- August 18, 2014
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UA) updated its non-discrimination policy last week to include gender identity.
The new policy, which provides an equal opportunity for all students and applicants for admission and for all employees and applicants for employment regardless of gender identity, was updated following President Obama’s executive order last month.
After President Obama signed a landmark executive order this summer banning discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the University of Arkansas system contacted all UA campuses to update their policies.
Charlie Alison, a UA spokesman, told Northwest Arkansas that an e-mail advised that all UA campuses that have or intend to have federal contracts valued at more than $10,000 should change their non-discrimination policy. According to Alison, the e-mail reads, “you are advised to amend your campus's 'Equal Opportunity' and 'Nondiscrimination' policies to include 'gender identity' and 'sexual orientation.'"
The new, updated policy states: "The university should be a place of work and study for students, faculty, and staff, that is free of all forms of discrimination, sexual intimidation and exploitation. Therefore, the University of Arkansas is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students and applicants for admission and for all employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, age, gender, sex (including pregnancy), religion, national origin, marital or parental status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law."
Arkansas is one of 29 states that do not have a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In an effort to advance equality in Arkansas, HRC announced Project One America in April, a comprehensive campaign to dramatically expand LGBT equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi.
HRC Arkansas is working to change hearts and minds, advance enduring legal protections, and build more inclusive institutions from the church pew to the workplace. Find out more about what HRC is doing to promote LGBT equality and inclusion in Arkansas here.