University of Tennessee changes hiring policy to include sexual orientation protection

In August of this year, the University of Tennessee campus added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy for employment, shortly following a statement released by UT's Provost Robert Holub, condemning the omission of sexual orientation as a protected class within its hiring policy. 

Holub said sexual orientation’s lack of inclusion in the policy harms the university.

Holub further commented, “We fool ourselves if we believe that the absence of a direct  statement regarding discrimination against gays and lesbians does not harm our institution. We are probably hurt not only by gay and lesbian candidates preferring to go elsewhere, but by heterosexuals who are as horrified as I am that we will not pledge to treat gay and lesbian applicants without prejudice.”

George Hoemann, chairman of the UT Commission for  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People, said the omission placed UT behind other institutions.

“We compiled data and discovered UT was virtually alone in not including sexual orientation,” he said. “It was very clear from this research that UT was very much out of step with higher institutions of the 21st century.”

Roberts receives Chamberlain Scholarship

The Nashville Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has awarded the Chamberlain Scholarship to Jim Robert of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. The Chamberlain Scholarship Program is used to help individuals serving nonprofit organizations develop their knowledge and skills in fundraising. The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy awards one scholarship to each chapter each year to be used at the AFP International Conference on Fundraising, which will be held on March 30-April 2, 2008, in San Diego.

Jim is an event coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. He recently completed a successful season of the 2007 Jack in the Box Bowl for Kids Sake, which is the biggest fundraiser for the agency raising over $170,000.

For more information on the Nashville Chapter of the AFP, please visit

Jokes at work: innocent fun and team-building or no laughing matter?
Free Web seminar for office managers and HR staff

On Nov. 8, from 2-2:30 p.m. Midsouth Consulting Group and Diversity Builder, Inc. will conduct a free online webinar for office managers and human resources staff.

The webinar will cover humor as an asset and a liability to the workplace and will be presented by Leigh Ann Roberts, prominent employment attorney and executive human resources consultant.

Roberts possesses diverse workplace experience and brings this expansive perspective and sensitivity to her legal services, workplace mediation and employment law trainings and consultation services. As a small business owner, a past manager and a dedicated director of multiple community boards, Roberts understands the needs of managers, business owners and organizational leaders. Roberts brings this experience and sensitivity to the training she also provides for businesses and organizations. 

For more information on how you may attend this free and insightful webinar email or call 615-424-2323.

Mother's Without Borders Sudan Benefit Concert to feature Nashville's own Diversity in Motion Trio

Nashville’s Acholi Sudanese Dance Troupe and the Pacha Mamas “Diversity in Motion”(Nashville's own Marquetta Dupree, Angela Holley and Vivian Slade) will present a "Mothers without Borders" Sudan Project benefit concert. 

Diversity in Motion is a unique storytelling and song program for adults or children, highlighting the value of diversity in the world.  When recently performed at an Interplay event, the Diversity in Motion received standing ovations for the trio's acapella version of John Lennon's Imagine and a moving soliloquy entitled, "I am a Black Girl."

Holley spent time in Sudan as a teenager and has seen the less than desirable conditions for children first hand.  Holley was inspired to produce the event by here mother, Elaine Bennett, who currently lives in Sudan six months out of the year. Bennett  helped develop  a safe house for orphaned girls in Sudan called AMAL.  

“The orphan situation in Khartoum is out of control as it is in many parts of Africa," says Bennett. “In particular, we are trying to keep the girls off the streets and educated." 

Holley adds, “Part of my heart is still in Sudan and as my parents continue to work there, I can’t help but feel very directly affected by the conditions and situations there. These (young women in Sudan) are our sisters.”

Mothers without Borders Benefit Concert
When: Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church on Woodmont Avenue in Nashville
Cost: $15 adult and $10 senior/children general admission

For more information, contact Angela Holley at or call 615-218-3762. The Mother's Without Borders' Website is 

Additional information regarding the Diversity in Motion program may be found at

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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