Academic Senate gives report on status of LGBT community at MU

Among the slate of topics the University Academic Senate heard during its monthly meeting yesterday was a report on the status of the LGBT community, both students and faculty, at Marquette.

Chris Miller, vice president for Student Affairs, presented a condensed version of the report to the senate. The report, done in conjunction with Student Affairs, was compiled by Ronni Sanlo, a professor and director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center at University of California at Los Angeles.

“After the failed dean search, there were a lot of questions,” Miller said about why the report was done. “It took a look at where we were as an institution and in-campus initiatives to where we were in accommodating the needs of the LGBT community.”

The report surveyed the atmosphere and concerns of the LGBT community at Marquette. It was broken down into five categories: students, faculty, staff—especially Student Affairs, senior administration and resource centers.

Miller said individuals from MUSG, Diversity Advocates and faculty were included in the discussion and survey to gather information for the report.

Miller read from a quote in the report from an LGBT student that said, “there is no understanding of a queer student at Marquette,” and those students begin to feel marginalized in the Marquette community.

“Whenever we hear these kind of statements by any student, it is extremely problematic,” Miller said.

When presenting the material from the faculty component of the report, Miller said there was a sentiment among faculty that not enough was being done to educate the campus on LGBT issues.

“The report has a litany of suggestions and recommendations,” Miller said. “We believe to all be of the utmost importance, and many of them have already been implemented.”

Some of the initiatives include an LGBT Task Force, ALLY program and “Diversity Circles.”

The senate was also presented with the issue of creating policies regarding the issue of senate and sub-committee documents and reports being leaked in the public forum. Chair Christine Krueger, a professor in English, wrote a letter that was read at the meeting, laying out how despite the benefits of increased transparency of senate actions and discussions, documents not yet presented to or discussed by the senate were leaked.

The letter brought on a discussion as to if the senate should classify certain documents or create guidelines as to who has access to them.

“We have to find an intelligent way of managing our content,” Krueger said. “Any potential guidelines or policies though, should not be passed that would impede the communication with the Marquette community.”

Some stated their favor in having a rule limiting who saw what, but most found the issue to be a very complex issue.

William Thorn, professor in journalism, said that obvious problems arise when trying to formulate such policies.

“We don’t want to be cast as a secretly operating senate or sub-committee,” Thorn said. “The definition of the public forum is concerning because it is very hard to define.”