Rep. Johnson reintroduces bill to support, empower LGBTQ students at HBCUs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) reintroduced the “Inclusive Campuses Act of 2017” today (H.R.4699) to authorize the use of Title III funds to establish on-campus resource centers for LGBTQ students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions.
Title III provides federal grant funding to assist state and local education agencies. It began as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which authorizes funds to enhance and strengthen HBCUs and other minority servicing institutions.
“We should be doing all we can to help everyone feel welcomed and included,” said Johnson, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston. “As a proud graduate of two HBCUs, I feel this legislation is crucial in continuing the legacy of community and inclusion I felt as a student. We cannot allow any educational environment to become one where students suffer in fearful silence and passive intolerance.”
There are only a handful of HBCUs in the country that have active university-sanctioned LGBTQ-specific organizations on their campuses and many of these historic institutions do not include gender identity/expression and sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination statements; often times leading to the alienation and emotional distress of LGBTQ students.
By building upon the innovative efforts to establish LGBTQ resource centers at North Carolina Central University, Bowie State University and Fayetteville State University, the bill will promote full diversity, acceptance and inclusion of all students who attend HBCUs and other minority serving institutions.
The bill was introduced with 17 cosponsors, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton of Washington, D.C. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York.
Groups supporting the Inclusive Campuses Act include: Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Campus Pride, National Black Justice Coalition, Trans Student Educational Resources and Fayetteville State University.