The State University of New York today announced that more than 300 students, faculty, staff, and alumni from throughout SUNY will represent the university system as it marks its first-ever participation in the NYC Pride March. The delegation will be led by SUNY Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc J. Cohen.
“This is an historic moment for SUNY, one that has received overwhelming support throughout our university system since we first signed on to march and now even more so following the tragedy in Orlando,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We are proud of our actions to make SUNY the most inclusive system of higher education in the country and to be showing our ‘SUNY Pride’ by participating in this weekend’s parade.”
“SUNY’s participation in this important New York City event is a mark not only of our complete commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion but also of our promise to all New Yorkers that SUNY is a place where they are welcome to live, to work, and to learn,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “We are deeply proud to bring the SUNY family together for the NYC Pride March and to celebrate the LGBTQ community in a way that we have not done before.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in the Pride day parade alongside so many other SUNY students,” said Trustee Cohen. “In the wake of Orlando and the continued struggle of those in the LGBT+ community, it is critical that we stand up, speak out, and celebrate our dedication to equity and inclusion across our system. We are marching in solidarity as one system, one community, and one Student Assembly.”
The SUNY Board of Trustees adopted a sweeping Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy for the university system that requires every campus to develop a customized strategic plan to increase diversity among students, faculty, and staff and appoint a Chief Diversity Officer.
The policy broadly defines diversity to include race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, age, socioeconomic status, status as a veteran, status as a student with a disability, first-generation students, and international students or those transferring between colleges. The policy aims to improve services and support for these students and ensure that SUNY’s student, faculty, and staff populations mirror that of New York State.
In alignment with the new policy, SUNY now enables students to identify as LBGT during the registration process. SUNY has also added questions to its annual student opinion survey in an effort to inform the policy by gathering information from all students about how welcome they feel on campus and whether there are additional services and supports that could improve their experience, based on their ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.