Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dr. Annie Russell, Director of LGBTQ Center at URI

Rhode Island College context: What have we been doing at RIC for LGBTQ?

2009: RIC Equity Action Grant to fund LGBTQ programming
2011: Campus Pride Index (3.5/5) for LGBT friendly campus

Gender neutral housing and bathrooms on campus
Records office now has a process for name changes for trans student

2013: Pride index went up (4.0/5)
2014:  LGBT Faculty Allies group

Dr. Annie Russell (URI)
BA in Communication
MA in Education
Phd in Higher Ed Administration
Research interest in social justice and intersectionality
Director of LGBTQ Center at URI, faculty in Gender and women's studies

HISTORY: how people fight for their rights

Safety was the greatest motivator for LGBT activism.
Issues of activism and safety are usually first.  Many people don't come out early due to these issues.
Today, many students have come out BEFORE they come to college

Laws existed that required people to stay in the closet, meet privately, and use code words when organizing.

SILENCE was the key issue for LGBT life.

Soon, students started organizing.  Faculty and staff soon followed.

This set of events was the fire that lit the public fight for LGBTQ Rights

1971 - University of Michigan was first in country to open a LGBT Center on campus

On many college campuses, Women's Centers became an important place to fight for LGBT rights when campuses wouldn't acknowledge LGBT people explicitly

LAWS start to change: students' right to organize, funding sources, anti-sodomy laws, civil rights legislation.

Local churches opened their doors to many LGBTQ groups when students didn't feel safe on campus.
Building alliances between church and LGBT

Anti-discrimination Civil Rights Legislation: at the federal level, no protection for secual orientation and gender identity

30 out of 50 states allow gay people to marry
About 400 campuses have taken the Pride Index from Campus Pride
About 250 LGBT Centers across the country

What is Campus Climate?
  • Policy: Do we say the words?
  • Procedures and Practice: Is it more than words? Do we really think through the experience of LGBT people?
  • Resources:  Centers, support and leadership (comfort with the language)
  • Visibility

Assessment:  How do we figure out if things are working?
CAS --> National Organization that creates assessment tools (semester long process of assessment)
Campus Pride Index --> RIC uses this, more extensive survey is coming this year
Princeton Review/US News and World Report --> not as reputable to figure out inclusiveness, but lots of people look at this measure when they are looking at where to go to college

How do we DO Climate Change?
  • Critical Mass: Need people who are willing to work for change, need United Communities (bringing together people who feel marginalized across different categories)
  • Assessment: (need to create reports, and publicize!!)
  • Making the Invisible, Visible: (telling stories, give voice to things that no one wants to talk about)
  • Proposing Change: (formal and document, submitted in a public way, in a timely way with a bottom line)

Examples from Bowling Green State University and URI

Strategic Planning for Centers

Start by identifying what we do well and what we don't
Setting goals to figure out priorities
Use communications and marketing to make the work public (in process and annual report)
Continuous Improvement Model

*Sharing Stories
  • What LGBT experiences have you had on this campus?
  • How have those experiences shaped where institution is today?
  • What are the barriers?
Consortium LGBTQ Professionals in Higher Education offers models for funding and resources
Strength in proof and numbers -- we need data to show who is here and what they need

*Draw from the counseling center for data on how many folks are coming in with LGBTQ related issues and concerns

** The moment we make things public issue the administrative roadblocks

- Which entities should be involved in creating a plan?
- How will you appoint inclusive leadership surrounding LGBT issues?
- How do you sustain resistance and overcome burnout?
- What are your non-negotiables?

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