Monday afternoon, Santa Fe College held a ceremony to officially mark the opening of an LGBTQ+ Resource Center on the college’s Northwest Campus. The efforts to establish the center were led by students and college officials who worked together to envision the center as a place that is welcoming to all students. It has been a challenge opening a community center during COVID-19. As the risk of COVID-19 subsides, the college hopes the center will become a vibrant part of the student life for the LGBTQ+ community.
“This LGBTQ+ Resource Center expands on what the college already believes. That every student, faculty and staff member at the college is recognized, accepted and cherished as valuable members of the Santa Fe College family,” SF President Paul Broadie II, Ph.D. said. “I am incredibly proud that so much of the effort to make this center a reality came from our students. Their drive, their purpose and their awareness continues to make me Santa Fe Proud.”
Last year, students led a petition effort to have resources supporting the LGBTQ+ community on campus. More than 400 supporters signed the petition, which was then brought to college leadership. In addition to SF administration, all facets of shared governance at the college supported the process.
The National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climate survey conducted in Spring 2019 is the first time SF collected information on student’s LGBTQ+ identity. 15% of students responding to the survey indicated they identified as LGBTQ+. This is a population that is often hidden in equity and diversity efforts. The addition of an LGBTQ+ Resource Center on the Northwest Campus will give students the opportunity to connect with other LGBTQ+ students and to discover college resources in an environment where they feel safe about their LGBTQ+ identities.
In establishing the center, the college collaborated with the SF Counseling Center, the Tyree Library and Academic Advisement to provide resources for students. According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, that LGBTQ+ youth experience high levels of anxiety and stress and often feel threatened both emotionally and physically. LGBTQ+ youth who report having access to an affirming space report lower levels of anxiety and stress, including lower rates of mental health issues.
“We hope the LGBTQ+ Resource Center will contribute to our goal of creating an inclusive campus culture where all of our students can thrive and succeed in accomplishing their educational goals” said Cheryl Calhoun, Dean of Access & Inclusion.
As with all other facilities at the college, all college safety protocols will be in effect for visitors to the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. For additional information about the college’s efforts toward supporting the LGBTQ+ community and all issues of equity, visit the college’s Access and Inclusion page at sfcollege.edu/access-inclusion.
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