GLSEN Applauds President Obama’s Appointments of Catherine Lhamon and Debo

GLSEN Applauds Appointments to USCCR

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GLSEN Applauds President Obama’s Appointments of Catherine Lhamon and Debo Adegbile to the United States Commission on Civil Rights

WASHINGTON (December 15, 2016) – GLSEN’s Executive Director, Eliza Byard, thanked President Obama for appointing Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and Debo Adegbile of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP, and previously with the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a bipartisan, independent commission composed of eight Commissioners: four appointed by the President and four by Congress.

“These remarkable appointments are a milestone in the on-going struggle to fulfill our nation’s founding promise of justice for all. GLSEN applauds President Obama for his selection of two of today’s foremost civil rights leaders, Catherine Lhamon and Debo Adegbile, to join the Commission in its vital efforts.

“Over more than ten years with the NAACP, Adegbile fought employment and housing discrimination, led criminal justice reform efforts and repeatedly defended the Voting Rights Act, all areas for urgent focus in the Commission’s work in the years to come. Under Catherine Lhamon’s direction, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has become the foremost champion of our nation’s most at-risk youth, responding to a record number of complaints from students and families of all kinds who have turned to her office for assistance. Lhamon has led OCR through a period of some of the most important action to ensure true educational equity since desegregation. She has been an unrelenting ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students, protecting them from bullying, harassment and discrimination, and ensuring that schools address sexual harassment and assault in ways that do not harm the survivors.”

The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found that LGBTQ students who experienced discrimination and bullying and harassment at school were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the past month as those who did not, had lower GPAs than their peers, and had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression.



GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit