On Wednesday, Student Government Senate passed a resolution to gain the University of Miami’s public support for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.
The act is a proposed bill to amend Florida’s non-discrimination policy to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification.
This amendment to Florida’s legislation is supported by Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, a coalition of “some of the state’s top employers and business leaders,” according to flcompetitiveworkforce.com. Businesses in the coalition include the American Airlines Arena, Walt Disney World, the University of North Florida and Rollins College, among others.
UPride President Jacob Rudolph, who wrote the resolution presented to SG Senate, says he hopes the university will publicly support the Florida act. He also says that this resolution works to affirm what has already been done at the university level and endorse it at the state level.
The university incorporated gender identity and gender expression into UM’s non-discrimination policy in 2013.
“The resolution that we passed was a call to action,” Rudolph said. “We hope to get endorsement from the administration on this. So we would love for [President Donna E. Shalala] to write a sentence or two saying the University of Miami as an institution supports the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.”
A similar resolution addressing LGBT issues was passed at the end of fall 2014, which called for the creation of a gender-neutral housing option for all students.
Though a gender-neutral housing option is still not available, Brianna Hathaway, SG president-elect, said university administration told her that gender-neutral bathrooms could be a possibility during her term, according to a previous story published in The Miami Hurricane.
Rudolph says that though there is still work to be done for LGBT students, the university has been receptive when it comes to their issues.
“The university I think is doing a very good job so far of listening to students who have brought up concerns like gender neutral housing and gender neutral bathrooms,” he said. “You know, they weren’t on the radar until students brought them up and so I think the university should continue being diligent about listening to students.”
He also says that he hopes Shalala’s successor continues to work with students.
“I would love to see this new president maintain this same kind of open door policy when it comes to student input especially regarding LGBT issues,” Rudolph said.