The University has no concrete plans yet, as to whether it will enact the Community Standards statement or add sexual orientation to the discrimination clause of the hiring statement, but it is taking steps to raise awareness of issues of sexual orientation.
“We have a lot of work to do to make the campus more inclusive,” said Sherri Crahen, dean of students.
The University is implementing some programs that students suggested to administrators.
JCU will provide HIV/AIDS testing through the Cuyahoga County Board of Health on Feb. 24 in the Dolan Science Center from 12 until 4 p.m., a request that students made of the administration in the discussion following the protest. Students can call the JCU Health Center to make an appointment for testing. The testing is confidential and students only leave their initials when making an appointment and the testing itself will be done in a private room.
Also there is a new course in the works covering issues of sexual orientation, according to John Day, academic vice president. The course will be interdisciplinary and will be open to students next fall.
“We need to education formally, in the curriculum, and also in conversation with others in the community,” said Day.
Day also said that a logical next step is to discuss the issue in the March meetings of the Academic Affairs and Planning Committee and the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Directors.
Additionally, nationally recognized speaker Vernon Wall will be on campus Feb. 18 to discuss LGBTQ and social justice issues. He will conduct a program for the student affairs staff, have lunch with the Allies group on campus and hold a lecture open to the entire campus.
Crahen said, “This is an opportunity for people to come together and learn.”
Crahen also said that Student Affairs will also look into how Resident Assistants and Orientation leaders are trained in dealing with students who face issues about sexual orientation. Student Affairs wants to ensure the training is effective and will look into whether there is a way to revise and improve that training.
Students are also taking steps forward following the protest. Students are volunteering to fast in group shifts until March in support of the LGBTQ community. The students have a table set up in the Lombardo Student Center Atrium, where someone will be constantly present.
Sophomore Andy Bryan-Ramon said, “I am very hopeful for the future, and I feel John Carroll has potential.”
Students are sending a petition around as well. As of Feb. 9, the petition had over 300 signatures. The petition has a statement of their goals, including to meet with the board of directors and to expand the discrimination policy.
Both administrators and students agree the University has work ahead it.
Day said, “People need to understand why students and others feel unwelcome. It’s related to education and living up to the best in ourselves as a welcoming community that values the diversity of its members.”