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LGBT advisory group recommendations aim to make UC more inclusive

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that she is moving to adopt measures aimed at providing a more inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, staff and faculty at UC.

UC will adjust student record systems to enable students to indicate a preferred name to appear on campus records along with their legal name. University facilities offices also will begin converting single-stall restrooms into gender-neutral facilities and incorporating gender inclusive-restrooms in new and renovated UC buildings, where practicable.

The actions were taken Sept. 29 at the inaugural meeting of a systemwide advisory council on LGBT issues established by Napolitano in June. The group, which includes students, faculty, staff, and alumni representatives as well as experts in LGBT issues from outside the university, was established as part of a series of recommendations submitted by a task force on LGBT issues earlier this year.

“UC should be the gold standard where these issues are concerned.” Napolitano said. “We want to look at not only what we are doing now, but also in the medium and long term for our students, our staff, our faculty, and the communities where our campuses are situated.”

Napolitano also directed the council to develop proposals for improving staff training and planning a systemwide convening that capitalizes on the ground-breaking faculty research into LGBT issues that is happening on UC campuses.

“A sense of belonging is really important on a college campus,” said Pamela Brown, UC vice president of Institutional Research and Academic Planning and ex officio member of the council. “Having this group of experts to provide ongoing advice, guidance and feedback to UC leadership is really important to ensuring that we continue to provide an environment that feels welcoming to all members of the community.”

UC campuses typically have been rated highly in rankings of LGBT-friendly colleges and universities, but even more could be done, officials said. “UC has the opportunity to truly set the standard, and shift the way these issues are addressed nationally,” Napolitano said.

“This is an ongoing effort,” Brown said. “Inclusiveness has always been an important value at UC. The establishment of a new advisory council ensures that we will continue to find ways and seek places where we can make improvements to the experiences of LGBT members of our community.”

The advisory council will meet quarterly. The next meeting will be scheduled in the winter.

Members of the advisory group include:

  • Raja Bhattar, director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center, UCLA
  • Francisco Buchting, director of grantmaking and community initiatives, Horizons Foundation
  • Faith Cheltenham, president, BiNet USA
  • Darek DeFreece, former UC regent, and managing director and chief administrative officer of foreign exchange and international treasury, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Jody L. Herman, manager of transgender research and Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • Ralph Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor,UC Davis
  • Janna Le Blanc, assistant director human resources, UC Riverside
  • Herbert Lee, vice provost for academic affairs, UC Santa Cruz
  • Bryan Martinez Escobar, undergraduate student, psychology, UC Merced
  • Marcela Ramirez, Ph.D. student, higher education administration and policy program, UC Riverside
  • Juana María Rodríguez, professor, gender and women’s studies, UC Berkeley
  • Beth Schneider, professor, sociology and affiliated faculty, department of feminist studies, UC Santa Barbara
  • Theresa Sparks, executive director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • Shaun Travers, director, LGBT Resource Center, UC San Diego
  • Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, UCOP
  • Judy K. Sakaki, vice president for student affairs, UCOP

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