The LGBT Resource Center has been without a full-time director for 14 months, and for members of the community it remains uncertain when or if this issue will be resolved.
Now the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is calling on the University to take action and provide its students with the support and recognition they rightfully deserve.
The LGBT community now finds itself in a precarious position. As the University has recently approved both an LGBT studies minor and gender-neutral housing – measures that articulate the University’s admirable attempts to provide a welcoming and supportive atmosphere at GW – we are also now left without a resource center director.
If GW intends to aid our community in one aspect, and ignore us in another, then the cumulative negative effects will outweigh the good they intended to serve.
Promptly hiring a new resource center director who is both qualified and capable is a step the University should take to benefit all students. It will demonstrate to LGBT students that they are as much a part of this establishment as anyone else. It will also aid straight students by signaling to them that all students are valuable at GW, not just the privileged few.
In the wake of multiple suicides in the LGBT community, as well as the government’s apparent unwillingness to repeal the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, GW could do even more to combat bigotry. One way to do so is by appointing a director as soon as possible, and not allowing that spot to remain vacant. As the resource center’s first student coordinator, I understand the good the center is capable of doing, if it is given the appropriate means.
A university fails to meet its stated purpose when it fails to adequately meet the needs of its students. Far more important than research grants or building designs is the ability of any institution to help those it seeks to serve. The time for waiting has long come and gone, the time for action is now. This is the stuff progress is made of – progress does not retreat and it does halt for bumps or barriers. If we are to collectively move forward toward a more desirable and egalitarian reality on campus, GW will realize that what is right and what is just is also what is obvious.
GW needs to maintain its commitment to all students by finding a new director for the LGBT Resource Center. Give the students on this campus the resources they deserve to meet the goals they want to achieve. This simple action would allow GW to be the place we all want it to be: welcoming, supportive and safe.
Melissa Gindin is the co-vice president of Allied in Pride.
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