Screenshot of the Campus Pride Index where Ohio University used to be listed

Campus Pride Index Removes OU Amid LGBT Center Uncertainty

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ATHENS (WOUB) — Ohio University has been removed from a national index of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities after the university stopped responding to questions from the leader of the organization.

Shane Windmeyer, executive director of the Campus Pride, notified President Duane Nellis that the university would be suspended from the national list for “a minimum of 20 months or until we deem appropriate.”

“We can not in good faith list Ohio University without the answers to the questions I sent…,” Windmeyer said in an email on Tuesday.

The organization notified the university they were looking into the actions related to the LGBT Center in March.

The decision came after scheduling conflicts cancelled correspondence between Nellis and Windmeyer.

When the president couldn’t reschedule an April 8 phone call, the university offered to coordinate a call with Office of Diversity & Inclusion director Dr. Gigi Secuban “and other university leaders,” according to an email provided by the university.

“If (Nellis) does not have 30 minutes any other time, we will just utilize the information we have been shared (sic) from students and staff to reach out decision,” Windmeyer wrote.

Windmeyer sent an email to the president that day, “in lieu of being able to move our call back,” asking Nellis to respond to a list of 8 questions by the following Friday.

He sent a second email on April 12, asking if Nellis needed more time to answer the questions, and a third on April 15 saying Campus Pride would make their decision in the next week “on how to best move forward” without a response.

Questions submitted by Shane Windmeyer are shown in this screenshot of an email provided to WOUB. (Click to enlarge)

The questions ranged from inquiries into the removal of delfin bautista as LGBT Director and pay equity within the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, to reactions to student and faculty concerns about transparency and decision-making within the office, including those of office head, Dr. Gigi Secuban.

According to the university, Secuban sent a message to Windmeyer “but was curtly rebuffed,” according to university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood.

Secuban’s email, dated April 9, expressed her disappointment in having the call cancelled.

“I hope your correspondence below is not indicative of a predisposition to arrive at predetermined conclusion based upon an incomplete record,” Secuban wrote.

Secuban explained in the email that the university is developing a strategic plan to encompass all members of the community, “where this has not been a focus in the past.”

“Within the last nine months, we have demonstrated our commitment and support through increased funding for LGBTQ+ programming, increased staffing in the center, and identified new space for the center that will be renovated in the near future,” Secuban’s email stated.

Secuban received an email from Windmeyer the same day, according to email provided by the university, which she then sent to representatives from university Legal Affairs and Communications & Marketing, asking them to “please advise.”

“Because the concerns expressed about the situation have been directly about your leadership and decision-making, I feel it is important that the president, as your supervisor, be involved in the official campus response,” Windmeyer wrote in the email to Secuban.

University spokesperson Carly Leatherwood told WOUB that most of the questions Windmeyer asked “involved an employment matter that is still pending.”

“Unfortunately, the only conclusion that a reasonable person looking at the communications could reach is that Mr. Windmeyer was less interested in open dialogue than he was in reaching a predetermined result,” Leatherwood said in an email.

Leatherwood did not say why the president failed to respond to the questions not regarding employment, and no email was provided by the university notifying Windmeyer of the policies against commenting on employment issues.

Leatherwood also told WOUB that while Campus Pride Index would not be ranking OU, “that will not deter us in our unwavering commitment and support for our LGBTQ+ community.”