Desire, Dating, Marriage (1981-2012)

I should preface this blog with a warning- I was looking through yearbooks published before 1963 that had little to do with my topic. Luckily my partners found all the sources I ended up using.

I was originally reading these articles and realizing how impressed I was with Emory’s views. While most states prevent same sex couples from receiving the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts, Emory “Student Health Service Plan is Expanded to Include Domestic Partnerships” [Fig 1]. Issues like these cause nationwide debates, but I liked the direction Emory was taking in this.  Reading “Emory Encourages Acceptance of Gays”[Fig 2] was also a refreshing read.  Then I stumbled upon a third article.

“LGBT Group says Emory Needs More Tolerance.” [Fig 3] That got me thinking. Emory is enforcing all these new policies the majority student population seems to agree with. Yet there is some intolerance from students, but more surprisingly at universities with a strong tie to religion, the board of trustees seems to be the biggest culprit. This seems highly hypocritical for a group in charge of “establishing policy and exercising fiduciary responsibility for the long-term well-being of the institution” (Overview, Board of Trustees). You have to appreciate that we have people who are going against their beliefs all for the sake of the betterment of the university and its students, although it’s easier to enforce policies when you actually believe in them.

That is where the inconsistencies occur. I’ll map out my train of thought. We have the board of trustees coming out with monumental changes, and although they don’t believe in the policies, they are trying to improve the university. The university looks great from the outside. On the inside though, the same people who are in charge of the policies are also in charge of other facets of the university. Some of these include hiring faculty- gay ones might be discriminated against. Our minds are still forming our principles, yet since we have no diversity teaching us, we seem to believe in the same ideas as the last generation. We are ignorant of the issues.

That is apparent. We witnessed it in class where although some people are not directly affected by same sex marriage, they are against it because they are uncomfortable with it. Uncomfortable. That is not a good enough reason to be opposed to a decision that would affect millions. You can tell me that you believe it will weaken the definition of marriage or even the legality of it. It might be a stretch, but I think the frequency statements like this would decrease with more diversity.

So getting back onto point, the people who are making the rules are simultaneously undermining their own efforts. This seemed like an attack on the board of trustees, and I focused on them because the article in the Emory Wheel did too- I didn’t know who else to scapegoat. Initially I wasn’t expecting my blog to take this turn, but I thought the irony between the articles was worth talking about.

http://www.emory.edu/secretary/board_of_trustees/index.html

3 thoughts on “Desire, Dating, Marriage (1981-2012)

  1. Sumo: Your point “You have to appreciate that we have people who are going against their beliefs all for the sake of the betterment of the university and its students, although it’s easier to enforce policies when you actually believe in them” is an interesting one. Why, do you think, trustees who may personally not agree with or appreciate gays and lesbians, support policies that give gays and lesbians the right to obtain health insurance for their partners (just as straight people can for their husbands or wives)?

    And I am intrigued by your discussion of “discomfort” and how laws or policies get connected to it. Again I am wondering about what if we shifted who made the laws or the policies. What if people who were “uncomfortable” with discriminating against gays and lesbians, or people of color, or people with disabilities made the laws (sometimes they are!) how would that change the discourse. Would it?

  2. Insurance plans for same sex couples are important for equality and show that we are evolving.UGA had a similar plan to extend benefits for domestic partnerships, and it cost them $300,000 (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/uga-proposal-on-domestic-partner-benefits-advances/nSNd4/) so I am actually not sure how the trustees would gain from this. Why would the trustees support policies that they don’t agree with?

    When you mentioned “people who were uncomfortable with discriminating…”, I think workers like these would be able to emphasize the discrimination and overcompensate to help. So the minorities would receive more benefits than expected, and I don’t see policies changing much for the majorities. Again, just speculative, but it seems straightforward in my mind.

  3. Sumo: The “benefits” I was thinking of is the ability to attract top scholars who will only come to a school that offers such benefits to everyone. One of your classmates (either Kala or Jessie) talked in their post about how Emory is quick to point out that this year they were the only school in the southeast that ranked in the “Top 25 Schools for LGBT students.” In some circles, this ranking carries a prestige and signals tolerance, acceptance and inclusion- democratic values that many liberal arts schools signal they are invested in.

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