History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 90

90 Leadership (Directors of the Institute for H i sp a n i c- L at i n o C u lt u r e s ) Minerva Casanas-Simon 1994 - 1995 Ines Ruiz-Huston 1995 - 2002 Leticia Martinez 2002 - 2007 Natalia Leal 2007 - 2011 Dr. Eric Castillo 2011 - 2013 Dr. Olivia Garcia 2013 - 2015 Gabe Lara 2015 - Present L e s b i a n , G ay, B i s e x u a l , a n d T r a n s g e n d e r A f f a i r s The support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students at UF had many challenges historically. In 1956, the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, called the Johns Committee after its first chairman Charley Eugene Johns, was established by the Florida Legislature to “investigate all organizations whose principles or activities include a course of conduct on the part of any person or group which could constitute violence, or a violation of the laws of the state, or would be inimical to the wellbeing and orderly pursuit of their personal and business activities by the majority of the citizens of this state.” The Johns Committee investigations initially targeted academics, civil rights groups, and suspected communist organizations. However in 1961, the Florida Legislature formally expanded the powers of the Johns Committee to include investigations of suspected homosexuals and the “extent of [their] infiltration into agencies supported by state funds.” According to Florida law at that time, all homosexual acts were crimes. Therefore, faculty and staff suspected of being homosexuals were at risk of losing their positions based on the “morality” clauses in their contracts, and students were at risk of being expelled for “illegal” activities. In 2003, the Supreme Courts’ Lawrence v. Texas ruling overturned state laws against homosexuality. The Johns Committee actually began a covert investigation of suspected homosexuals in 1958, prior to its formal expansion of powers. Chairman Johns’ son was a UF student and believed that “effeminate instructors had perverted the curriculum” at UF. The Johns Committee had the power to subpoena witnesses H i s t o r y o f t h e UF D S A