The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) Student Assembly (SA) passed a resolution on Sunday night that calls on the University to create an LGBTQ student resource center on campus. The resolution, which is the first formal stance the SA has taken on the matter, passed 15-2.
Connor Kratz, MCAS ’18, and Jon Barbosa, LSOE ’18, co-sponsored the resolution, which comes a week after letters on a sign in the Mod Lot were rearranged to say a homophobic slur. Besides a letter to the editor in The Heights from Dean of Students Thomas Mogan, the University has not released a public statement on the situation. Kratz believes that there is a larger culture of homophobia and heteronormativity on campus that needs to be addressed.
“I want to make it overtly clear that this resolution is not just a reaction to one incident,” Kratz said. “It is simply utilizing the homophobic slur that … called attention to the BC community that the greater implicit culture of homophobia is present on this campus.”
The resolution will create a steering committee to work with the administration to draft plans for an LGBTQ resource center. If created, the center would bring together the resources currently available to students on campus, including the GLTBQ Leadership Council and the graduate assistants that work on LGBTQ issues in the Office of the Dean of Students. It would also provide students with a safe space to discuss LGBTQ issues.
BC currently does not have one unified center for LGBTQ issues. GLC, which is the largest resource for LGBTQ students on campus, is completely funded by UGBC, whose funds come from the student activities fee, not the administration. Students are currently directed to the Women’s Center if they want space to talk about LGBTQ issues, according to Josh Frazier, GLC representative and MCAS ’19.
“I believe that it is time for the Undergraduate Government to fill its role as an advocate for the student body, especially our marginalized students, by passing a resolution to make our campus a little more inclusive for our LGBTQ community.”
—Connor Kratz, MCAS ’18
According to Kratz, the LGBTQ resource center would function similarly to the Women’s Center and the Thea Bowman AHAHA and Intercultural Center, which are already established on campus. There are resources currently available to students to deal with LGBTQ issues, but often they are not completely visible, Kratz said. The resource center would provide more transparency and availability when it comes to LGBTQ support.
In the past, the University has not put effort toward a the creation of a LGBTQ center on campus. In the spring of 2015, over 400 BC alumni signed the “For Here All Are One” campaign letter. By signing the letter, alumni promised not to donate to the University until a resource center was created for LGBTQ students. The University did not respond to the alumni letter.
Kratz hopes that this financial incentive for the University to create a center continues in future years.
“I understand that the University is unlikely to establish this center immediately if we were to pass this resolution, however, I don’t think this is any reason to not take an affirmative stance on the issue as a student government,” Kratz said.
Georgetown University created a LGBTQ resource center for students on campus in 2008. The center was the first of its kind at a Jesuit university.
The steering committee, according to Kratz, will continue to research the best options for BC’s campus, while also looking at Georgetown as a benchmark. The committee will also look at implementing the center as part of the University’s 10-year plan, which is undergoing its planning process this year.
Debate at the SA meeting centered around the specificity of the resolution. Senators debated whether the resolution needed to more clearly outline what the resource center would include, prior to voting on the bill. It was decided that the ambiguity, in regard to what the resource center would hold, allows the steering committee to work more fluidly with the administration.
“I believe that it is time for the Undergraduate Government to fill its role as an advocate for the student body, especially our marginalized students, by passing a resolution to make our campus a little more inclusive for our LGBTQ community,” Kratz said.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor