Social Justice Initiatives
In 2019, Council Adopted an update to the Borough of State College’s Strategic Plan. Welcome & Engage is one of the critical success factors for the plan.
Welcome & Engage- State College is a community where diversity is honored and celebrated, and every voice can be heard by community leaders who are committed to listening. The community is engaged and active in civic life. The Borough is dedicated to ensuring equal access to public services; advocates for inclusion in public policy, local businesses, and our neighborhoods; and intentionally designs opportunities to facilitate engagement in our multi-generational community. All are welcome here.
This page includes information on previous social justice initiatives that are in place to ensure the Borough of State College is a welcoming and engaged community.
- Resolutions on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Home Rule Charter
- Code of Ordinances
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza
- LGBTQ Matters Advisory Committee
- Multi-Cultural and Unity Fair
- Community Diversity Conference
- Training Program: Enhancing Excellence in Customer Service
- Officer-Involved Shooting Incident (03/20/2019)
- You Are Welcome Here Banners
- Community Partnerships
- Resolution 1258 Demanding Racial Justice, Equity and Action
- RES 1255 - Support of Mayor Filippellis Letter RE - George Floyd
- Resolution 1252-Condemning Racist and Xenophobic Hate and Bias Towards Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Municipality shall not deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, or discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right because of race, color, religious belief, ancestry, sex or national origin.
Chapter I Administration and Government–Part N Purchasing/Contract/Property Disposition Control:
Discrimination Prohibited. Any contract entered into by the Municipality for the construction, alteration or repair of any public building or public work may contain provisions by which the contractor agrees that, in the hiring of employees for the performance of work under the contract or any subcontract under it, no contractor or subcontractor and no person acting on behalf of the contractor or subcontractor shall, by reason of race, creed, sex, or color, discriminate against any person who is qualified and available to perform the work to which the employment relates. Violations of this provision by the contractor will constitute grounds for terminating the contract.
Chapter I Administration and Government–Part J Personnel System:
The Borough is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any person in recruitment, examination, appointment, training, promotion, retention, discipline or any other aspect of personnel administration because of political or religious opinions or affiliations or because of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibility, marital status, age, disability or handicap, use of service animals and/or mechanical aids, or any other non-merit factors. Bona fide occupational requirements may be observed.
Chapter V Part E–Fair Housing Ordinance:
Purpose. The Municipality has an obligation to maintain an environment conducive to fostering respect among all residents of the community. The Municipality must assure that persons seeking to avail themselves of their right to enjoy housing facilities obtain goods and services in a public accommodation and have equal access to residential real estate-related transactions regardless of race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, source of income, disability or handicap, presence of a service animal (public accommodations) or support animal (housing and real estate-related transactions), pregnancy, birth of a child or marital or familial status are not burdened by unjust discrimination. Incidents of unjust discrimination are harmful to the society we share. Such acts not only harm those who suffer them but also threaten the reputation of the community.
Declaration of Policy. It is the public policy of the Municipality to prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations and residential real estate-related transactions because of race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, source of income, disability or handicap, presence of a service animal (public accommodations) or support animal (housing and real estate-related transactions), pregnancy, birth of a child or marital or familial status; and to provide for the resolution of housing, public accommodation and residential real estate-related transaction discrimination disputes at the local level in a timely, cost efficient and effective manner; and, to obtain substantial equivalency with the federal government's housing and anti-discrimination enforcement efforts.
Chapter V Part I Anti-Discrimination In Employment Ordinance
In order to ensure that all persons, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibility, marital status, age, disability or handicap, use of service animals and/or mechanical aids enjoy the full benefits of citizenship and are afforded equal opportunities for employment, it is necessary that appropriate legislation be enacted.
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the Borough to foster the employment of all persons in accordance with their fullest capacities regardless of actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibility, marital status, age, disability or handicap, use of service animals and/or mechanical aids, and to safeguard their right to obtain and hold employment without such discrimination, to assure equal opportunities to all individuals and to safeguard their rights.
Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed as supporting or advocating any particular doctrine, position, point of view, or religious view. To the contrary, it is the intention of this Ordinance that all persons be treated fairly and equally, and it is the express intent of this Ordinance to guarantee fair and equal treatment under the law to all people of the Borough.
This Ordinance shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the Borough or the protection of the public welfare, prosperity, health and peace of the State College community.
Chapter VII Franchises–Part C Cable System Regulatory Ordinance:
Rights of Individuals Protected. Unfair Discriminatory Practices Prohibited. In the performance of a Franchise, a Grantee shall not discriminate unfairly against any person on the ground of or because of race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, gender, religion or political opinion or affiliation, income of residents in any area of the Grantor, or age. A Grantee shall comply at all times with all other valid applicable federal, state and local laws, and all federal and state executive and administrative orders relating to non-discrimination.
