Friday, November 16, 2012

In new survey, KU faculty says the university is homophobic

A new survey by KU faculty suggests the campus has an issue with homophobia.

Posted by on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

KU faculty say homophobia is common on campus.
  • KU faculty say homophobia is common on campus.

A survey released Friday regarding faculties at Kansas' seven state universities reveals that University of Kansas professors believe homophobia is commonplace on campus. As one KU respondent put it, "Anti-GLBT discrimination is the norm in the unit and school levels quite often."

The Kansas Conference of the American Association of University Professors sent the survey to faculties at Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, Fort Hays State, Emporia State, the KU School of Medicine, Pittsburg State and Wichita State. It asked more than 4,000 faculty members at those schools to rate their institutions report-card style - from A to F - on 39 statements across a variety of topics of university governance. The results show that KU's employees believe the university does a poor job of including faculty in university governance. More glaring than that were KU's terrible marks for fostering inclusion of GLBT faculty members. You can read the survey results here.

"University [is] OK," a KU respondent wrote. "[The] school is fundamentally homophobic."

(Pick up next week's issue of The Pitch for a longer story about the survey results and perceived homophobia at KU.)

KU faculty gave itself a C- (the lowest of any school) when grading the statement: "The school or college discourages discrimination and fosters participation, inclusion and leadership by GLBT faculty members."

When grading the same statement about the campus community rather than the school or college, again KU received the worst grade.

The results might not be surprising to some. In April The Pitch wrote about former KU professor Albert Romkes and his colleagues who suspected Romkes was denied tenure because he is gay. The university denied those claims.

Jill Jess, director of KU News Service, addressed the survey results with a statement:

"The University of Kansas has a long, productive history of shared governance, and we continue to believe in its importance to the future of the institution," Jess said. "We're disappointed that some of the faculty who responded to this survey have concerns and will continue to work to ensure all feel welcome at the university."

But KU wasn't the only school with poor responses to the GLBT survey items. Somebody with knowledge of the survey process and results tells The Pitch two Wichita State faculty members wrote down on their surveys, "What is GLBT?" That's a real shocker.

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