AID At­lanta files fed­eral suit against CDC over fund­ing

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

In just a few months, transwomen will learn whether or not they will be able to ap­ply to Spel­man Col­lege. The col­lege’s Board of Trustees is ex­pected to take a vote at the end of this fis­cal year, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued to Ge­or­gia Voice from Spel­man’s Of­fice of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“The Spel­man Col­lege Trans­gen­der Pol­icy Task Force pre­sented its rec­om­men­da­tions to the Board of Trustees in late April,” the state­ment said. “We want to al­low the full in­te­grated process to come to a con­clu­sion be­fore com­ment­ing fur­ther.”

The task force was con­vened last fall as part of Spel­man Pres­i­dent Mary Sch­midt Camp­bell’s com­mit­ment to ex­pand­ing the col­lege’s Ti­tle IX poli­cies and prac­tices. In a “wel­come back” let­ter she wrote, Sch­midt Camp­bell said it was one of two im­por­tant such groups she planned to start.

Ac­cord­ing to the school’s web­site, the group was tasked with devel­op­ing a pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tion “re­gard­ing the con­sid­er­a­tion of ad­mis­sion el­i­gi­bil­ity and en­roll­ment of trans­gen­der stu­dents” at the his­tor­i­cally black women’s col­lege.

Task force mem­bers in­clude Dean of Stu­dents Fran’Cee Brown McClure, in­terim Provost Myra Bur­nett, professors, stu­dents and alum­nae.

“The task force’s com­pre­hen­sive, in­clu­sive and thor­ough process has thus far in­cluded: in-depth anal­y­sis of the le­gal and com­pli­ance is­sues re­lated to Ti­tle IX and trans­gen­der stu­dents; nu­mer­ous con­sul­ta­tions with fac­ulty, stu­dents, staff and alum­nae groups; de­tailed re­views of ex­ist­ing poli­cies at other women’s col­leges; and ex­am­i­na­tions of the schol­arly re­search and lit­er­a­ture on gen­der iden­tity,” the school’s state­ment said.

Non­profit AID At­lanta clapped back at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion on May 11, fil­ing a law­suit af­ter CDC pulled the plug on fund­ing its HIV pre­ven­tion pro­grams ear­lier this year.

Ni­cole Roe­buck, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for AID At­lanta, said in a news re­lease they were “quite frankly per­plexed” by the CDC’s ac­tions.

“AID At­lanta acted as a trusted and highly re­garded part­ner with the CDC un­der a six-year agree­ment, op­er­at­ing HIV pre­ven­tion projects tar­get­ing young men of color who have sex with men,” Roe­buck said in a news re­lease. “At no time dur­ing this pe­riod has the CDC ex­pressed any con­cerns or crit­i­cisms of AID At­lanta’s HIV pre­ven­tion pro­grams or its abil­i­ties to man­age such pro­grams and fed­eral re­sources.”

The law­suit files mo­tions for dam­ages and in­junc­tive re­lief against the CDC and wants the court to over­turn the agency’s de­ci­sion to deny its grant awards, ac­cord­ing to the At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion. The law­suit as­serts the CDC “mis­man­aged a crit­i­cal fund­ing op­por­tu­nity and im­per­mis­si­bly de­nied fund­ing to a long-stand­ing part­ner fight­ing HIV/AIDS.”

Roe­buck said the group has been awarded long-term fund­ing for HIV test­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and pre­ven­tion at least five times since 2004. Ac­cord­ing to the AJC, the fund­ing would have al­lowed AID At­lanta to con­tinue its com­mu­nity-based pro­grams that fo­cus on HIV pre­ven­tion and test­ing among black gay and bi­sex­ual men ages 18 to 28. When fund­ing was halted, AID At­lanta im­me­di­ately stopped its Evo­lu­tion Project pro­gram that aided this tar­get pop­u­la­tion, and laid off four staff mem­bers.

AID At­lanta sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to re­ceive “high im­pact HIV pre­ven­tion funds” to re­place an ex­ist­ing CDC grant sched­uled to end on March 31. The or­ga­ni­za­tion was de­nied re­newal of that pre­ven­tion and test­ing ser­vices con­tract, the AJC re­ported.

In the news re­lease, AID At­lanta ex­ec­u­tives said the CDC “acted in an ar­bi­trary, capri­cious and il­le­gal man­ner when it re­fused to re­new” the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fund­ing con­tract, which “will re­sult in thou­sands of fewer HIV test be­ing per­formed in At­lanta and that will only worsen an on­go­ing pub­lic health cri­sis among mi­nori­ties in that com­mu­nity.”

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