Despite Florida A&M officials having to face more immediate, pressing issues, the Student Government Association is working to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the university’s non-discrimination policy.
On Sept. 28, The Famuan reported that Tallahassee Community College student Fabian Johns was allegedly turned away from FACES Modeling Troupe Inc. because of her transgender identity.
The article also revealed apparent long-standing discrimination practices from the group.
Just days after the story was published, SGA revamped their efforts to get legal protection for FAMU’s LGBT students.
Asha Rizor, director of diversity for SGA said that, as of late, they have not abandoned efforts to change the discrimination policy.
“SGA drafted a revised discrimination policy which includes gender identity and sexual orientation,” said Rizor.
Student Body President Breyon Love said his office has also been working diligently to make the change.
“I’ve been working with Avery McKnight [General Counsel] and William Hudson [Vice President of Student Affairs]. We have all been doing research on this issue just to make sure we have everything in order,” Love said.
He said the process of changing the Non-Discrimination Policy within the “Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Regulations” entails a number of procedures and that the events surrounding the unfortunate death of student Robert Champion has slowed progress on this issue.
“The recent events have thrown a wrench in our being able to work on changing the policy,” said Love from Conyers, Ga.
Love said he, along with the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the General Counsel are doing the best they can to have the policy changed within a year.
FAMU changing its Non-Discrimination Policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity would leave Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. as the only public university to exclude both from its policy.
The state’s non-discrimination policy includes neither.
“This is something my administration and I would like to accomplish before our term is over,” said Love.
Denise Bailey, a senior accounting student said she is confident Love and SGA will get the policy changed.
“I think they’ll be able to get it done,” said the Miami native.