Resolution demands 'permanent space' for LGBTQ students

Clemson University’s student government has responded to pleas from student group leaders by passing a resolution calling for a “permanent space” for the “LGBTQ+ community” on campus.

The resolution laments that “there is currently no set location for this community to gather” and that “there are currently only two student organizations that support this portion of the student body,” asserting that “obtaining this space would provide an inclusive environment to welcome students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

[RELATED: LGBTQ+ students demand special treatment from Clemson]

The primary justification offered for the new center is Clemson’s low Campus Pride Index (CPI) score, a metric that purports to rate colleges on LGBTQ campus life.

“Clemson University has the lowest Campus Pride Index (CPI) score of all reporting universities in both the ‘Top 25 Public Universities’ and the Atlantic Coast Conference, with a 1.5 out of 5 star rating,” the resolution states, noting that “part of increasing the CPI score is contingent upon the existence of an ‘LGBT concerns office or LGBT resource center.’”

It clarifies that “this space would not be exclusive to LGBTQIA+ students,” explaining that it “would be available for use by all students, including, but not limited to, allies and those desiring to learn further about the community.”

[RELATED: Student gov to pursue mandatory LGBT ‘ally training’ for faculty]

Just a few weeks before the vote, the leaders of the Clemson University Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) and Clemson Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) chapters wrote an op-ed for The Tiger demanding just such a “permanent space” on campus, complaining that the administration has treated LGBTQ students as “simply another ‘student group.’”

CU SAGA, whose members attended the CUSG Senate meeting in force, boasted in a Facebook post after the meeting that “the resolution passed unanimously,” but one CUSG Senator, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform that the apparent concord only came about because opponents of the resolution felt intimidated into silence.

“In my opinion, a campus with such limited space is crazy to give our room to any organizations that won’t do anything to benefit or affect the students of Clemson’s learning experience,” the senator said.

Noting that there are many other student organizations “pleading for new/more space here on campus,” they warned that “if we give all the minority communities a so-called ‘safe-space,’ we are just dividing up the Clemson Family even more.”

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The senator also questioned the measure’s stated purpose of boosting Clemson’s CPI score, asking, “Since when has one ranking system dictated what we do here at Clemson?”

Campus Reform requested information on the school’s response to the resolution from Director of Media Relations Robin Denny, who stated only that “no location has been identified for use as a community space for our LGBTQIA+ students at this time.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertMGunter