Ohio University Removes LGBT Center Director

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ATHENS — Ohio University no longer wants delfin bautista to be the director of the LGBT Center.

In a letter obtained by WOUB News, bautista (who uses they/them pronouns and doesn’t capitalize their name) was informed that the Office for Diversity and Inclusion will not renew their appointment.

“In an effort to facilitate your transition, you will remain on paid administrative leave for the remainder of your appointment through June 30, 2019,” according to the letter.

bautista has been director of the LGBT Center since June 2013.

They said they were disappointed in the way they were informed of the news during a meeting with Ohio University VP for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban and representatives from the university’s human resources department.

“It felt humiliating,” bautista said. “I felt undermined to be told [by Secuban], while laughing, ‘Oh, we’re not renewing your contract.’ And laughing the entire time was not very uplifting.”

The removal of bautista now leaves the LGBT Center without a director, assistant director or office administrator.

The news came as a surprise to them.

“I knew that Dr. Secuban and I didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye on things, but had hope that we could work it out. There was no notice, there was no warning, no previous disciplinary actions. It was ‘I’m going in a different direction.’”

When bautista asked what new direction Secuban had in mind, “All she said was she was not at liberty to discuss that at this time.”

bautista says they thought it was a glitch when they were locked out of their email on Thursday afternoon and colleagues said that they received an automated reply that bautista was no longer employed with the university. It was approximately 10 minutes after that confusion that Secuban and a representative from Human Resources informed bautista that they had been removed as director.

WOUB News has reached out to Secuban to get details as to why bautista was removed from the position. Secuban has not returned our call and, we have learned, is expected to be away from campus until early next week. A spokesperson from the university’s marketing team wrote WOUB News, “it is important to note that this is not a decision that was made or communicated lightly. Diversity and inclusion is Ohio University’s top priority, and this very difficult decision was made in order to advance our commitment to and support of the LGBTQ+ community.”