy to find studies and experts on both sides of the spectrum, some stating those afflicted with GID need gender reassignment surgery, hormone treatment, and policies that affirm their disorder, and need help to live as the opposite gender. Others recommend treatment to help transgender individuals to feel more comfortable with their biological gender, so they can better function in the larger society and, in some cases, even marry someone of the opposite sex and raise a family.
Rather than adopt a new policy that gives transgenders a right to express themselves as the opposite gender on campus, no matter how disruptive or threatening this may be to other students, the board would be prudent to stay neutral on this controversial issue and rely on the current policy which already protects the rights of transgenders not to be harassed or be discriminated against.
Additional Statement to the Board Prepared by Dr. Monica Breaux:
Members of my panel oppose all public and private harassment or unfair treatment of individuals based on their actual or perceived gender identity or gender expression. However, we oppose this proposed change to include “gender identity and expression” in the non-discrimination policy. We are dismayed that our report of APA controversy was dismissed by some as untrue. We are disheartened by accusations that any of our statements are rooted in fear of human beings, rather than fear of possible harm to human beings. We appreciate your time in reviewing this material which has been the key to our compassionate response. As an educator, speaker and author in sexuality, it is my professional opinion that the position put forth by my panel is correct – that some people are better helped by therapy for Gender Identity Disorder (GID); therefore they are poorly served by this proposal.
You may want to review pages 4 – 6 of this letter for excerpts of the 2008 APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance report (See Attachment A) reinforcing our public comments on the lack of consensus among APA members on how to help individuals with gender identity disorder. For example, their report includes these statements: “psychologists who work with clients with gender identity issues are not of one mind on this issue”… “thus the Task Force does not recommend that APA takes a position on GID at this time” (p. 74-75).
Although “many individuals urged the Task Force to work toward the removal of GID from the DSM, and to generally work toward depathologizing gender variance… the Task Force did not reach consensus on this issue” (p. 31). “Thus, whether gender identity disorder belongs in the DSM is a point of contention. What is not in contention is that gender dysphoria [the feeling of being ‘wrongly embodied’] is often a source of psychological distress, above and beyond the influence of societal attitudes, and as such must be addressed with some form of treatment or intervention.” APA proponents of diagnosis and treatment for gender dysphoria argue “that they would experience distress even in a society completely tolerant of gender variance” (p. 57).
APA online reports, “According to the diagnostic standards of American psychiatry, as set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM], people who experience intense, persistent gender dysphoria can be given the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder. This diagnosis is highly controversial among some mental health professionals and transgender people. Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender variance and should be eliminated. Others argue that, because the health care system in the United States requires a diagnosis to justify medical or psychological treatment, it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care” (Available: http://www.apa.org/topics/transgender.html#isbeing).
Attachment B is a graduate social work class handout I prepared to generate critical thinking in sociopolitical diversity around human sexuality issues. First is a reminder from the professional journal of the APA (Attch C) to allow clients to self-determine whether sexual expressions are to be affirmed or to be modified by therapy. All other excerpts are focused on peer reviews of the recent work of Robert Spitzer PhD, a central figure in the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the DSM, who now believes that treatment is appropriate for some people.
Current discussion can be viewed at http://www.citizenlink.org/videofeatures/A000008009.cfm of the 2008 APA convention collaboration, with a favorable outcome of inclusivity for all APA NARTH members (Attch D). The mission of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (see www.NARTH.com) is "respecting every client's dignity, autonomy and diversity, by supporting the inalienable freedom of every client to claim a gay identity, or to diminish their homosexuality and develop their heterosexual potential.”
In my unscripted public appeal to the board, I responded to Dr. Hesse’s comment by referencing an APA article on inclusive responses to sexual identity management (Attch E). The authors remind us, “Respect for multiple expressions of diversity in a pluralistic society” acknowledges “conservative religion is a legitimate, though often overlooked, expression of diversity.”
