Author Ruthie Freeman is the professional development program manager in Resource Planning and Management at Michigan Engineering. Her post is part of a series by the members of Michigan Engineering’s Staff Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Culture Committee.
By Ruthie Freeman
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Michigan has no law that prohibits discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s still legal in our state to fire someone for being gay or trans.
Here on the University of Michigan campus, we tell each other to expect respect instead because we know that we can do a little better when we do a little more.
That means that even without a law protecting me from employment discrimination, I feel safe.
I trust and value the environment of inclusion and diversity where I work because I know that I can come in on a Monday morning and talk with a colleague about our weekends without having to pretend I’m someone else.
I can talk about family vacations or a life outside of the office without worrying about losing my job.
I can be who I am without repercussions.
Feeling that kind of security and acceptance is invaluable, and it’s why I’m so glad to serve on the Michigan Engineering staff diversity, equity, inclusion and culture committee.
I’d like to make sure that everyone feels the same sense of safety on campus, and I’d like to learn from other staff to understand who they are too.
Developing a culture of respect takes all of us, together, expecting a little more and continually striving to give just a little more in return.