Chapter X Licenses and Permits–Part G Domestic Partner Registry:
The Borough of State College has an interest in strengthening and supporting all caring, committed and responsible family forms. The Borough of State College recognizes the importance of cultural diversity and equal treatment as evidenced by its enactment of a fair housing and public accommodations ordinance and the antidiscrimination in employment ordinance which protect its citizens from discrimination. A domestic partnership registry further offers a means by which unmarried couples in committed ongoing family relationships may document their relationships. Establishment of a registry recognizes the diversity of family configurations and provides public recognition of these relationships.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. plaza opened on August 28, 2017 (the 54th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. King gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech) in Downtown State College. Located on South Fraser Street, between West College Avenue and West Beaver Avenue, this memorial serves as a reminder to citizens of Dr. King’s legacy as an advocate for peace, equality, and justice – a legacy that lives on in the State College Community and around the world. The local Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza Committee meets regularly to discuss enhancements to the plaza and plans annual events around race, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
In 2017 the State College Borough Council established the LGBTQ Matters Advisory Committee to advise Council, Mayor, and Staff on practices that will create greater access, engagement, and inclusion for member of the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.
Their work includes:
Assist with the annual Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equity Index
Provide LGBTQ cultural competency training for borough staff
Provide assistance to ensure vendor equity in contracting
Provide assistance to institute a visible LGBTQ-affirming/welcoming business program and training for local vendors and their employees
Act as a resource for borough staff doing public involvement processes
Work with borough staff to ensure that city facilities and events are accessible for people who identify outside the gender binary
Work with other municipalities interested in taking part in the above activities and in advancing sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination ordinances in their localities
This local committee is comprised of members from Penn State, State College community leaders, State College Police, Penn State Police, and Borough Staff. This helps bring a wide range of perspectives when discussing LGBTQ issues within the community.
Recent actions by the board:
- Increased State College’s Municipal Equality Index score from 73 to 100.
- Established gender-neutral bathrooms in the State College Municipal Building and parking garages
- Worked with Council to create and pass an ordinance banning conversion therapy for all minors in the Borough of State College
- Established Kevin Kassab, Community Engagement Director, as the Borough’s LGBTQ Liaison
- Worked with staff to adopt an all-inclusive workplace policy
- Ensured all Borough staff with domestic partners receive health benefits
- Created Pride banners to be displayed throughout Downtown State College during Pride Month every year since 2018
The Multicultural Unity Fair was held in September of 2018 and 2019. The fair was filled with diverse entertainment including Drums of West Africa, Roots of Life, Happy Valley Chinese School, Society for Indian Music and Arts, Caliente PSU, Penn State International Dance Ensemble and Patrick “Littlewolf” Brooks and Emelie Jeffries. State College Friends School brought their Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. display with a recording of Dr. King’s speech playing. The event was filled with games for all ages and information booths from the community and Penn State University. Attendees had the opportunity to sample generous food donations from Pita Cabana, Plaza Mexican, India Pavilion and Cozy Thai Bistro. At this year’s event, Mayor Hahn proclaimed Saturday, September 28, 2019, as Multicultural Unity Day in the Borough of State College. This event is a collaboration of the State College Borough and the Community Diversity Group.
The Community Diversity Conference is a full day conference and happens bi-annually in State College. The Community Diversity Group, The Borough of State College, the surrounding areas as well as our Penn State affiliates come together to provide a unique opportunity for anyone, not just State College residents, to enhance community relations, increase awareness about diversity issues prevalent in our community, and to improve the overall social climate of State College.
OFFERED BY THE COMMUNITY DIVERSITY GROUP: The Borough of State College supports this program by providing space in the municipality building for these workshops to take place. The course is offered to all surrounding businesses in the area. The course objectives include: Identifying the components of excellent customer service, understanding our community, discussing how diversity impacts customer service effectiveness on the job, and developing strategies for improving quality of customer service to diverse customers.
This webpage is to ensure that all information regarding the officer-involved shooting incident of Osaze Osagie is in a centrally located place on the Municipality’s website.
In 2018 University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) in collaboration with the State College Borough developed the You Are Welcome Here Banners that are hung annually in Downtown State College. The banners are displayed at the beginning of PSU’s Fall semester to welcome international students moving into the community. The overall goal of these banners is to highlight the diversity of student residents.
- Community & Campus in Unity (CCU)
- Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
- Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity
- Community Diversity Group
- Global Connections