My doctoral dissertation warns that some interventions tend to ignore or aggravate conditions related to childhood experiences of sex, or related to sexual disorders,then ends with this quote:
We must resist pressures, both within and outside GLBT communities, not to ask certain questions about certain people, or not to report findings that some consider embarrassing, threatening, or dangerous to the general well-being of GLBT populations [or we may] prevent the development of knowledge that challenges existing social and political structures. As such, this belief is not consistent with social work’s ethical principles. (Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 2003, vol 15, p. 14)
Regarding gender identity development and GID, George Rekers PhD asserts (Attch F) “The use (or abuse) of research may continue to be influenced by ideological factors in American culture.” Former APA president and author of Destructive Trends in Mental Health, Nicholas Cummings advises that "misguided political correctness tethers our intellects.” As the APA continues to include diagnosis and treatment of mental disorder as a compassionate response to sexual minorities, rather than relying on activist legislation of gender variance tolerance to adequately relieve human suffering, we would be wise to follow their example.
As you can see from these references, issues of gender variance are highly controversial within the APA and currently there is no consensus among experts as to how to appropriately address them. There have also been clear attempts, by advocates for this new policy, to silence the professional views of psychologists reporting that people who experience gender identity confusion may be better served by therapy, rather than encouraged to express themselves as the opposite gender -- which is what this new policy will do. If the psychological experts cannot come to a consensus, it would be prudent for the board to steer clear of this issue, lest they end up on the wrong side and actually exacerbate the problems of those who are suffering.
After the board meeting, we met with people who identified themselves as transgendered (some of whom had had sexual reassignment surgery). It was clear that the majority of them were not students or employees of the colleges, but rather adult activists seeking to promote their agenda. Where were the students or employees that have been discriminated against?
I was surprised that proponents of this change failed to prove the current policy is not working. They did not bring any cases where someone utilized the existing system unsuccessfully. The examples were hypothetical situations -- people expressing fear of what they thought might happen if the policy were not passed -- fears that may not have been based in reality.
We hope the board can clearly see the attempt to silence intellectual diversity on this issue. We all agree that no one should be subjected to hostility and ridicule, so we must work toward the common good as we strive to end suffering and humiliation. Every legitimate objective can be met without revising the policy!
Question #2. Why is the proposed policy change for Maricopa something that matters to the outside community? If this policy is approved, how are you affected by this decision?
(Proposing Side) Answered by Erica Keppler, Student at Scottsdale Community College.
The Maricopa Community Colleges for many people are the best, and in many cases, the only option available for pursuing higher education and with it a better life. The availability of quality education benefits not only the student, but the society as a whole. When you are improving your mind, you are improving your nation. We as a community should be encouraging and celebrating of anyone who expresses the desire to improve themselves through academic study. Everyone benefits when they do. If anyone who is interested and willing to improve their mind is cut off from such opportunity, it is a loss of potential not just for the student but the community and economy as a whole.
The mission of The Maricopa Community Colleges is to provide access to higher education for diverse students and communities. This district is here to provide those educational opportunities to the people of this county. That value is recognized by the taxpayers who have supported its creation, growth, and continuing mission. This mission should not be limited to people who live their lives a certain way. That would not represent diversity. The people of Maricopa County are counting on higher education being available to everyone in this county. This change will further assure the people of this county that the mission to serve diverse students and communities will expand to meet the changing needs of this region.
For me personally, this change would allow me to move through and between the MCCCD campuses knowing that I am protected, I don’t have to hide, I don’t have to fear that if I am harassed, attacked, academically thwarted, etc., that I will have no recourse, and I can trust that the system will be on my side.
(Opposing Side) Answered by Andy Biggs, State Representative for District 22
Everyone is affected by this policy – parents, schools will be affected by this new norm. Many are affected regularly in community colleges when teachers who may not be able to tell if someone is male or female or have to deal with their own conscience. In the future, a change in the policy may lead to financial liability if a sex change is requested and the organization is required to pay for this such as happened to other organizations. Changes affect cultural and social norms.
Question #3. Why can’t instances of harassment based on gender identity be addressed through existing policies that deal with hostile work environment, sexual harassment and so forth? What is the need for a specific policy on gender identity?
