LGBTQ Campus Resources and Services Initiatives in 2003, 2007, and 2010

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Following a series of meetings with student leaders, University administrators, staff, and faculty met in fall 2003 to address some of the problems — academic, social, administrative, and personal — confronting LGBT/queer students on campus.  Asking University administration “to take an active role in developing policies and empowering programs addressing LGBTQ concerns,” the LGBTQ Campus Resources and Services Initiative (17 November 2003) outlined five key areas for development: “general visibility, staffing, programming, housing, and academic/curricular development.”  Campus staff and faculty drafting and signing the proposal included Lyndsay Agans, Meredith Apfelbaum, Alwina Bennett, Kim Godsoe, Thomas A. King, Susan S. Lanser, Jim Mandrell, Paul Morrison, Luigi Solla, J. Scott Van Der Meid, and Elaine Wong.  Among their recommendations was the inclusion of gender choice and sexual orientation in all official university statements on equal opportunity and diversity; the founding of a LGBTQ/Queer Resource Center; implementation of a campus wide Ally Training and Safe Zone program; the creation of a minor in Sexuality Studies; the hiring of a full-time staff member dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ community on campus and the development of gender inclusive campus housing.  Positive outcomes included the establishment of the Queer Resource Center and, due to the leadership of Marcus Simon ’07 and Kate Moore ‘07, the founding of TransBrandeis, the creation of safe spaces and facilities for queer and transgender students, and the addition of “gender identity and expression” to the University’s nondiscrimination policy.

Student leaders, organized by TransBrandeis coordinator Marcus Simon ’07, revisited the Initiative in May 2007, noting that “the initial goals set forth four years ago ha[d] yet to be accomplished.”  Of particular note was the University’s failure to hire a full-time staff person to support LGBTQ students and programming, creating instead a 10-hour/week coordinator position, first held by SOC doctoral student Allison Better (Ph.D., 2010).  Following further petitioning in May 2010 from undergraduates Thomas Arnott 2011, Sophia Glass 2011, and Simon Zahn 2012, the University advertised for a half-time Program Coordinator for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, hiring WGS master’s student Jessamine Beal in fall 2011.  Beal served in this position for academic years 2011-13.

In their 2010 letter to Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer asking for an increased commitment of staff resources, students Arnott, Glass, and Zahn emphasized the University’s historical reliance on student leaders to provide support, advocacy, training, and other resources and services to LGBTIA/Queer students and their allies on campus: “As students, we believe that the queer population has achieved increased visibility, though this is largely due to the work of Triskelion in its creation of additional support for queer students of color (QPOCC) and the founding of an intellectual discussion group concerning issues of sex and sexualities (SASS). In 2006, ‘gender identity and expression,’ was added to the school’s Non-Discrimination Policy. In 2008, TransBrandeis successfully led the coalition to gain gender-neutral options for student housing, addressing the housing concern.”

Sources:

“LGBTQ Campus Resources and Services,” 17 November 2003.

“Proposal: Director of GLBT/Queer Advocacy, Programming, and Resources,” Marcus Simon ’07 et al, 1 May 2007.

Sophia Glass 2011, Tommy Arnott 2011, and Simon Zahn 2012, Cover letter to Rick Sawyer, Proposal for a half-time Consultant for GLBTQ Affairs, 13 May 2010.