UGBC Passes Gender Identity Provision, Signaling Desire For University Change

An amendment protecting gender identity and expression for members of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College’s (UGBC) was passed by the Student Assembly on Sunday night, modifying the non-discrimination act in the organization’s constitution. The bill was sponsored by Linda Kim, director of policy in the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) and A&S ’17, and co-sponsored by Olivia Hussey, incoming executive vice president of UGBC and A&S ’17, Lisa Vu, senator and A&S ’17, and Miriam George, a member of the campus climate committee and A&S ’18.

The Student Assembly, which consists of 50 elected senators from all grades, also approved a resolution to push the University to make a move in changing its non-discrimination policy to include gender identity and expression.

Hussey, the chair of the campus climate committee, oversaw the process of creating the resolution, which Kim, a member of the campus climate committee, wrote. The senators who passed the resolution viewed it as a first step for UGBC in getting the University to add a similar provision to its non-discrimination policy.

“We are advocating that the University does this so we want to internalize this message to ourselves,” Hussey said.

In 2005, the University added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy after UGBC amended its own constitution. UGBC does not have the direct power to change University policy, but Sunday’s action marks the fact that senators elected by BC undergraduates think that the policy should be changed.

“This is one part in the plan that we have to get this changed,” Hussey said. “By coming together and saying, ‘This is what the student body wants,’ it’s a very important first step.”

An amendment to the resolution added by Hagop Toghramadjian, a senator and A&S ’17, states, “UGBC supports Boston College’s Jesuit, Catholic heritage and views an inclusive attitude toward gender diversity as consistent with this heritage.”

The next step in the effort to change the University’s policy is for Nanci Fiore-Chettiar, UGBC president and A&S ’15, and Connor Bourff, UGBC executive vice president and A&S ’15, to meet with members of the administration, including Barbara Jones, vice president of student affairs, and Thomas Mogan, dean of students.

“UGBC is and will always serve as an inclusive, diverse organization, and we will work tirelessly to institutionalize the same inclusion at Boston College,” Bourff said.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor

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Carolyn Freeman is the Editor-in-Chief for The Heights. You can follow her on Twitter at @carolynrfreeman. She drinks her coffee iced with chocolate soy milk.