Student Senate begins discussion on proposed LGBT pride center on campus


Sen. James Cortright discusses a resolution in support of a proposed LGBT pride center on campus at Thursday’s meeting of the Student Senate (Photo by Jordan Schauberger).

Jordan Schauberger

The Associated Student Body Student Senate entered discussion on supporting the potential creation of a pride center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) students on campus.

The resolution, which was authored by Director of Legislative Affairs Laurie Jones, calls for “the ARC Senate to urge the ARC administration, in partnership with the LGBTQ (Q stands for ‘queer/questioning’) subcommittee of equity to form and institutionalize a permanent physical space with funding for programs and services specifically to address LGBTQ matters.”

ARC student Brett Spencer, a volunteer at the Community and Diversity Center, clarified that all that is being asked of the board at this time is support.

“Essentially what we’re trying to accomplish with this it to say that ‘Yes this board supports having a pride center,’” said Spencer. “I don’t want this board to be the board that says we don’t support it (the pride center). … You’ve stepped into a narrative that ARC, in the minds of a lot of people, is not a gay friendly school.”

Sen. Regina Drake said that, while she supports the resolution, she would rather see the school put more of an effort into providing training for faculty and staff so there can be LGBT ally stickers up around campus telling people where it’s safe to go to talk about LGBT matters.

“When we have our (members of the LGBTQ community) off days,” said Drake. “When we have our bad days, we need someone to talk to, to have a pep talk and then feel better. To me that’s (ally stickers) something that we need first.”

Sen. James Cortright reiterated his issues with the resolution, which he brought up in the Clubs and Events Board meeting Tuesday.

“I have a hard time supporting a resolution that advocates for a space that doesn’t have a lot of clarification of what it’s going to be and the funds for it,” said Cortright. “I would like to see … surveys going around campus to see who really needs this, who really wants this.”

Sen. Tamara Dunning said that the need for an LGBTQ pride center can be something that everyone can utilize.

“There are groups considered disadvantaged, groups that are recognized by the Board of Governors and the Governor himself and we have a space for every single one of those groups. … The only group that doesn’t is the LGBT community,” said Dunning. “This not just a space for the LGBT community, this is not just a safe space … this is an educational space, this is a space that will benefit everyone on campus.”

The resolution will be voted on during next week’s meeting.

Sen. Valencia Scott, who joined the board two weeks ago, was appointed to the position of Vice President, which has been vacant since Vice President Sam Kinsey resigned Sept. 30.

President David Hylton supported the appointment, saying that Scott has shown interest in fixing some of the problems that the board is currently dealing with.

“She has a background in student government and has shown interest in revising our bylaws and constitution,” said Hylton.

Former Legislative Analyst McKaela Broitman announced last Wednesday that she would be resigning from the board.

Hylton said that she was in the process of transferring to another school. Broitman has not responded to emails as of press time.

The board also continued to vote on how it wants its delegate, Jones, to vote on resolutions that will be presented at General Assembly later this month.

Nine resolutions were voted on, including ones on representation for online students and gender expression sensitivity training.