On Stonehill's Inclusion of the Term Sexual Orientation in Policy Statements
April 27, 2012
Members of the Stonehill Community:
Stonehill College’s inclusion of the term sexual orientation within certain policy statements has been a topic of much conversation across campus. This subject has been discussed in Town-Hall meetings, faculty meetings and a video produced by students. This issue isn’t singular to Stonehill. In recent years, at Catholic colleges and universities across the country, there has been vigorous and ongoing debate on whether sexual orientation should be specifically included in their non-discrimination policies.
Stonehill College is committed to providing a community in which the dignity and worth of each of its members is respected. Stonehill’s policies, including its Community Standards, already includes specific statements which oppose harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The question brought forward is whether to include sexual orientation in the College’s non-discrimination policy statement. The non-discrimination policy statement and the College’s employment policy do not contain a specific reference to sexual orientation.
In recent months, I have asked my staff to review this issue from multiple angles. They have evaluated language that is used in other Catholic colleges’ non-discrimination policies and had discussions with colleagues at other institutions regarding their approach to matters like this. In addition, I have met with faculty and staff to gain a full understanding of their concerns related to this issue.
Given the continuing concerns raised by students, faculty, staff and alumni, I have asked that this topic be considered at the next Stonehill College Board of Trustees meeting, scheduled for May 17th and 18th. Prior to that meeting, I would like an opportunity to have a dialogue with a representative group of students to discuss the complexities of the issue. My office will collaborate with the Student Government Association to coordinate the meeting.
I truly value and appreciate these concerns being brought forward from members of the Stonehill community. The conversations and initiatives surrounding this issue relate directly to Stonehill’s mission to educate the whole person so that each Stonehill graduate thinks, acts, and leads with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world.
I will report back to the Stonehill community on the discussion that takes place at the May Board meeting. If you have specific concerns that you would like to address related to this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yours in Holy Cross,