Former LGBT Center Director’s Reinstatement Denied, Appeal Process To Continue

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Editor’s Note: delfin bautista uses the pronouns they/them, and does not capitalize their name.

ATHENS (WOUB) — The former director of Ohio University’s LGBT Center plans to take the next step in the grievance process after the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion refused to reverse her decision to remove them.

“Based on the fact that Ohio University Policy 41.012 was not violated in any manner, and you were notified of non-renewal prior to April 1, 2019 as set forth in the policy, your grievance is denied in its entirety,” Gigi Secuban wrote in a response filed Friday to delfin bautista’s grievance.

(Read Secuban’s full response here.)

Secuban refuted bautista’s claim that their removal was handled in an unprofessional manner, specifically addressing their account that Secuban made her decision known “while laughing.”

“I remember events far differently as do the others that were present,” Secuban wrote. “I most certainly did not laugh at you. To the contrary, I did, and still do, have compassion for you and desired to mitigate the impact of my necessary, but difficult decision, to not renew your contract.”

She claimed the compassion is illustrated in notifying bautista of the removal well before their contract expires on June 30 in order for them to pursue other employment while still receiving an income from the University. She also made a point to write that bautista is still an active instructor for the university this semester.

Secuban did not address the concerns about her leadership bautista brought up in their initial grievance filing point-by-point, but wrote more generally about the criticisms.

“In truth, the narrative of your second identified grievance illustrates, in part, why non-renewal was the correct decision,” she wrote.

“I am qualified for my position and I, together with the President and his leadership team, see diversity and inclusion as the top priority of the University. We recognize that, as a University, we can do better…As a leader of the University’s efforts, one of my responsibilities is assembling a team that can translate priorities into realities. I want to work with directors of varied and diverse backgrounds and beliefs to help the University in advancing this mission. In order for our office to succeed, we must work as a team.”

She also cited more funding and staffing earmarked for the LGBT Center, and plans for a larger space in Baker Center, as evidence of the University’s commitment.

Secuban delved into her new direction for the LGBT Center that bautista claims had not been made clear to them.

“In my vision, the Center will be even more robust and inclusive as we move forward,” she wrote. “The revisioned LGBT Center will focus on expanding programming that is inclusive of all members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies where, in the past, the Center traditionally was primarily student-focused.”

The new vision did not include bautista, but rather “persons who demonstrate a willingness to take direction, work as a team and invest in a shared vision” and “make appropriate use of the budgets” provided to the center, according to the letter.

After receiving the response, bautista told WOUB that they plan to take the next step in the grievance process.

“I can appeal to the president, provost and senate,” bautista wrote in an email. “I am giving myself [a] moment to vent and then will be submitting an appeal. Her statements about me are untrue.”

According to the university’s grievance process, delfin has seven days after receipt of the supervisor’s response to appeal in writing to “the next level of supervision.”