Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 29, 1996

Nondiscrimination Wording Gets Rewrite

     Interim President Daniel Nathans has approved a small but
significant rewording of the university's nondiscrimination
policy, substituting "sexual orientation" for "homosexuality."

     The change was proposed by the undergraduate student council
at the Homewood campus, but applies to all university divisions.
It will be reflected in future catalogs, admissions viewbooks and
other university publications that carry the nondiscrimination

     The policy's old wording used "homosexuality" rather than
"sexual orientation" in a list of conditions on which the
university does not discriminate against students or employees,
interim Provost Steven Knapp said.

     The use of "homosexuality" was inconsistent in its
specificity, Knapp said. For instance, the policy pledges Hopkins
not to discriminate on the basis of "race," rather than
"blackness" or "whiteness." It covers "religion," rather than
"Catholicism" or "Jewishness."

     "All our peer institutions who have issued similar
statements use the phrase 'sexual orientation' in place of
'homosexuality,' which many groups and institutions consider to
be less 'inclusive,'" Knapp said in a letter to Nathans endorsing
the change. Some people believe, he said, that it can be harmful
to single out homosexuality--or, for that matter, a particular
race or religion--as a condition likely to be the target of

     The nondiscrimination policy was also altered last year to
include a statement expressing the university's disagreement with
Defense Department policy on gays and lesbians in ROTC programs.
The current wording of the policy can be found on JHUniverse at

     Anyone seeking a copy may also call the Office of News and
Information at (410) 516-7160 or e-mail Dennis O'Shea at

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