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Friday, June 25, 2010

Florida State University's non-discrimination policy was amended this morning without discussion - or even public acknowledgement.

But the unanimous decision by FSU's Board of Trustees to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the university's policy - language similar to an ordinance adopted recently by Leon County - was greeted with relief and joy outside the board meeting.

Mary Coburn, FSU's vice president for student affairs, left the meeting to celebrate with third-year law school student David Grimes and others after the policy was approved along with more than a dozen other consent items.

"It sends a positive message that Florida State is a welcoming place," Coburn said. "Various student groups have been pushing for this for some time."

Grimes, a co-founder of Coalition for an Equitable Community, which formed in 2007, said he wasn't bothered that FSU's trustees didn't make a statement on behalf of the policy. Two BOT sub-committees had approved the policy during meetings on Thursday.

"Florida State now is a better place for what they've done," Grimes said.

FSU's Faculty Senate voted two times in the past three years in support of the change. Most schools in the Association of American Universities, an organization FSU is eager to join, have adopted similar policies.

FSU becomes the ninth school in the 11-member State University System to expand its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic universities have not, according to FSU officials.

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