Emporia State President Allison Garrett met with People Respecting Individuality and Diversity in Education (PRIDE) yesterday to discuss the naming of the new residence hall after Kay Schallenkamp after it came to light that protections for LGBTQ students were removed during her time as president of the university. Schallenkamp was the first female president in the state of Kansas for four year institutions, according to Garrett.
“I don’t necessarily agree that she doesn’t deserve a legacy because I did a little bit of research on her and she did some amazing things,” Lily Atherton, vice-president of PRIDE and sophomore English major said to Garrett during the meeting. “Our concern more lies in what incoming LGBT students would think if they learned that she took it out, so we more want to make sure that we’re working with the university to make sure LGBT students feel welcome, secure and like they have a place here at ESU.”
According to The Bulletin archives from Nov. 16, 1998, a sexual discrimination clause was removed from the university’s Equal Opportunity Statement. The clause gave students, faculty and staff protection from being dismissed or discriminated against due to sexual orientation. It was implemented in 1990, by a bill passed by ASG, according to the archives.
“In my research I learned that the reason why she took it out was because lawyers advised her that Kansas...wouldn’t give health benefits to business who partnered with gay employees,” Atherton said. “Her lawyers advised her ‘Hey, maybe take that out and we won’t have to deal with some litigation.’ In Dec. 10, 1998, however, I noticed some Faculty Senate bills, notes and resolutions that did put that back in.”
“The lawyers for both the regents and ESU said ‘You’ve got to take it out,’ but it was interesting because then immediately the other started to put it right back in and I think she was a big part of that,” Garrett said.
“What I heard was that instead of that going through the normal shared governance processes, a single individual slipped it in one year and then, and on advice from lawyers, it came out the next year but Kay (Schallenkamp) started working to get it back in,” Garrett said. “I think we beat the regents as a system in putting it in because the regents as a system didn’t put it in until maybe a couple of years after that.”
According to The Bulletin archives from Nov. 16, 1998, the clause was removed following the legal advisement from the Kansas Board of Regents. Kansas State University and Kansas University, both regent schools, maintained a similar clause in their Equal Opportunity statements.
It was removed because regents counsel to ESU did not think it was appropriate for the university to establish a category of protection that state and federal law did not protect, according to The Bulletin archives from Nov. 23, 1998.
The initial concern originated from an email to Rochelle Rowley, PRIDE adviser and assistant professor of sociology, anthropology and crime and delinquency studies, from alumni Dale Masterson. Masterson was the associated student government vice president from 1990-91.
“I wrote legislation calling for the university to add sexual orientation to the university’s non-discrimination clause,” Masterson wrote. “The current president at that time, Robert Glennen, responded by having sexual orientation added to the non-discrimination clause. Dr Glennen was later replaced by Kay Schallenkamp. One of her first actions as the new ESU President was to remove sexual orientation from the university’s non-discrimination clause.”
Masterson was disappointed by ESU’s decision to name the residence hall after Schallenkamp.
“It will be a travesty if her name is forever linked to the university, especially by being placed on a residence hall, considering how she didn’t value LGBTQI students,” Masterson wrote.