Council formed to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender employees

A new group has been formed to support the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees at KU. The Lambda Council, established in 2009, is open to any KU employee.

In October 2009, members of the newly formed group met with Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and provided her with a briefing book that identified potential avenues for better supporting LGBT faculty and staff. With her support, the council has been working to pursue policy changes, supporting the University Senate Domestic Partner Benefits Task Force and assisting Human Resources and Equal Opportunity in developing policies addressing bereavement leave and nondiscrimination. The group also operates a listserv and Web site to alert faculty and staff about news and activities of interest on campus.

“We are excited about this opportunity to help make KU a more supportive place for LGBT employees,” said Lori Messinger, an executive committee faculty representative and the outreach coordinator. “The Lambda Council is here to be a resource for departments and professional schools in hiring and retaining quality faculty and staff. We can meet with job candidates and provide information about the climate and institutional supports. We also want to provide support for LGBT graduate student interns, instructors and researchers.”

The Lambda Council is governed by the membership-at-large. Meetings are held twice a semester and feature networking and discussion of current topics of interest to participants. The council will hold a meet-and-greet social event at 5 p.m. April 22 at Stone Creek restaurant, 3801 W. Sixth St. The council is also working with the women, gender and sexuality studies department to coordinate KU’s first Lavender Graduation to recognize graduating LGBT students. That ceremony will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 14, at the English Room in the Kansas Union.

A volunteer executive committee meets monthly to oversee the business of the group. Members of the executive committee include Saida Bonifield, Student Involvement and Leadership Center; John Connolly, molecular biosciences; Annie McKay, Student Involvement and Leadership Center; Richard McKinney, budget office; Messinger, social welfare; Diana Robertson; student housing; Beth Warner, libraries; and Julie Warrick, libraries.

To find out more about the group, visit its Web site or sign up for the listserv by sending an e-mail to lambda@ku.edu.

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Lynn S. Villafurerte, program coordinator, Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program and Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity
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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).