I recently received an advertisement email from my Alma Mater, the University of Cincinnati, for the LGBTQ Meet and Greet. I was disturbed, but not surprised at the number of errors. Community titles were misspelled, several were un-named, and university groups names were out-dated and inaccurate. Another group hasn’t been around for almost two years.
When I was a UC student I resurrected a movement to install a university funded full time staff person for the queer community and adding queer center or queer inclusive multicultural center (their choice) to campus life. Petitions were signed with over 1,000 student, faculty, and staff signatures in support, meetings and rallies were held… This was four years ago… The fight still goes on today.
Last year an appeasement piece was offered, a space documented as a temporary space for queer students until a permanent one could be established. It is literally a closet, not big enough for more than 11 people -standing room only with no furniture that is. The “LGBTQ Center” is run by the Women’s Center, which currently holds its toe over all queer recognition and legitimacy for the University. (Can someone say problematic?) The ‘center’ holds irregular hours and is closed more than it is open. The space offers no private space for consultation with a staff person – an untrained graduate student who works out of the Women’s Center and is primarily ‘staffed’ by student volunteers who have minimal if any training in any crisis support or resource education. Additionally, and equally as important, the space has never been recognized as a safe space for queers of color or international queer students. Such a space does not exist anywhere on campus.
The Univeristy of Cincinnati and the UC Women’s Center have epically failed at supporting queer students in every sense. They cannot provide comprehensive queer education, a private community space, or a reliable, accessible resource person for students. The University of Cincinnati has no excuse for its behavior towards queer students. It is time for the school to step into the modern world and support its students as equal, valued members of the campus. I never got my queer center. How many other students must creep through their college careers never feeling included, never feeling respected, and never feeling safe?
Bloggers Note: It is worth mentioning that queer students are not the only students lacking support and space, esp. international students, many students of color, student parents, and non-traditional students.