SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today commended the California State University Board of Trustees for initiating a review of their system wide policies, programs and services intended to promote safer and more tolerant college campuses across the state, following a string of suicides by college students over the last year.
The Trustees tackled the issue today at a meeting in Long Beach after Speaker Pérez requested that the Board of Trustees report on what the California State University is doing to provide historically underrepresented and marginalized students with a safe learning environment as well as how it can could prevent tragedies such as the suicides of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students.
“I want to thank the CSU Trustees for addressing this important issue,” Pérez said. “These days, there are so many ways for students to feel bullied and alienated. Our campuses must provide every possible level of support for all of our students, and I’m so pleased that the leaders at CSU share that determination. I look forward to continuing to working with the systems on this important issue.”
Assemblyman Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, attended the meeting on the Pérez’s behalf and spoke to the Trustees about the importance of reviewing campus policies.
“We are encouraged by the strong responses to mitigate intolerance and discriminatory activities on California’s campuses and promote a safer and more inclusive learning environment for students,” Block said. “However, our work is not done today. The racist, homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic incidents at various campuses in California last year are a cause for concern for all of us. We must continue to keep our commitment to providing safe campuses for all students and be vigilant in our response to any hateful acts.”
Pérez urged the Trustees to act in light of a series of LGBT student suicides and reports that LGBT students face significant hardship during their university experiences. In September, Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after he was outed as gay by his roommate and another student.
In March, Adam Johnston Wood, a 19-year-old native of Calaveras and a second year UC Merced student, used a rope to hang himself.
Pérez believes these tragic incidents further highlight the importance for California’s universities to be even more tolerant and welcoming of all students, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.
In his November letter to California’s University systems, Pérez—the first openly gay legislative leader in California’s history—requested that the following questions be discussed at UC Regent and CSU Trustee meetings, aimed at stimulating discussions on the actions taken to promote tolerance and analyze the existing conditions of college campuses:
- What policies or programs do the UC and the CSU have that promote a safe and hostile-free environment for students, including LGBT students, both on campus and in dormitories?
- What is the UC and the CSU code of conduct with respect to student privacy issues and what is the recourse if a student violates this code?
- What is the expectation of privacy for students that reside in dormitories and are those students aware of the level of privacy to which they are entitled?
- How have the systems and the campuses funded critical student services like psychological services, resource centers, and retention services—particularly in light of state budget reductions and significant student fee increases?
- How did the UC and the CSU respond administratively, programmatically, and from a policy standpoint to what happened at Rutgers (e.g. review policies, send out reminders about UC and CSU policies to faculty, students and administrators, etc.)?
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408