Posted by Melanie Nathan, November 09, 2015.
The Western New England University School of Law faculty voted unanimously on Friday, November 6, 2015, in favor of a resolution of support for pending legislation that would expand nondiscrimination protection for transgender individuals in businesses and other facilities that are open to the public, including within higher education.
Expressing the faculty’s support for the measure, School of Law Dean Eric Gouvin said:
“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a pioneer in protecting and advancing the civil rights of LGBT people and this legislation affirms the state’s commitment to treat all of its citizens with equal dignity and respect.”
Advocates are pressing the state legislature to address the pending legislation, known as S.735 and H.1577, before it breaks for the holidays on November 19. Massachusetts nondiscrimination laws already protect transgender residents in other areas of state law, including areas such employment, public education, credit, and housing. No express law protects transgender patrons in restaurants and other places of public accommodation.
Noting that such exclusion has no place in higher education, Professor Jennifer Levi said, “The Law School strives to provide an inclusive educational environment for all our students. We support statewide efforts to ensure that all public accommodations throughout the Commonwealth are open and accessible to all – including transgender residents.”
Other organizations in higher education have also expressed public support for pending legislation, including:
Boston College Lambda Law Students Association
Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus
Harvard Transgender Task Force
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Student Government Association
Mount Holyoke College
Public Higher Education Network Of Massachusetts
UMass Dartmouth Center for Women, Gender & Sexuality
About Western New England University
Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England serves 3,860 students, including 2,590 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Pharmacy, and the School of Law.