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FSU Avoids Further Weakening GLBT Support

… FSU’s associate general counsel D. Michael Cramer asked that the student union’s policy be more in line with the university’s, which does not include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and socio-economic status.

My bottom line is I don’t write about my former jobs unless I have positive things to say, but given the FSU-centricity of Tallahassee, this story is much broader than My Former Place Of Work (MFPOW). Yesterday (after a flurry of emails that were soon circulating city-wide) the Florida State University Student Union Board rejected a proposal from FSU’s general counsel, D. Michael Cramer, to remove protection for sexual orientation from the Student Union Board’s anti-discrimination policy.

At last week’s conference, Jan Ison quoted another librarian who once said libraries should avoid doing things that make them look stupid. Of all the things FSU had to worry about — including the budget crisis — this was a priority? Please, Cramer, you make FSU look stupid.

The Democrat covered this story — good for them! — and noted that the big school down the street (University of Florida at Gainesville, gallingly known as UF, as if there were only one, not eleven) had much stronger anti-discriminatory policies. Not noted in the story is that UF also offers its faculty domestic partner health benefits.

Giving up protections and benefits was part of the package deal of moving here, and MFPOW wasn’t worse than anywhere else in the immediate area. The state itself offers little protection (and is busy trying to Defend Marriage when it really needs to be defending public services and figuring out how to fix the budget and insurance crises).

State institutions that want to compete outside of Florida (you know… like with other ARL institutions) need to work around painfully backward state laws and policies — and these institutions are often attempting to provide equal rights and benefits in an environment that enables the D. Michael Cramers of the world to feel free to get up in front of students and propose removing protections from a nebbishly little student government policy. Doesn’t spell well for future reforms.

When locals go on and on about how “great” it is here, I need to start saying “Yes, but.” A little awareness wouldn’t hurt.

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