New grad assistant in Office of Multicultural Affairs hopes to lay foundation for future - lsureveille.com: News

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New grad assistant in Office of Multicultural Affairs hopes to lay foundation for future

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Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 7:23 pm | Updated: 12:43 am, Wed Sep 18, 2013.

A new coordinator for LGBT affairs with the Office of Multicultural Affairs hopes to raise the profile of campus organizations while also laying a foundation for future generations of students.

Micah Caswell, graduate assistant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and coordinator of the LGBTQ Project and the Safe Space Campaign, said he is optimistic about the direction in which equal rights are going, but there is much more to be done.

“I want to make sure that the needs of LGBTQ students are being served,” Caswell said. “What I do is only the beginning of something that needs to grow.”

The Safe Space Campaign, a program Caswell oversees, educates University departments and organizations about LGBT issues. Caswell said that while this campaign is important and has been a focus in past years, it is not his primary goal going forward.

“Historically LGBT students have had to take care of themselves,” Caswell said. “The Office of Multicultural Affairs has done a lot in the past. ... Now this graduate assistantship is about more than Safe Space trainings.”

Caswell said what is most important about his time in the Office of Multicultural Affairs is to help LGBT organizations be noticed around campus.

“One of my goals is to raise money. ... We won’t get the institutional support until we show the University that we are here,” he said. “For us to do that, we need money.”

Caswell said the money would fund important projects to make a difference in the LGBT community on campus.

The ideas include a “campus climate study” administered by a third party to accurately gauge how LGBT students are treated at the University, according to Caswell. He also has plans to create a dedicated resource room where students can ask questions and explore LGBT literature.

Caswell said his brief time as a graduate assistant has been rewarding, especially when he gets to interact with students.

“I like working with students, talking to them on a regular basis, getting to have a relationship with them and doing things that they want to see on campus,” Caswell said.

Caswell said that the goals of the LGBT community at the University can be realized, but it will take time and effort.

“The broadest goal is to institutionalize LGBT support for students,” said Caswell. “It can’t be done in a year, but I want to leave a structure that will help the next students move forward.”

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