Statement by University of Hawaii President Evan S. Dobelle on Discrimination and Harassment Based on Sexual OrientationUniversity of Hawaiʻi
In recent months, a few members of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community have been subjected to hate crimes, assaults and insensitive comments. I deeply regret that these incidents have occurred and commit the full force of the Office of the President to ensure that incidences such as these do not continue within the university community.
The cornerstone of an academic institution is the assurance that all students, faculty, staff and visitors be afforded safe and inclusive classroom environments, residence halls and athletic arenas. We will continue to take strong measures to guarantee our compliance with university, state and federal policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation—not for compliance‘s sake alone, but because it is just.
I commend the members of the LGBTI for their positive efforts toward making our campuses safer and more inclusive. Through their initiative, the university has moved closer to fulfilling our strategic plan commitment of diversity, inclusiveness and civility. The UH Mānoa Office of Student Affairs recently appointed a full-time staff in the LGBTI student services office. Last fall, the Board of Regents approved a bill on health benefits for reciprocal partners, which was presented to the Governor for inclusion in the state legislative package. In addition, the UH Mānoa Women's Center and Gender Equity Counselor's Office deserves our congratulations for receiving a grant from the United States Department of Justice to address violence against women on campus. The grant includes awareness and training in support of LGBTI. Students and employees are urged to participate in workshops on diversity and civil rights that will be offered system wide next year.
We have a fundamental responsibility to assure equal access to a safe and inclusive educational environment. Tolerance within the university community does not extend to those who would intimidate others on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
I assure each member of the university community, and especially our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students and employees, that the University of Hawaiʻi values you and welcomes you on all of our 10 campuses.