University News

Representatives from centers discuss collaboration

LGBTQ center, Women’s center, BCSC leaders talk about collaboration, Heritage Series

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, October 20, 2016

UCS members heard from various representatives of identity centers around campus, including the Women’s Center, the LGBTQ Center and BCSC.

Representatives from the Brown Center for Students of Color, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and the LGBTQ Center spoke about the intersection of identities and collaboration between their respective organizations at the Undergraduate Council of Students meeting Wednesday.

The three centers work very closely together, said Gail Cohee, director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and assistant dean of the College. This cooperation enables the centers’ staffs to view their work through “an intersectional lens,” Cohee added.

Partnership between the organizations and the recently opened First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center will also be important in addressing the intersection of student identities, said Joshua Segui, director of the BCSC. “To say that there’s a first-gen, low-income center doesn’t mean that class shouldn’t be central to the work of BCSC,” he added. “We definitely need to be talking about class just as much as we need to be talking about other identities.”

But because of the limits of BCSC resources, creating a space specifically for first-generation and low-income students was crucial, Segui said. He added that the BCSC student advisory board includes members who represent the LGBTQ Center, the Women’s Center and the First-Gen and Low-Income Center. “This year, we were intentional about creating that space on the student advisory board,” Segui said.

The six Heritage Series organized by BCSC — Asian/Asian American, black, Latinx, multiracial, Native American and Southwest Asian and North African — also foster intersectionality through collaborative events, Segui added. The Heritage Series represents “different historically excluded or oppressed communities,” he said. “But we also have been intentional about creating collaboration between all six groups, so sometimes all six groups will come together and work on a bigger event.”

The BCSC is searching for a new assistant director and a new program coordinator and is also working on its Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, Segui said. “We’re trying to be creative in thinking about what is diversity and inclusion when so much of what we do is around making the campus and the BCSC more inclusive,” he added.

Je-Shawna Wholley, program coordinator for the LGBTQ Center, also said that her organization’s goals include building relationships between centers and discussing the intersections of different identities. “We’re very interested in politicizing identity and creating space for us to have those conversations around the intersection of several different types of identity,” she added.

The LGBTQ Center can also “facilitate and create space for” students who are questioning their sexuality or do not necessarily want to take ownership of a label for their sexuality, Wholley said. “We’re also thinking intentionally about what it means to create a space for allies, so calling people in,” she said, adding that the LGBTQ Center is considering ways to foster “conversation with people who are just coming into allyship and want to know what that means.”

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