The Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) held its first quarterly Queer Town Hall on Thursday since its separation from the Women’s Gender and Sexual Equity Department (WGSE) during Fall Quarter.
Several students and faculty members attended Thursday’s meeting in the Graduate Student Lounge in the MultiCultural Center to learn more about the future of the center and share their own goals and concerns.
“The town hall is an opportunity to share with students what has been going on at the RCSGD as well as to ask for input on what our plans for the future might be,” said Justice Dumlao, the RCSGD diversity education facilitator during an interactive group discussion.
During a previous meeting on Nov. 17, RCSGD staff presented a list of demands to the administration and claimed that the WGSE did not treat them fairly. The staff referenced a Nov. 14 incident when the center’s associate director was fired and removed from the Student Resource Building without warning.
The RCSGD was immediately removed from underneath its umbrella organization and the university administration agreed to a freestanding building that would house the new RCSGD, as well as several other demands that included a doubling of the program’s budget.
The organization’s current name will be changed later this year.
“The RCSGD title had previously fit the student body but may no longer accommodate the communities’ needs,” said Hikaru Ezra Merin, the Transforce task coordinator.
Merin explained that it may be difficult for students to tell their friends or family members “I work at the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity,” which is why a slightly more ambiguous or “non-outing” title should be established.
They also said that the lack of adequate assistance has made tasks “more complex” and has been “hindering the RCGSD’s progress.”
Students also expressed concern about the graduate student hiring process. Many felt that undergraduates should be able to work with the administration to determine which candidates may be a good fit.
RCSGD office manager Ogui Gonzalez said the “student voices are currently not centered and students should be able to put in their input and be involved in the interview process.”
In addition to increased participation in the hiring process, students requested upperclassmen housing for queer and transgender students.
Diversity Programs Director Carlos Nash said that this may be implemented in the future because the housing faculty members are already planning to incorporate Living Learning Communities into upperclassmen housing.
“The Newman Housing Queer and Trans Cooperative in Isla Vista is currently taking applications, and interested students should apply as soon as they can,” Merin said.
Currently, the Newman House provides LGBTQ students with the chance to live in an inclusive environment and to meet other people from the community.
RCGD staff member Johari Hunt also introduced the RCGSD’s new mentorship program. Any interested student can apply to be a mentee, and faculty members are encouraged to volunteer as mentors. Students can find more information on the RCSGD website or Facebook page.
All students are also welcome to stop by the RCSGD centers or contact Ogui Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about upcoming opportunities.
Correction: Mernin’s full name is Hikaru Erza Mernin, not Erza Mernin as previously stated.
Correction: Dumlao is the RCSGD diversity education facilitator, not the RCSGD office manager as previously stated.