LGBTQ+ Staff and Faculty Association Provides Connections, Builds Community
- BY Cal State East Bay
- June 23, 2021
Pride at Cal State East Bay isn’t just celebrated in June, but all year long. The LGBTQ+ Staff & Faculty Association, a group of nearly 50 university employees, enhances the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer faculty, staff, and students. In addition to opportunities for collaboration through advocacy and coalition building, the group offers a larger social and educational connection through programs and lectures.
"While our group is relatively small in regular participation, I have truly appreciated this space to come together with colleagues for support and idea-sharing on ways we can work together to support the LGBTQ+ community on campus,” said James Carroll, director of student conduct and the co-chair for the group. “Whether it has been tabling at Oakland Pride, attending a museum exhibit together, or meeting during lunch, this group has been a great connection with colleagues."
This year, they identified key areas to increase engagement and provide greater support for students, as well as provide a relaxed space for LBGTQ+ staff and faculty to build friendships.
LGBTQ+ campus history, accomplishments and challenges: In partnership with the Office of Diversity and the Diversity and Inclusion Student Center (DISC), the affinity group looks to build a chronology with highlights of how the community has come together on campus and how it has evolved.
Scholarships and awards: More than 70 percent of Cal State East Bay students receive some type of financial aid, and the affinity group wants to create a scholarship for students, which may include either funds to support their studies or provide special recognition at Commencement.
Organizational presence: In addition to social and community connections, the association looks to have greater attendance and engagement at broad university events. This last year, the DISC hosted Scott Turner Schofield, actor, writer, producer and speaker, who is known for his focus on education in regard to transgender issues and awareness.
“When we think about programming, the DISC and Office of Diversity strive to provide engaging events that reflect our community and represent complicated, intersectional identities,” said Jessika Murphy, DISC program coordinator. “This helps to enhance co-curricular learning as well as provide a brave, affirmative space for our community to challenge assumptions and make connections across lines of difference, creating space for dialogue and increasing our connections with one another.”
Health and wellness: In the wake of the pandemic, the LGBTQ+ Staff & Faculty Association wants to identify and provide more accessible health and wellness care resources for students. They plan to work with the Student Health & Counseling Center on HIV rapid testing, health education and prevention efforts and support groups.
There is not an active LGBTQ+/Pride student organization; however, if students are interested, they can become an officially recognized club through Student Life & Leadership Programs. Additional resources throughout the university support LGBTQ+ students, including programming supported by the Office of Diversity and the DISC, and the Student Counseling & Health Services sponsors a Queer and Questioning Support Group.
Membership in the LGBTQ+ Staff & Faculty Association is open to Cal State East Bay employees. For more information, please contact the association’s co-chair, James Carroll.