Press

Texas A&M President Rebuffs Student Group, Delays Enactment of Nondiscrimination Policy

Date: 
August 23, 2000

'Don't Write Any More Press Releases!' President Bowen Tells Students

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today urged Texas A&M University President Ray Bowen to implement a nondiscrimination policy covering sexual orientation and to hold a substantive meeting with student leaders to discuss the issue.

Last week, Texas A&M unveiled on its web site a new nondiscrimination policy that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status." After both A&M officials posted the new policy on the web site and after gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students announced it in a press release, Bowen abruptly announced that its implementation was being delayed.

Since then, GLBT student activists have tried to meet with Bowen. On Tuesday, the students were able to secure a brief meeting – only to be told to "trust" the A&M administration on this issue and "don’t write any more press releases!"

In an Aug. 23 letter faxed to President Bowen, NGLTF Executive Director Elizabeth Toledo urged the president to reconsider his decision. "Absent a clear, official statement on this matter, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Aggies remain vulnerable to unfair and unequal treatment and are discouraged from reporting victimization to campus or civil authorities," Toledo wrote. "Failure to expressly forbid discrimination also sends the message to the campus community that GLBT people are second class citizens and that discrimination against them is acceptable."

Toledo noted that a number of Texas institutions of higher learning – including the University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Christian University and Texas Women's University – have nondiscrimination policies covering sexual orientation. In addition, Southern Methodist University has a policy banning student harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.

Note to reporters: For more information, please contact Jordan Davis, President of GLBT Aggies. Davis’ phone number is 979-694-8977.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.