Cal State Long Beach has established its first official committee to address the needs of the on-campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
Dina Perrone, an assistant professor in the criminal justice department, said it took many years for the LGBTQ Campus Climate Committee to become an officially recognized need on campus. The group initially started several years ago as an unofficial task force for LGBTQ rights, and the committee held its first meeting on Friday.
“Prior to this, there was an informal faculty and staff group that met on LGBT issues on campus, and that group was working together for a very long time, and they tried repeatedly to get something institutionalized,” Perrone said. “This is a direct route for us to have an effect on policy.”
Gabriel Estrada, an assistant professor in religious studies, said the fact that the university has started its own committee addressing the LGBTQ community is a historic moment that brings CSULB up to par with other campuses that already have such committees.
Estrada said the committee is excited to have support from the university and members of several colleges, including staff and students.
“This is a much more inclusive kind of organization,” Estrada said. “We didn’t have student representatives [in the unofficial task force.] We had staff, but they weren’t required to come, and we [now] have more cross-campus connections so we think we’ll be a lot more effective in this capacity.”
According to the LGBTQ Campus Climate mission statement, which they call the “Charge,” the committee has six major goals they are striving to accomplish.
Some of these goals include working with colleges throughout the university to retain and promote the success of LGBTQ students, faculty, administration and staff on campus, as well as assessing the campus climate from time to time in an effort to identify and address LGBTQ issues.
Each member of the 15-member committee is looking to address several issues, including creating a safe and comfortable environment for everyone on campus.
ASI Secretary for LGBTQI Affairs D.J. Elders said he thinks residential housing in particular needs to be addressed.
“I’m looking to increase how the administration works with students in order to create a safe housing experience,” Elders said. “There’s been several students who had to ask, ‘Hey, can I have another LGBT student, specifically, a transgender student [as a roommate?]’”
Estrada said having an official committee on campus enables the group to address various issues directly and implement policy changes that benefit those who identify as LGBTQ.
“A part of our mission is to recruit, retrain and promote the success of LGBTQ students, staff, faculty and administrators,” Estrada said. “With assessments, we can begin to figure out who we are, what’s our demographic on campus and how do we increase retention for LGBTQ students.”