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University Message

OUDI on Supreme Court LGBTQ Ruling: A Powerful Reminder of Progress

A shot of Cal Poly's entrance with flags.

This message originally appeared as an email to the campus community that was sent out on Tuesday, June 16 in response to the Supreme Court's ruling that the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination.

Yesterday morning, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision finding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The ruling marks another watershed moment in the LGBTQ civil rights movement, and was a proud day for all those who have tirelessly worked to make our nation of laws more equal. 

California, the CSUs, and Cal Poly have a long history of barring these forms of employment discrimination. In 1979 California became one of the first states to bar discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in public employment. In 1992 the state extended those protections to both public and private employment, and in 2003 the law was again broadened to include protections for trans- and gender non-conforming workers. 

This welcome ruling comes at a time when our national attention has been focused on the experience of Black Americans. A recent analysis has shown that Black transgender individuals experience higher rates of unemployment, housing insecurity, poverty, violence and harassment. LGBTQ workers of color are the most disadvantaged in the U.S. workforce due to educational barriers, hiring bias, on-the job discrimination and unequal pay, benefits and taxation.  As an institution, Cal Poly will continue to uphold equal opportunity and equity in employment and provide equal protections to our most socially marginalized and vulnerable community members. 

Yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court is a powerful reminder of the progress that has been made for LGBTQ civil rights. As we mark the halfway point of Pride Month, we are reminded of the sacrifices that have been made, and the progress that has been hard achieved since the Stonewall uprising of 1969 that launched the LGBT civil rights movement. We will remember yesterday as one in which we witnessed the arc of the moral universe being bent toward justice.


Jozi De Leon, Ph.D
Vice President for University Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion