Goldsmith, Castro Offer Different Takes on AB 1887

A state law enacted this year would prevent public institutions like Fresno State from using taxpayer money to travel to eight states that are perceived to have discriminatory laws against the LGBT community.

How does the law affect Fresno’s public colleges? GV Wire asked the respective leaders to find out.

“So, I’m glad that the state chancellor and our legislators decided that we need to ban state-sponsored travel to these states,” said Carole Goldsmith, president at Fresno City College. She supports the law known as AB 1887 because it hits close to home.

“For me, this is a very personal issue,” she said. “As a person who belongs to that (LGBT) community, I personally won’t be travelling to those states. I feel supported by my state that’s doing this.”

Fresno State President Joseph Castro has a different take.

“In my own view, it is important for us to travel to any state in the U.S. if it is a high priority academic or athletic program,” Castro said.

California’s attorney general determines which states are on the banned list, based on their respective LGBT policies. Currently, public funds are barred to travel to eight states.

There are some exceptions, such as law enforcement purposes. Travel plans made before the law went into effect are grandfathered in. That preserves the Bulldogs’ Sept. 9 football game at Alabama.

Goldsmith noted that the ban has yet to affect Fresno City College.

“While it is a travel ban, it hasn’t had direct impact to us,” she said. “We have not limited any travel because we have not traveled to those states,” she said.

Tapping Private Support for Travel

That’s not the case for Fresno State.

“We have a meats judging team which is one of the best in the country. As you know, we have one of the top ag programs in the country. They will need to travel to some of these states to compete. We will want them to travel to some of these states to compete. That’s part of their educational development,” Castro said.

“We will fund that trip or other trips that need to be made through private support. It will be a matter of looking how important it is and then if we have the funding from a private source to cover it. If we don’t or if it’s not an imperative opportunity, then we may decide not to go.”

Either way, Goldsmith appreciates the attention this topic brings: “When we have discriminatory practices and discriminatory laws against people, I think we need to have a discussion about that.”

There is still confusion on how AB 1887 would be applied to athletic teams that have post-season games in the affected states. UCLA played an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game in Tennessee last March despite the ban. Schools are awaiting clarification from Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Composite Photo Illustration: Hannah Reilly, GV Wire

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