(Proposing Side) Answered by Dr. Maria Hesse, President of Chandler-Gilbert
My name is Maria Hesse and I serve as President of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. As a person who has been a teacher and school administrator for more than 30 years, it has been my experience that the more clear administrators and board members can be about what is expected of employees and students, the better off we will all be. Policies are statements about what we believe and what we are willing to hold people accountable for in our institutions.
In the absence of a policy, employees and students will often do what comes naturally to them, without regard for the ramifications. Unfortunately for transgendered students and employees that can mean cruel and disrespectful behavior that should not be tolerated in schools and colleges. We are, after all, supposed to be learning environments, safe places where interactions should be civil and respectful. Unfortunately, we know that is often not the case, but a policy can state (1) this is the environment we are trying to create, (2) there is recourse for those who are discriminated against, and (3) there is a standard to which people will be held accountable.
During my years at CGCC, I have had the opportunity to help level the playing field for several transgendered employees and students because I am in a fortunate position of significant influence over the culture of the institution. I have taken pleasure in seeing many of our faculty and staff become more self-reflective about what it means to create a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful environment for all students and employees because they know that is the culture we are striving to create. We speak about it often.
In general, we speak about those things that matter to us and we commit to policy those issues around which we want no confusion. It is my sincere hope that we commit ourselves to having a policy that asks for no confusion about our commitment to non-discrimination based upon gender identity. We need to be explicit, not just to avoid lawsuits, but to encourage a culture that is welcoming, inclusive, and respectful for everyone in this room and every member of our families.
There are policies in place at MCCCD that provide mediums for students to make a complaint. On the complaint form there is a box marked “Other.” Complaints can be addressed. System in place and can work.
Question #4: Some critics of the proposed policy point out that the number of individuals this change would benefit is very small. Why should the board adopt a policy that deals with such a small group?
(Proposing Side) Answered by Milo Neild, Student at CGCC
Transgender individuals make up approximately 3% of the population. Though we take up a small percentage of the population we have incredibly high rankings when it comes to discrimination and hate crimes. 80% of the LGBT students are verbally harassed and 60% are physically assaulted, not to mention 4 out of 5 students don’t know even one supportive faculty member at their school. It is no wonder that 90% of transgender students feel unsafe on their campus and students faced with harassment or fear of it tend to have half the GPA of students who do not. As you know, Maricopa Community College District has over 250,000 students, 4,500 full time teachers and 9,000 part time teachers. Ignoring any number of individuals at such a high risk of discrimination in your district would have an incredibly negative impact not just on the individuals you are leaving behind but your schools as well.
Question #5: Assuming the board voted to include gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, what would be the negative impact for students, employees, or for the community, and how should those be addressed?
This will impact teachers regardless if they feel it is the best interest of students. Safety of students is impacted if we encourage them to live opposite of how they are born.
All are interested in the common good. Diversity includes many things. Should not rush into this issue. What does inclusivity really mean? This opinion is the major opinion. Inclusivity means taking everyone views into account.
Question #6: Assuming the board voted not to include gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, what would be the negative impact for students, employees, for the community, and how should those be addressed?
(Proposing Side) Answered by Lori Girshick, Sociology Faculty at CGCC
Maricopa has prided itself on being a leader in many innovative areas. If we do not pass this policy, we will harm our local and national reputation. According to the 2008 Genius Index, the Gender Equality National Index for Universities and Schools, over 220 college campuses have implemented nondiscrimination policies inclusive of gender identity and expression and sexual orientation. I am submitting a copy of that report.
Secondly, we will lose talented and promising students and valued employees because they will have no choice but to leave their classes or offices or face continued harassment and discomfort. It is not an option to put up with disrespect or abuse based on gender expression.
Thirdly, there will be a lack of clarity and consistency in policy from campus to campus, and a lack of direction for individual units such as college safety and Human Resources.
