On Tuesday, Springfield residents voted to repeal the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) provisions in Springfield’s non-discrimination ordinance. The campaign leading up to the election was sometimes emotional. Many members of the campus community put the University’s public affairs mission into practice by participating on both sides of the campaign. Many of us were disappointed in the result; however, the narrow margin of the vote proves that hearts and minds are changing, and that many people in our community are deeply committed to ensuring that Springfield is a welcoming place for all who work, study and live here.
Even so, I think it important to publicly re-affirm the University’s commitment to be an inclusive campus where everyone is welcome and valued. Our policy has long been that we will not discriminate on any basis not related to the applicable educational requirements for students or the applicable job requirements for employees. This means that Missouri State does not discriminate against anyone due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or veteran status. That is still true, and we will continue to model that position for our city.
The SOGI repeal campaign has been actively debated on campus, as it should be. Missouri State University is committed to providing an environment where issues can be openly discussed and explored. The freedom to exchange views is essential to the mission of the University.
On that note, Missouri State’s public affairs mission is not a weapon to be wielded when we work or study with those who have different ideas, beliefs or values than our own. In the same way that discrimination will not be permitted at Missouri State, we will also not permit retaliation based on someone’s political or religious beliefs or advocacy efforts on this or any other political issue. Missouri State is committed to maintaining an environment that encourages people to speak openly. We do not behave as ethical leaders when we seek to stifle free expression or punish those who advocate for particular viewpoints. The free exchange of ideas, so long as it occurs civilly, adds to the diversity and depth of the Missouri State experience. That is true whether those ideas are very conservative, very liberal or anywhere in between.
As a University, we must continue to move forward in our goal to be inclusive and welcoming to all members of the Missouri State University family.
- Clif’s Notes for Oct. 15, 2019 - October 15, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Oct. 8, 2019 - October 8, 2019
- 2019 State of the University address - October 4, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Oct. 1, 2019 - October 1, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Sept. 24, 2019 - September 24, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Sept. 17, 2019 - September 17, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Sept. 10, 2019 - September 10, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Sept. 3, 2019 - September 3, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Aug. 27, 2019 - August 27, 2019
- Clif’s Notes for Aug. 20, 2019 - August 20, 2019