Inclusive Excellence: LGBTQ Student Center Opens

Kent State University opened the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Center. Located on the second floor of the Kent Student Center, the LGBTQ Student Center serves as the academic and social hub for the university’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students.

On March 11, the university held a grand opening event for the new center that included tours of the center’s office and remarks from Kent State President Lester A. Lefton, Equality Ohio Executive Director Sue Doerfer and two Kent State students. Lefton told the audience that he believes strongly that all Kent State students are valuable and valued members of our richly diverse community and later stated in his weekly e-mail message to the Kent State community that the opening of the center is “one of many steps we will take in the coming months to achieve the goal of making our campuses welcoming for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.” The grand opening reception also included the presentation of the first Diversity Trailblazer Award to Professor Emeritus of English Delores L. Noll. The award was presented to Noll by Lefton and Kent State’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alfreda Brown. 

The new center houses Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies and offers varied services and resources to university students. The center will serve as a liaison between LGBTQ students and the administration and faculty. The office also will maintain a calendar of activities and events related to the LGBTQ community and coordinate programs with LGBTQ centers at other universities.

“The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center represents a unique collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences, the divisions of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Kent State,” Brown said. “Several students have been asking for this type of center, and to provide support from the collaborations of three major units is to be commended.

“The new center will serve as a gathering place, offering a way for students to feel more connected at the university,” she continued. “The center will raise awareness of LGBTQ communities and cultures, promote inclusion of and safe spaces for LGBTQ at Kent State and in the community, and promote dialogues about sexuality, gender and race.”

Kent State’s history of supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies goes back almost 40 years when Noll became the first professor to teach a gay and lesbian issues course at Kent State in 1972. She also is a founding adviser to the Kent Gay Liberation Front, which is now called PRIDE! Kent, one of the oldest gay rights student organizations in the country.

In 2001, Kent State began offering the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies minor, becoming the first university in Ohio to do so. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies minor is designed to allow students to explore sexuality and sexual minorities from a variety of perspectives.

The LGBTQ Student Center is located in Room 226M in the Kent Student Center. It is staffed by volunteers from Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies faculty and directed by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Co-Coordinators Molly Merryman from the Department of Justice Studies and Daniel Nadon from the School of Theatre and Dance.

For more information on the LGBTQ Student Center, call the center at 330-672-8008 or e-mail Merryman at mmerryma@kent.edu.

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Posted on Mar. 13, 2012
Updated May. 05, 2014

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