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President's Commission on LGBTQI seeks to educate entire campus community

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Education. Education. Education - is the goal of the Slippery Rock University President's Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Intersex Issues.

The commission's first meeting of the year was Thursday.

"Our primary mission this year will be to educate and inform the University community about issues confronting the LGBTQI community," said Catherine Massey, associate professor of psychology and commission co-chair. "We want people to be discussing important issues such as gay marriage, the military's 'Don't Ask; Don't Tell Policy' and what it means to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-gender or intersex in today's society," Massey said.

"The only way people can make informed decisions is to be educated on the issues. They have to know what they are voting for, especially when it affects the rights of millions of people. We want to help with the education process and shape productive citizens who are multiculturally savvy and knowledgeable," she said.

The commission's education plans already include a full calendar of activities, with more being developed.

Included in upcoming events this semester are special "T-shirt Wednesdays," where commission members will identify several people who are wearing the LGBT rainbow T-shirts or the previously distributed "gay? fine my me" T-shirts and give them prizes for showing their support of the LGBTQI community. The program begins in October. The rainbow "T-shirts are available at the SGA Bookstore.

The 11-member commission, one of four Presidential Commissions at SRU, has been charged with helping to move Slippery Rock University toward a more inclusive and supportive campus climate that is free of discrimination, intolerance and bigotry. The commission works toward an understanding and appreciation of differences in our diverse faculty, staff, and students.

Its overall goals include,

* assessing campus climate as it pertains to LGBTQI persons and make recommendations for improvement;

* addressing heterosexism, homophobia and anti-gay abuse or violence should such incidents occur;

* advising the president regarding LGBTQI issues and inclusion as well as work to alleviate barriers and obstacles;

* recommending changes that may become part of the university curriculum or training programs to enable students, faculty, and staff to function in a diverse society;

* serving as advocates for, and leaders of, the institutional changes required for SRU to become a multicultural campus community respectful of all people;

* promoting activities that demonstrate the university's commitment to diversity;

* reviewing campus policies for their effect on LGBTQI persons addressing issues of adverse impact; and

* providing a vehicle for communication between LGBTQI students, faculty and staff and university administration.

Commission Members

Catherine Massey,
Associate professor of psychology

Patrick Beswick
Associate director of
Residence Life

Christofer Ango
Clerk typist, modern languages
and cultures

Leighann Datt
Interim director
Office of Student Conflict Resolution Services

Claudia Fischer - Student Life
Executive staff assistant
Office of Student Life

Marybeth Miller
Associate professor,
physical education

Ashley Ranck
English major from Stevens

Josh Rodgers
Psychology major from Utica

Paula Rieder - History
Assistant professor, history

Roger Solano
Associate professor,
School of Business

Laurel Dagnon
Program director, Center for Student Involvement
and Leadership