LSU's LGBTQ+ Faculty Caucus is proposing the creation of an LGBTQ+ center on campus. Despite the pre-existing LGBTQ+ room on campus in the Women’s Center, the Faculty Caucus agreed that a full building would be ideal to best serve LGBTQ+ students and faculty on campus.
The center would be used to provide a "Safe Place", a campaign the University's Spectrum club implemented in hopes of creating judgement-free and knowledgeable areas to the entire campus. It would also offer additional classrooms for the LGBTQ+ studies minor and conference rooms to host guest speakers and discuss community concerns.
Whether students are coming together in the center for social or academic reasons, the Caucus feels that as the community grows, places for them to mingle should also grow. Caucus President and English Associate Professor Chris Barrett said it is essential that students speak up and express their desire for the supplementary space.
“The more students tell the administration what they need, the more likely it would be,” Barrett said.
Assistant Director for Cross-Cultural Affairs Wes Heath said the LGBTQ+ Caucus is drafting proposals, which is a big step, but he said what works best on this campus is “student voices,” and the best way to get this done is for people to, “show up to what’s already there.”
The LGBT Center already has some student support on campus.
“I just hope it happens,” kinesiology freshman Kailyn Savoy said. “Of course something, like that would be up to me and other students to say something about it.”
Other students, including industrial engineering freshman Nick Saurage, think an LGBT Center is unnecessary.
“I don’t think it’s needed," Saurage said. "I feel like it’s over the top for one minority group to have a building and disregard all others.”
In the current Women’s Center, students can find books, movies and many other resources for LGBTQ+ support.
Another hurdle is belief that the majority of students and administration are in support. A recent edition of Princeton Review ranked the University as one of the top 15 LGBTQ+ unfriendly colleges in the country.
Barrett believes the University's administration is on the path to change.
“The University as a whole has gotten increasingly good at taking steps that were really meaningful to the needs of the community," Barrett said.
At the earliest, construction could be underway by the summer midterm of 2020.