Resolution Condemning Hate Crimes Against Members of the Campus Community

Submitted by: Scott Miller, Chair of the Faculty, Catherine Nelson, Statewide Senator, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate; Co-sponsored by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity

Resolved: That the Sonoma State University (SSU) Academic Senate condemns recent acts of vandalism against faculty colleagues targeted because of their support for issues related to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community; and be it further

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate commends President Armiñana for his October 26, 2008 condemnation of these acts as hate crimes; and be it further

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate takes seriously its commitment to a safe campus environment for all members of the campus community, including our GLBTQ students; and be it further

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate strongly urges that the President’s Diversity Council and senior campus administrators give this matter their immediate and full attention, and work together to develop a campus-wide response to these acts; and be it further

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate strongly urges that the Senate Ad Hoc Diversity Committee give this matter its full attention by holding a forum on the issue and sharing the results with the Senate, senior campus administrators, and the President’s Diversity Council;

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate reaffirms its May 2006 “Resolution Regarding the New Gender and Cultures Center;” and be it further

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate calls upon the Administration to reinstitute a campus-wide training program for faculty, staff and students on issues related to diversity andto create a campus-wide position with diversity as its primary portfolio.

Rationale

For the last decade, the Sonoma State University Academic Senate has taken a strong stand against discrimination and hate crimes.1 This resolution continues that tradition. On October 24, 2008, Professor Robert McNamara reported to the campus community via the Academic Senate listserv “Senate-talk,” that he had been targeted with acts of anti-gay vandalism, which included the removal from his office door of a “No on Proposition 8” poster (the November 2008 California ballot initiative to create a constitutional amendment that would deprive same sex partners their currently protected constitutional right to marry), and “Safe Zone” stickers expressing support and safe haven for GLBTQ members of the campus community. The stickers were removed a total of five times. Other members of the campus community report similar acts. At its October 23, 2008 meeting, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate charged Chair Miller with preparing a resolution condemning these acts of vandalism. On October 24, 2008, President Armiñana issued a statement expressing his concern about these hate crimes, and urging the Senate Ad Hoc Committee and the President’s Diversity Council to turn their attention to this matter. At its initial meeting on October 27, 2008, the newly formed Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity requested that it be added to the resolution as a co-sponsor (pending confirmation). Given that over the past twenty years, Campus Climate Committee reports of surveys of faculty, staff and students have noted a higher level of concern among members of the GLBTQ community than any other underrepresented group on campus in terms of their experience at Sonoma State, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate believes that it is imperative that the Senate take a strong stand condemning these hate crimes, and that immediate and sustained action be taken by the University to create and maintain a safe environment for our GLBTQ students, faculty and staff.

Approved by the Senate October 30, 2008

1. See, for example:

4/24/08 Reaffirmation of University Policy on Non-Discrimination and Recommended Action Regarding Blood Banks

4/24/08 Combating Hate Crimes at Sonoma State University

10/25/07 Reaffirmation of University Policy on Discrimination Regarding Military Advertising

5/11/06 Resolution Regarding New Gender and Cultures Center

12/16/04 Resolution in Support of Boycotting Holt, Reinhart and Winston and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publishers

5/20/04 Endorsement of Campus Climate Committee Statement on Same-Sex Marriage

9/18/03 Resolution Opposing Proposition 54, the Racial Privacy Initiative

3/12/98 Resolution Regarding Military Recruiters on Campus