Public school gives LGBTQ students special study lounge
LGBTQ students at the University of Oklahoma will soon have their own special study center.
According to a report in the Oklahoma Daily, the public school’s student newspaper, the Queer Inclusion on Campus student group presented OU’s administration with a list of demands to better address the needs of LGBTQ students. While the students demanded their own resource center, OU President David Boren compromised with a study lounge in the student center.
“Through a meeting with President Boren and other high level administrators we reached a happy medium which was a new LGBTQ study area,” Alexander Ruggiers, a senior English major, told the Oklahoma Daily.
UPDATE: The university is currently looking for a space in the Union to put an LGBTQ Lounge. Thank you all for your allyship and support!— QuIC at OU (@ouQuIC) May 6, 2015
According to a post on the group’s Facebook page, the Queer Inclusion on Campus has demanded 11 changes to the university in the spring including: safer learning environments, a vice president of diversity, scholarships for LGBTQ students, curriculum reform, inclusive student health care, and gender-neutral bathrooms.
The Oklahoma Daily reported that Kasey Catlett, assistant director of the LGBTQ and health programs at the Women’s Outreach Center, speculated that the study room would be large enough to build the LGBTQ community and provide a “safe space” for those students.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “I think it’s going to be used for a number of things, one, to have a sense of community, something that LGBTQ students have never had before.”
“I am looking forward to seeing what it will look like and walking by seeing students utilizing it,” Catlett said.
Despite gaining a new study center, Ruggiers told the Oklahoma Daily that the Queer Inclusion on Campus still plans to fight for “safe and inclusive” housing, diversity training for faculty and staff, and a resource center for LGBTQ students.
“There is still a lot of work to do," Ruggiers said. "We definitely do not want this to be seen as our one victory and that we need to be happy with what we have now and forget all of the needs that are not being met on this campus.”
According to the student newspaper, university officials have not yet said when the study lounge will open.
As previously reported by Campus Reform, other taxpayer-funded institutions have created study or resource rooms specifically for undocumented students, such as the Dream Success Center at California State University, Long Beach.
An OU official did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Campus Reform.