The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
In terms of inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff, Murray State has made long strides since opening its gates.
We provide safe places for students to meet with faculty to discuss LGBT-related problems they’re facing on campus. The Murray State Alliance also has a powerful membership that provides a community in which LGBT members can interact and feel comfortable.
However, there are still old policies in place at the University that put LGBT faculty, staff and students at further disadvantage than their straight coworkers and peers.
The Wellness Center provides membership packages for spouses at discounted prices, but because the term “spouse” is a legal definition, same-sex couples cannot enjoy the benefit of a reduced membership fee.
While we understand that it likely wasn’t the intent to exclude LGBT faculty, it is still presumed that this discount is not extended to them. According to US code seven, the term “spouse” refers to someone of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.
The LGBT Program Advisory Committee presented the standing membership policy to the Student Government Association as well as recommended a revision of the policy to Mike Young, associate vice president of Student Affairs. We’re glad to see the committee take these steps to provide more inclusion. If the revision recommendation is accepted, partners and spouses will be able to purchase the same discounted membership package.
There is no question that Murray State works to include people of all sexualities. There are strict rules about discrimination against LGBT students and the University provides multiple resources for people to feel welcome here.
However, the membership discount is an example of a discrepancy that prevents same-sex couples from experiencing complete equality while studying or working here.
We hope the SGA recognizes the standing Wellness Center policy as a hurdle for equality that is unnecessary. If the senators can vote in favor of gender-neutral bathroom signs, they can help to revise this policy as well.
In order to make equality total and permanent at the University, there will be some cobwebs that need to be swept. Some of them include cryptic rules and loopholes in policy that have been in place for decades. The matter of changing a sentence to one that is more inclusive should be a priority to make everyone here feel welcome.
We should appreciate Murray State faculty and staff for the tremendous job they do. Without our faculty, we couldn’t have a functioning University.
Revising the policy to include partners of same-sex couples in the discounted membership package is another way of showing our appreciation.