Prof declares 'political victory' on Clemson LGBTQ center
- A Clemson University professor claims that his activist group has succeeded in convincing the school to establish a controversial “LGBTQIA+ Community Space.”
- Clemson had previously insisted that no such space "has been discussed or approved by senior administration," and even put a job posting on hold after it alluded to responsibilities related to an LGBTQ center.
A Clemson University professor claims that his activist group has succeeded in convincing the school to establish a controversial “LGBTQIA+ Community Space.”
“A political victory at Clemson today,” Clemson Professor Todd May crowed in a Facebook post on November 14. “After much struggle, our group, the Clemson Campaign for Campus Justice, successfully pressured the administration to commit to an LGBTQ space for our community.
“I know that is something that many other universities already have, but for us it is a real victory,” May added.
In the comments section of the post, May divulged that “there were many players in this,” including the Clemson University Sexuality and Gender Alliance (CU SAGA), the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) Senate, and the Clemson University President’s LGBTQ Commission.
As for the Clemson Campaign for Campus Justice (CCCJ), May stated that his group’s role was, “to take the more confrontative position with an administration whose mottos is, ‘It will probably go away, so let’s ignore it; and if it doesn’t go away, we’ll stop ignoring it.’”
Demands for a “permanent space” for the “LGBTQ+ community” began in May, when the CUSG Senate passed a formal resolution in support of the effort. The resolution followed an op-ed in The Tiger by the leader of CU SAGA, who complained that the Clemson administration has treated LGBTQ students as “simply another student group.”
At the time, Clemson Director of Media Relations, Robin Denny, stated, “no location has been identified for use as a community space for our LGBTQIA+ students at this time.”
Later, in July, Clemson advertised a job posting for an “Associate Director of Rainbow Initiatives,” which implied that the LGBTQ space was moving forward. One of the duties described in the posting referred to creating “a comfortable, safe, accessible resource center” for LGBTQ students and allies.
At the time, Clemson Vice President of University Relations Mark Land stated, “no special space that would serve any particular group of students has been discussed or approved by senior administration.”
Land further confirmed that the LGBTQ space portion of the job posting was included erroneously, stating, “I can’t speak to the exact process for producing the job description that you saw, but I have been told that the description is being re-evaluated.”
In an August Facebook post, the Clemson President’s LGBTQ Commission further confirmed the lack of progress on creating an LGBTQ center, saying, “The university has decided to place this job posting on hold. We'll try to provide updates as we find out more.”
CU SAGA confirmed this in another Facebook post, lamenting that “Clemson University's first full-time staff position for LGBTQ+ programming and advocacy has been put on hold indefinitely.”
Campus Reform reached out to the CUSG LGBTQIA+ Engagement Chair, a representative for CU SAGA, the spokesperson for the Clemson President’s LGBTQ Commission, the Director of the Clemson Multicultural Center, and university spokespersons for comment, but did not receive any responses in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter