The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday January 16th

UNC’s LGBTQ committee meets to allocate funds

The group that will address the future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer policy on campus met Wednesday to allocate funds and discuss recommendations raised by a recent report.

The committee, which met for the first time this year, is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Campus Climate Report released Monday — a University action plan for increasing inclusivity for the LGBTQ community on campus.

Terri Phoenix, director of the LGBTQ Center, said creating the policies that will address harassment problems will be one of the most important things discussed this year.

“We need to concentrate on policy and campus climate,” Phoenix said.

A task force on LGBTQ issues, the precursor of the committee, was first appointed by former Provost Robert Shelton in 2001 to assess harassment based on sexual orientation.

The provost’s committee, established in 2002, meets at least three times a semester though Committee Chairwoman Diane Juffras said she is looking forward to a more proactive committee.

“What we want to do this year is try to be focused. We need to concentrate on having another meeting sooner rather than later.”

Juffras said the committee discussed the need for domestic partner benefits in health care insurance at UNC.

“Without being able to offer that, the University is losing people it would otherwise like to have on its faculty and staff,” she said.

Phoenix said 13 of UNC’s 15 peer institutions, including Duke University, offer comprehensive health benefits to faculty and staff regardless of sexual orientation.

Juffras said the committee also approved funding requests for LGBTQ events and activities on campus.

The committee allotted $1,000 to bring Gary Gates, an LGBTQ researcher at the University of California Los Angeles, to campus on Nov. 15 to speak about gay and lesbian demographics, Juffras said.

She said $2,000 was allotted for the publication of two issues of LAMBDA, an LGBTQ-affirming campus magazine.

The committee also approved $1,000 to pay for Lee Badgett, a speaker who discussed gay marriage on Oct. 13, Juffras said.

“We want to use funding to enhance activities and advise the provost of issues that are of concern to LGBTQ,” Juffras said.

The committee receives $11,500 every year from the provost’s office.

Kathleen Rounds, director of the School of Social Work, said the group should set more definitive goals at the next meeting.

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