June 17, 2020
The first sentence in Albion College's Diversity Statement reads, "A liberal arts education, by definition, should liberate minds." With this guiding beacon lighting our collective path—a beacon formally expressed in our motto—Albion College applauds Monday's landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people from discrimination in their employment.
It's important to note that "applauds" and "landmark" are words not chosen lightly. Title VII, as written more than a half-century ago, specifically refers to “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” Now, by a 6-3 decision, the Court has concluded that, in the law, “sex” encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity.
That indeed is a marker, and it is indeed something to celebrate, during what is an already unique Pride Month, given our continuing need for social distancing.
This victory reflects the work of LGBTQ leaders and allies who have fought for decades to affirm the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. Now, more than ever, it is important to protect and celebrate our LGBTQ community members, recognizing that much work still needs to be done to achieve true equality.
In solidarity with our LGBTQ community members, I am today inviting the addition of pronouns to all Albion College business cards and email signature blocks. GLAAD provides a helpful resource that explains why this is an important step for our community to consider as we pursue inclusion.
As our country’s workplaces move forward following this ruling, I encourage you to reread Albion College’s Statement of Nondiscrimination and to also think about the last sentence of Our Mission: “We prepare students to translate critical thought into action.” This week’s Supreme Court action advancing civil rights reaffirmed what I do as an educator, and as a leader, and I hope you feel the same way.
Dr. Mathew Johnson