Personally review all university policies at Ole Miss and ensure that students, staff, and faculty are fully covered by non-discrimination protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.
This petition has been created in partnership with Garrison Gibbons, the only openly-gay student actor in the performance described below...
On October 1, during a performance of "The Laramie Project" at Ole Miss -- a play describing the life, the brutal beating, and the death of Matthew Shepard -- audience members began booing, calling out derogatory slurs, and harassing the actors. Those on stage were devastated by the display of anti-gay sentiment in the audience, and are using this horrible experience to push for real, concrete change at the university.
We are calling on the administration of the University of Mississippi -- known as Ole Miss to most -- to rise to this occasion and to go beyond simple apologies and investigations. We are petitioning the university to make sure that -- in both symbolic and real ways -- incidents like this are prevented from happening again because of clear changes to university policies to ensure that Ole Miss creates a culture of openness and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, staff, and faculty.
Ole Miss already has a non-discrimination policy in place that covers sexual orientation in faculty employment procedures -- which is a good first step, but clearly not enough to institute a more accepting university culture. We look forward to working with the Chancellor and the Dean of Students to review all university policies and overhaul them to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.