IncludeMe campaign continues push for non-discrimination

The campaign has not yet reached the UM system Board of Curators.

The campaign to incorporate gender identity and expression into the UM system's non-discrimination policy has yet to reach the UM system Board of Curators or other UM campuses, despite the continuous push from campaign leaders.

Sean Jarvis, InsideOut president and IncludeMe campaign co-leader, said Pride Month events in April, such as Friday's Day of Silence, should bring attention to the campaign.

Jarvis said he's primarily interested in continuing to educate incoming undergraduates and current students.

"I have an understanding that the Board of Curators isn't going to be a fast process," Jarvis said. "That's how it works institutionally. We don't want to get into a situation where we have it at the very high levels, but we don't have any student advocates to explain the elements of it."

Erin Horth, Triangle Coalition president and IncludeMe campaign co-leader, said the next step is an e-mail campaign.

"We'll write a form letter people can send to pressure whoever they know on Faculty Council and in departments," Horth said. "We want Faculty Council to consider the issue and departments to change specific policies."

Horth said the campaign plans on holding a rally to gain support and raise morale but gaining support just from students isn't the issue.

"We need faculty support here and faculty and students on other campuses," Horth said.

Horth and Jarvis said they have not been in communication with Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce.

"I need to make a step to contact him because he hasn't made any attempt to contact us," Horth said.

Noce said he met with UM system President Gary Forsee in March, two weeks before spring break, and discussed changing the non-discrimination policy to include gender identity and expression.

"We got that pushed to system-level," Noce said. "We are currently trying to, for lack of a better term, court the Board of Curators."

Noce said the next step is to bring the issue to the other UM campuses.

"That's been the biggest hurdle," Noce said. "It seems like we're making strides. It's such a long road when you have to do a system change."

Noce said he plans to follow up on the progress of the campaign after the next Intercampus Student Council meeting, where it will be put to a vote.

He said he doubts the issue has reached the curators.

"They don't bring things up to the curators unless it has all the campuses' support," Noce said. "We have to explain the change that has to be made to the other systems because it's such a complex issue."

Noce said he would be talking to Horth and Jarvis after the ISC meeting to see what steps need to be taken.

Horth, who is a senior, will graduate this semester, leaving Jarvis in charge for next year.

"Basically what I think we'll be doing next year is continuing to talk to departments and faculty counsel," Jarvis said. "And continuing to take into account that Faculty Council is going to take a look at the proposal and be able to give a recommendation to the board of curators if they end up seeing it, depending on Forsee's decision."

Chancellor Brady Deaton met with Forsee on March 25 to discuss the possible non-discrimination policy clause. Horth said she has not heard from Deaton.

Jarvis said he wants to have students advocating with knowledge of the issue's context when the final decision is made.

"Two years from now, everyone familiar with the campaign will have graduated," Jarvis said. "Then (the campaign) doesn't have much context or it may not be seen for what it is."

Jarvis said Pride Month is a time when students can be educated about queer politics on campus and when there is more coverage of the campaign.

"IncludeMe is not only about queer communities," Jarvis said. "But the leadership is connected heavily to queer leaders on campus."

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