Columbia College students demand LGBTQ, POC resource centers

A student council at Columbia University unanimously approved a resolution calling for spaces on campus reserved exclusively for LGBTQ and minority students.

In fact, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by Campus Reform, the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), which represents one of Columbia’s many undergraduate colleges, explicitly calls for a segregated room for “more institutional support, staff, resources, funding, and space for LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and those who hold combinations of these identities."

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The proposal calls for several accommodations in the reserved space, including a “mounted television,” “resources that could accommodate computers,” “bookshelves,” and more.

Meanwhile, the resolution demands a similar space for LGBT students, noting that “Columbia’s LGBTQ+ communities are relatively underserved compared to those our peers institutions,” making Columbia “one of two Ivy League institutions without an official LGBTQ+ student center.”

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To further accommodate LGBTQ students at Columbia, the resolution asks for the establishment of several paid positions within the center, including a full-time director, part-time graduate student workers, and possibly some undergraduate student workers.

The two centers, one for LGBTQ students and the other for students of color, would be located in the prestigious institution’s Lerner Hall, which hardly has any available room for social spaces to begin with, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator.

Nonetheless, the CCSC is insisting on the establishment of two new segregated spaces, including in its resolution the personal testimonies of students who would benefit from such a practice.

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“There are many spaces on campus, especially those that are dominated by straight males, that leave me tense,” said one freshman. “An LGBTQ+ Center would offer me yet another space where I could feel like I am safe to simply exist and be me.”

“Columbia boasts about having a diverse student body, but the Columbia students who create this diversity are not properly cared for,” lamented another student.

In total, the proposal includes testimonies from 13 other Columbia students, 11 of whom are freshmen, expressing support for the demands.

Campus Reform reached out to the author of the resolution, Brennon Mendez, for comment on the matter, but he did not respond in time for publication. A spokesperson for the school declined to comment on the resolution.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen