Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Discrimination and the bike policy

White male bicyclist

Discrimination and the bike policy
The photo shown above is of a university employee riding his bicycle as he is exiting a university building. There has been something bothering me, something I couldn't quite put my finger on, that has nothing to do with the safety argument related to president Kassing's new bike policy, the part that extends this benefit, "Bicycles are not permitted in buildings unless in a private office, closet, or enclosure..."

The other day it hit me, like a ton of bricks, I should have been more sensitive to it. Like the rider in the photo above, very few of the folks I have seen keeping bicycles in their offices are minorities. Our highest areas of minority employment are among job classifications that do not have a private office, closet, or enclosure where they can store a bike. Most of the minorities in our bargaining units work in classifications that would not be able to use this benefit. I am concerned that by extending this benefit to classifications that are much more likely to be non-minority, my university may have committed de-facto discrimination.

Article 25.1 of our union contract should be also added to this grievance, the part that says, "The CSU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ancestry, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical disability, mental disability, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition and/or national origin..."

To be able to keep their bike at their work place, in my opinion, that benefit like all benefits have to be given to all employees without prejudice, even unintentional prejudice.

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