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delfin bautista poses for a portrait in Ohio University’s LGBT Center. (FILE)

Removed LGBT Center director had positive work record

A personnel file shows that Ohio University’s former LGBT Center director had received raises and positive performance evaluations, being found to meet or exceed expectations in almost all areas during four years on the job.

delfin bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and does not capitalize their name, was removed from their position Jan. 10. The removal drew outcry from local activists, who held a rally in support of bautista on Jan. 11.

In a grievance filed Jan. 21, bautista said the removal came without warning and was handled unprofessionally. They found their email had been deactivated when they arrived at the office, and they said Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban giggled when she informed them of their removal.

Secuban denied bautista’s grievance in its entirety Friday and said bautista had undermined her authority. She said she did not laugh during their removal and reaffirmed her qualifications and OU’s commitment to diversity.

bautista said in the grievance that their removal came despite consistent positive feedback throughout their career. They also said the only justification Secuban gave them was that the Office for Diversity and Inclusion was “moving in a different direction.” 

Records from bautista’s personnel file show that bautista met or exceeded standards for almost every item on each performance evaluation they received. The Post reviewed performance evaluations dating back to 2014. 

Before their removal, bautista had only been told once that their performance didn’t meet standards. In a June performance review, bautista received an “improvement required” rating in “team accountability,” an area with goals including “interacts with others to promote a sense of community” and “competently performs job duties to support team goals.” bautista acknowledged that the LGBT Center staff had struggled with some conflict during that year.

“An area of growth is cultivating the strengths of the center staff/team,” they wrote in the comments. “This year there were several inter-staff conflicts that impacted the team as a whole as well as the overall environment of the center.”

bautista wrote that the team was “able to mediate those dynamics” and would be holding a retreat to strengthen relationships. They met or exceeded expectations in the other six areas.

Other performance evaluations noted that bautista had expanded the reach and message of the center through SafeZone trainings and had increased event offerings and media communications. Their page in the OU Experts Directory notes their role in developing OU’s preferred name and pronoun policy. They received several salary raises due to performance.

bautista’s personnel file also contained no disciplinary actions or records of any official investigations initiated before their removal. OU Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood confirmed over email that no records of investigations into bautista’s behavior by the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (or ECRC) or human resources existed, either.

bautista had also filed a complaint to ECRC before their removal. In the Sept. 25 complaint and an Oct. 16 follow-up, bautista said Secuban was treating them differently from other directors and wondered whether it was because bautista is Latinx or because Secuban perceived them as male. An ECRC investigator found that bautista’s complaint did not meet OU’s definition of discrimination or harassment.

The ECRC complaint and grievance do detail some events in which Secuban criticized their performance. bautista alleged that Secuban told them not to refer to themself as “head queer” since the word “queer” could be used against them, according to the grievance. According to the ECRC complaint, Secuban also told bautista that the center had been $30,000 over budget for fiscal year 2017-2018. The LGBT Center received visits from the audit team.

bautista received a 20 percent salary increase in August, raising their salary to about $72,700 per year.


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