Fourth, now that we are addressing this issue, a “no” vote will signal “open season” for transgender harassment since the Governing Board would be refusing protection and the establishment of a policy.
And, last, we open ourselves to the possibility—and I would say, inevitability—of another lawsuit.
Question #7: How would the proposed policy change affect what happens in the classroom? Would it benefit or detract from the effectiveness of faculty and/or student success?
Can’t speak for faculty. Would impact mostly damaging a student’s image. Care about all students. Concerned about gender expression without it being defined. No constraints could cause problems. Lack of definition for this. This would cause problems.
(Proposing Side) Answered by Loman Clark, Counseling Faculty at Phoenix College
This process we are engaged in tonight is a teachable moment and people are learning of what we are made by our willingness to engage together on this journey. If Maricopa believes in diversity and inclusivity, any time it comes into our consciousness that employees or students suffer because of a gap in our awareness or critical thinking skills…we should be looking at how to safeguard the ability of all to be engaged in our educational community – as we are tonight.
I’m please to call the Maricopa Community Colleges my vocation home since 1994 (and higher education has been my career calling since 1988). My educational preparations prior joining the Maricopa Community Colleges include Sociology, Theology/Pastoral Care, & Counseling.
My roles within Maricopa Community Colleges have been those of a manager of student/employee development/enrichment programs AS WELL AS more recently, Service Faculty in Counseling. In my role as Counselor/Faculty member, effective teaching and learning exceeds competent delivery of course material. The most purposeful and educationally rich learning environments engage students in collaboration, dialogue across differences; engage students in values clarification and the power of choices in life to advocate for themselves and as informed citizens - the well-being of others. This informed engagement with diversity is increasingly an economic necessity. Gone are the days that our work companions look and act just like us.
I specifically teach a Counseling and Personal Development class on Eliminating Self-Defeating Behaviors – with a principle concept being the awareness of how much of our self-responsibility we ignore when we live our lives based upon scripts from prior experiences. I spend an entire semester (and could spend several more in sequence) exploring the human mind, heart & spirit regarding how to live consciously and in integrity.
All students and employees have blind sides. I’m aware of student accounts of harassment and inhospitable learning environments because fellow students &/or faculty we unwilling, unable or unaware of any protections based upon gender identify/gender expression. Revising our anti-discrimination policies to include gender identify and gender expression is consistent with our belief that we ALL have much to teach each other and no one should have to be long endangered by the ignorance of others. For learning to continue to be effective, policies should continue to be brought to our awareness and revised as we see gaps and barriers to the full and safe participation of ALL
• That both the community and administration are looking to the governing board to create an explicit policy statement to ensure their safety and protections at Maricopa.
Question #8. Regardless of the outcome of the board’s decision, what, if anything, should be done to better educate students, faculty and staff about issues of gender identity and nondiscrimination policies?
Regardless, people would be far more empathetic to transgender people if this is classified as a mental disorder. If we have district in-service workshops which would benefit to know all facets involved. This is a mental issue.
Several people have mentioned that Gender Identity and Expression are in the DSM. And it is. But it is used by psychologists and doctors to help people transition, to live in the gender identity they are born with, not to label them as mentally ill and needing to change their gender identity. This is not a mental illness, this is a diagnosis that allows for transition. Also, we've been speaking as if all transgender people are transsexuals who transition. That is not true. There are other people such as the masculine-looking woman, who might be harassed in a woman's bathroom--she is a woman and she belongs in the bathroom, but some might disapprove of her gender expression.
We need to build on the strong foundation of EOLT offerings, MOSAIC, and SafeSpace workshops. But, most of all, we need a strong commitment from the administration, college presidents, and supervisors from departments throughout the district, at every college, to themselves go through trainings on gender identity and expression, and to require their staff to attend trainings.
As a sociologist I can tell you that raising the visibility of the life issues transgender people face will address the stereotypes and lack of knowledge people are facing. Furthermore, these conversations will affirm the validity of a transgender identity.
