In November 1999, a committee was formed to explore the idea to establish a resource center on campus dedicated to the needs of the LGBT community and their straight allies. This initial meeting of interested students, faculty, and staff was intended as an assessment of needs and a steering meeting to determine courses of action. The committee concluded that the center was a vital need, and that such a resource center “would be invaluable in promoting a climate of understanding, support and celebration of diversity and would provide a sage environment for LGBT-identified students in which to learn, live and grow.”
The committee drafted a proposal that was presented to the Acting Vice President of Student Affairs/Campus Life in the spring of that year. The committee also solicited endorsements of the proposal from student organizations, academic departments and administrative offices.
Vital in this effort were heterosexual allies who advocated that such a Center would indeed serve the needs of all students, of all sexual and gender identities, and create a positive environment for all.
The Ithaca College Board of Trustees approved funds at their February 2001 meeting to provide minimum operating expenses and fund a part-time coordinator.
The Center’s founding director began work in mid October 2001. The Ithaca College Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services opened the doors of its LGBT Resource Room, staffed by a cadre of student volunteers on November 12, 2001, exactly two years and one day after the initial committee meeting.
Staring in August 2003, the coordinator position became full-time during the academic year.
The Center continues to work for everyone on campus. Homophobia, heterosexism, biphobia and transphobia hurt people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Challenging and confronting oppression is vital in a learning environment.
We are grateful to Michael Mandel ‘00 for sharing details of the historical background of the Center.