Resolution: EA R8: Furthering the Institutional Commitment to LGBTQ+ Inclusion

ActionAcknowledged by the President

Dear Ulysses,

Thank you for submitting EA Resolution 8:   Furthering the Institutional Commitment to LGBTQ+ Inclusion.  I appreciate our shared interest in taking actions that advance a more fully inclusive Cornell workplace.  I was pleased to note the acceptance by Presidents Garrett and Rawlings of past EA resolutions that advanced the important issues of inclusive restrooms, use of preferred name in employee systems, and a review of employee benefits access for same-gender couples.  I understand that Gordon Barger, Senior Director of Benefits and Administration has already provided the report on gender-specific or gendered benefits requested by the EA, that he continues to lead an effort to review plan provisions and will partner with the EA as he considers opportunities for changes in the future.

Resolution 8 calls for the Division of Student and Campus Life to rescind the directive for the LGBTRC to no longer serve the ongoing support and educational needs of staff and faculty.  It is important to note that LGBTQ+ faculty and staff are still welcome to visit the center.  However, to provide the appropriate levels of service, separating educational and support services for students from faculty and staff allows Cornell to meet the unique needs of our LGBTQ students, as they pursue their degrees. Further, the LGBTRC will continue to serve as resource to the Division of Human Resources as it provides education and support for our LGBT staff and faculty colleagues.

The resolution also calls for the addition of three full-time professional staff positions in the LGBTRC.  In the Spring 2016, an additional position was added to the center’s staffing, bringing the total fulltime professional staff support to two when a new director is hired.  At this time, there will not be any additional long-term professional positions added to the center’s staffing.

The EA has asked that the Division of Human Resources, in collaboration with the LGBTRC, create and maintain guidance for (trans)gender-related transitioning in the workplace, and develop educational opportunities for supervisors to understand their role in supporting transitioning employees. This is already in the early stages of development and it is anticipated that a framework will be in final form by the end of FY18.

Vice President Opperman indicates that it is complex for the Division of Human Resources to add an optional opportunity for prospective employees to self-identify voluntarily as LGBTQ+ in order to begin tracking the progression of LGBTQ+ candidates through the talent acquisition process.  The current tracking the university does for women and minorities, and the voluntary invitation to self-identify disability and veteran status during the employment process are part of our affirmative action obligations. Currently, the division does not have capacity, resources and systems to track LGBTQ status in the same way. They are looking into whether some changes are possible in the Workday application process. In addition, as HR advances a diversity strategic plan, issues of belonging and engagement of the LGBTQ+ community will be a priority. 

The Division of Human Resources will collaborate with other relevant university units to provide training around cultural norms so as to protect employees, including those identifying as LGBTQ+, working and traveling internationally on behalf of the university.

The university will continue to prioritize the conversation of single occupant facilities to universal facilities when bathrooms are modified or renovated. 

The Division of University Relations advances the university’s commitments to diversity and equity as it supports Cornell’s priorities and they will continue to do so. 

Finally, I am very grateful for the support, advice, and guidance we receive from the university’s Colleague Network Groups.  I have asked Vice President Opperman to connect with the LGBTQ Colleague Network Group (LGBTQ CNG) and provide regular updates to the LGBTQ CNG on the progress of specific initiatives focused on LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Thank you again for your commitment to diversity and inclusion in Cornell’s workforce.



Martha E. Pollack

President, Cornell University

300 Day Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Tel: 607-255-5201

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