As a national trainer on transgender issues, I can say that providing a space for information, dialogue, and exploration of concerns will help in successfully implementing a nondiscrimination policy. Equality Maricopa can take the lead on providing website information for the District, and there are faculty, counselors, and staff from many college sites who will participate in providing information or facilitating trainings that will make this policy more than words on a page.
Question #9. Maricopa has launched a new Talent Management Initiative geared to recruit, develop and to retain the most qualified employees. How would adoption of the proposed policy change affect Maricopa’s ability to do this effectively?
(Opposing Side) Answered by Andy Biggs, State House Representative for District 22
This policy would encourage more transgenders to apply and express themselves. Many would see this as a radical change. Would have a negative impact on enrollment and believe this would be harmful.
(Proposing Side) Answered by Dr. Maria Hesse, President of Chandler-Gilbert
Newer generations of employees use commitment to diversity as a criterion for employment – not just a statement but action. We want to attract employees who believe in our mission, vision and values. We will be judged by our actions. We need to consider what kind of organization we are, what will people see, who will want to join.
People who face discrimination because of their gender identity and expression fear loss of jobs. They seek job security and are loyal to companies that protect them and allow them to use their skills and abilities.
I’ll tell you one quick story before my time is up. Several years ago, CGCC had an aviation faculty member who was transgendered, a woman operating in a male-dominated world. I was frankly worried when she told me her story, because she was in an environment which I feared would be less than accepting, and at a campus which at the time had only one safety officer and no on-site administrators. She shared her personal story with me only because someone had figured out who she had previously been, which made her fearful, and she had become convinced that I could be considered an ally, a trusted colleague.
Over the course of a year, we spoke with several of her fellow faculty members who clearly had great respect for her expertise in aviation maintenance. Over time, they became protective of her, helping her to carefully negotiate what could have been dangerous territory. She has since moved on, after having been asked by the Air Force to take a special position related to the war and national defense. She is one of the few people in the country who was perceived as having enough expertise to repair and fly jets, helicopters, and blimps. She was quite an extraordinary person.
I would hope that should she ever leave the service of her country to return to teaching that she might consider CGCC again, but under different circumstances. Circumstances where she might openly read in our policies that she is protected from discrimination, where she would be respected for the expertise she brings to the organization without fear about who she once was or now is, and where there is a clear non-discrimination statement about what we mean by inclusiveness and respect.
Question #10. ASU does include gender identity in their nondiscrimination policy. What evidence is there that this policy has had either a beneficial or a negative impact for the university or for the community?
(Opposing Side) Answered by Catherine Smith, student at ASU
ASU has gender identity in their policies. There certainly has not been enough time to evaluate what has happened at ASU. Students feel safe there but not all students feel safe. Part of a group of 100 women who feel unsafe particularly with the use of bathrooms. Because others have changed policies is not the best reason to change them.
(Proposing Side) Answered by Rosa Inchausti, Director of Diversity, City of Tempe
Discussed the process that Tempe went through to provide positive outcomes. This policy was addressed five years ago. In 2003 adopted a new policy because studies showed that one in 20 were not afforded the same ratings as others. Policies needed to include inclusive values. Diversity was negative and emotionally charged. Opposing groups and viewpoints. Simple criteria was used to develop plan. Values and mission were taken into account. Studies showed that 170 employees out of 1700 were GLBT. The benefits of the new policies were measureable outcomes, retaining best employees, inclusiveness.
Do we want to be like the City of Tempe or the City of Scottsdale, change proactively or do it through lawsuits and public forums?
• Question #11. Under what conditions would it be possible for you to work with members of the (opposing side) to address some of the concerns they have expressed?
(Opposing Side) Answered by Andy Biggs.
Work under any condition. Make sure that both sides are understood. There are two philosophies. Understanding of gender identity disorder.
(Proposing Side) Answered by Erica Keppler.
