Survey results to be discussed by task force

By Brenden Walz

The process of looking, listening and learning about the problems experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual students at NIU begins Thursday at the second meeting of NIU’s Task Force on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation.

The task force will meet from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Holmes Student Center, Room 506.

NIU Ombudsman Tim Griffin, who is chairman of the task force, said task force members will discuss whether to change the composition of the group.

Currently, the task force has 23 members. One-third are women and two-thirds are men.

Griffin said NIU President John La Tourette told him he felt it was more appropriate for the task force members to decide among themselves how many women and men there are.

Griffin said that increasing the size of the task force from its current 23 members could cause problems.

“We can’t get too much bigger,” Griffin said, “Otherwise we’ll never get anything done.”

He said the 23 members of the task force are selected based on three categories set up to bring a broad array of perspectives to the task force.

The three categories include gays, lesbians and bisexuals, people from the wider university community and people representing major departments, such as University Police, student housing and the judicial office.

Griffin also said he felt some of the members might not be in favor of a gay or lesbian lifestyle, but he did not think this would cause problems. The same members also might not support the idea of discrimination of any kind either, he said.

“I think it’s a benefit. I really do,” he said. “I think that the work produced by the task force would be more accepted because of the diversity of the task force.”

Another item on Thursday’s agenda will be discussion of the results of informal surveys by the Gay-Lesbian Alliance and Gay-Lesbian Union representatives.

Following discussion of the survey results, task force members will discuss possible ways to gather more information on the issues presented by the surveys.