Originally published on Advocate.com October 17 2003 12:00 AM ET
After more than a decade-long debate, the University of Missouri's antidiscrimination policies now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The four-campus university system's board of curators approved the policy change Thursday during a meeting at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. With the action, sexual orientation joins other protected categories, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and status as a Vietnam veteran.
Students, faculty, and staff have been pressing for the clarification for about a decade, and many of them applauded the decision. "Finally, at long last, a victory for fairness," said Robin Cook, a senior on the Columbia campus. Yet, he added, it is not a "groundbreaking historic decision." Rather, the university is simply catching up with other institutions, he said.
University of Missouri documents explaining the policy change say most comparable universities include sexual orientation as a protected class in their antidiscrimination policies. In Missouri, similar policies are in place at Truman State University, Central Missouri State University, Saint Louis University, and Washington University.