I would eagerly welcome an opportunity to sit down in a frank and open discussion with our opposition. To date, I personally have never had a chance to do so. Their animosity toward my community perplexes me. We are harmless people, simply dealing with our issues and pursuing our happiness, just like everyone else. I would look forward to being able to hear their position expressed and justified in a fair and equal exchange. Such a conversation would also give me the opportunity to demonstrate to them first hand that I am not the bad person they have made me out to be, but am in fact reasonable, intelligent, educated, literate, of good morals and fine character, even if at times a bit immodest.
The mission of this district is to provide access to higher education for diverse students and communities. As a member of one of those diverse communities, it is my hope that any such negotiation be conducted in pursuit of that mission.
I would happily sit down with the members of the opposing side, provided that they be tolerant of my right to express my gender and live as a transgender person, and come to the table in the spirit of this district’s mission with a sincere desire to come to an equitable agreement that allows all of us to pursue education and employment within this college system.
Question #12. If a Maricopa student or employee is harassed or discriminated against based on their gender identity or expression, how should they appropriately respond to that situation? How should Maricopa respond?
A statement in support of current Maricopa EEOC categorization prepared by Dr. Brian Dille of Mesa Community College was read. It stated:
“It has come to my attention that the governing board will soon consider whether to add transgender to the categories of protected individuals under the Maricopa EEOC policy. I support the current categorization as adequate. While I think I understand the desires of those who made this proposal, and their overall goals may be laudable, their effort is misdirected, for the EEOC policy is not the place to make a statement on the relative value of one form of gender expression or basis of gender identity over another. Indeed, this effort to inject the politics of identity into the EEOC policy reflects a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of such a policy. There are two primary reasons Maricopa, or any other institution, has an EEOC policy.
The first is a reaction to pervasive discriminatory behavior. When such behavior is so ingrained into a culture or society that discriminatory behavior can be assumed to be occurring as a natural course, then an institution must enact a firm policy to curtail such behavior to insure that it does not occur at that institution. An EEOC policy is a proactive measure to counter the prevailing culture. The Federal government has identified populations that have been, and continue to be, subject to this prevailing discriminatory behavior. The current Maricopa EEOC policy includes all such populations. Unless proponents can demonstrate that pervasive discrimination currently occurs within Maricopa due to gender identity issues, changing the EEOC policy is not called for.
The second purpose of an EEOC policy is risk management. If an institution does not take proactive measures to prevent discrimination against protected populations, it opens itself to civil lawsuits and federal sanctions. The proponents of this measure would have Maricopa add a new category of protected individuals, a category that is not defined as such by Federal EEOC regulations. This means that what constitutes discriminatory behavior against those individuals is not clearly set forth, nor is it established in case law in Arizona. If the Maricopa EEOC policy is changed, the Governing Board will be voluntarily adopting a policy whose boundaries are ill-defined, a condition that invites lawsuits rather than preventing them. The Board is reminded that once adopted, the new EEOC category will be legally binding on its employees, and the Board will be forced to defend against discrimination claims based on the new category, however poorly defined such behavior may be.
As a final point, the EEOC policy is not intended to be a comprehensive list of physical differences or social attitudes that might create diversity in the workplace. One could argue that the 15 percent of us who are left-handed face constant difficulties being forced to use right handed scissors, computer mice with left-button programming, and telephones with cradles designed for righties. Such institutionalized discriminatory behavior is at least as pervasive as that faced by those with different gender identification, though clearly not as emotionally charged. If the Board decides to use the EEOC categories as an affirmative political statement, it can expect to be continually bombarded with requests from other groups who covet such a statement.
In conclusion, the existing EEOC statement should be upheld. Changing it to include transgender as a protected population will carry significant costs, including yet again altering the many policies and procedures throughout the Maricopa system, exposing the District to unnecessary litigation, and opening the EEOC statement to an unending debate surrounding the politics of identity. The safest course is to follow the clear guidelines set by the Federal EEOC office in these matters, something Maricopa is wisely doing at present.”
Why should expression be included? Not spelled out but included. More universities are including both and Equality Maricopa was modeling that. Transsexual is not the only description.
