Regents vote to expand anti-discrimination policy

Protection now expressed for political philosophy, gender identity, gender expression

Protection for diverse expression of political philosophy, as well as gender identity and gender expression, now are included in the CU Board of Regents’ anti-discrimination policy.

At its Tuesday meeting at the University Memorial Center on the CU-Boulder campus, the board voted unanimously for the changes to the Laws of the Regents, Article 10, and Regent Policy 1.C.2.

The regents had discussed intellectual diversity, or diversity of political philosophy, among faculty at the board’s April meeting, then spent two hours on the topic at the June meeting, when a resolution addressing the matter was introduced. It was withdrawn when regents decided it first be reviewed by the boards Laws and Policies Committee. The idea of specifying intolerance of discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression also was raised at the meeting.

Board Chair Michael Carrigan said the Laws and Policies Committee recommended that both additions be decided by the full board in a single vote, which is what happened at Tuesday’s meeting. The tally was 8-0, with Regent Steve Bosley unable to attend the meeting.

“I’m proud of the changes we’ve made, which show that this university won’t tolerate discrimination in any form,” Carrigan said.

From the resolution:

RESOLVED the Regents of the University of Colorado amend Article 10 of the Laws of the Regents to read, “The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, GENDER IDENTITY, GENDER EXPRESSION, veteran status, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, OR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities."RESOLVED the Regents of the University of Colorado amend Regent Policy 1.C.2 to read, "The university is committed to the principle of non-discrimination and does not tolerate harassment on any basis, including sex, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, GENDER IDENTITY, GENDER EXPRESSION, age, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, OR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY."Regent Sue Sharkey said the adoption of the new language “really does send a very good statement about the University of Colorado, and in a very positive way. … We’re not going to discriminate based upon a person’s political philosophy, political affiliation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The call for political diversity was first raised by Sharkey and Regent James Geddes, both Republicans. Regent Irene Griego, one of the board’s four Democrats, said she agreed with Sharkey’s remarks Tuesday.

“A lot of conversation has evolved because of this policy, and I’m proud we’ve been able to adopt it,” she said. “We are saying that we respect all people from all backgrounds, from all political affiliations. … It’s a very inclusive perspective that I think we want to share with people. All people need to know they’re protected through this policy.”

Geddes thanked his fellow regents, particularly Carrigan, and Board Secretary Patrick O’Rourke, vice president and legal counsel, for providing expertise and advice throughout the process.

Said Carrigan of the board members, “This unanimous vote says a lot about who we are and how we work across party lines.”

In a related matter, O’Rourke updated the board on its request for information on a proposed systemwide climate survey aimed at determining the degree of tolerance for diverse perspectives.

Three responses have been collected, and they reflect a wide variation in cost and methodology. The price range is from $65,000 to $180,000.

Any company that the university might contract with, O’Rourke said, must provide assurances that its survey would yield high-quality, useful data that could serve as a benchmark for evaluating how the university implements its diversity principles.