(Opposing Side) Sharon Slater, President, Family Watch International
Why gender identity and expressing? Radical departure because it protects behavior without limitations. The statement by Dr. Brian Dille reads: “In conclusion, the existing EEOC statement should be upheld. Changing it to include transgender as a protected population will carry significant costs, including yet again altering the many policies and procedures throughout the Maricopa system, exposing the District to unnecessary litigation, and opening the EEOC statement to an unending debate surrounding the politics of identity. The safest course is to follow the clear guidelines set by the Federal EEOC office in these matters, something Maricopa is wisely doing at present.”
There is great compassion and sensitivity for those that identify to the opposite gender and we need to look for ways for a win-win solution.
(Proposing Side) Rory Gilbert, Manager for Diversity Initiatives
I am struck by the terms used to describe transgender people this evening by the opposing side: mentally ill, erotic desire and arousal, sexual predator, pedophilia, fetishism, and dangerous. All of these are spoken with compassion for the sick. This sounds condescending rather than respecting the individual’s personal knowledge of who he/she is. (Note misrepresentation of APA guidelines) Additionally, one of the speakers talked about the fact that if we had this policy then more transgender people would apply as students, faculty and staff. He stated that this is not what they want and is “counter to our values and will negatively impact enrollment.” I want to note that UofA made this change in 2003, ASU in 2005 and both are seeing growth in enrollment and no issues based on this change. I am also confused about what people are concerned about in terms of “expression.” I don’t know what the risk is.
Finally there have been assertions that if the policy is changed there will be more lawsuits. Currently the state of lawsuits is very ambiguous and not being clear on our policy will in fact put us at risk of more lawsuits just to get clarity.
• Need for leadership from the Governing Board to explicitly state their expectations – not to assume – to be proactive rather than putting our organization, students or employees through litigious processes that are time consuming, costly and painful to all concerned
• To recognize the importance of our role as a leader in inclusivity and equity
Board Member Comments:
Governing Board Member Linda Rosenthal thanked everyone for their attendance and participation. She stated that she believed that if we are inclusive, the better for the organization. She asked if the Board could separate their personal biases for the sake of the best policy for MCCCD.
Governing Board Member Colleen Clark stated that her decision had nothing to do with personal bias. The policy that protects gender identity and expression does not need to exist. MCCCD will not tolerate discrimination because of this. Campuses must be safe. Hate crimes will not be tolerated. This issue does not need to present itself as divisive. It is our own behavior. We can all agree that policy is sufficient. Policy that protects is already in place. It protects every student. Compassions drive values, not condescension. Values and community all share. Inclusiveness, teamwork are critical. Responsibility is everyone’s accountability and each is responsible for own actions.
Governing Board Member Jerry Walker shared comments from a letter he received from a colleague. The comments stated that this person was strongly opposed to imposing such a policy on the students and faculty. There should be enough rules already to prevent gratuitous cruelty and abuse for people suffering from confusion about their own sexuality as well as for anyone else on campus. Imposing rules to try to make dysfunctional behavior “normal” is just ridiculous and will waste the educational resources of community colleges. If this policy passes, he will encourage state legislators to restructure community college board, especially Maricopa County’s, to nullify the impact of out of control board members. Mr. Walker stated he did not want to discriminate but did want to reiterate that we are here because a vote was taken earlier, however, some are seeking to impose a different outcome.
Governing Board Member Don Campbell made reference that 50-60 years ago laws were not in place that included the protection for people of color. The constitution does not protect all people. In Arizona during 1945 there were segregated schools and restrooms. Had money to pay but could not go everywhere. Have to take a look at these things. Both groups need to be brought together and come up with a solution. We are here to provide education. Dr. Campbell requested copies of materials presented tonight or made reference to.
Summary & Conclusion:
Chancellor Glasper thanked Mr. Olivas for facilitating the discussion and also thanked both sides for their participation. He stated that the evening’s process had been deliberate and comments came from a diverse council. On August 26 the first reading of this issue was proposed and tonight set the stage to decide how to move ahead. The safety of all students needs to be ensured. The Board will now review materials and bring action forward for a vote.
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary