Temple announced one of its first responses to the Gender and Sexuality Climate Assessment’s results last week when it launched a website filled with resources for the LGBT community.
The website, housed on the Executive Office of the President’s page called “Diversity and Inclusion: Community Perspective,” went live on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and contains numerous resources on and off of Main Campus for the LGBT community.
Vice President and Chief of Staff William Bergman said that the main focus of the website is to act as a central repository for information for people looking for resources on and off Main Campus.
“What we hope is that this resource list helps people, that’s first and foremost,” said Bergman, who also chaired the Gender and Sexuality Climate Task Force that commissioned the survey. “[The website] helps people find services they need, find people that they think they can talk to and really any resource that would help them adjust to university life, adjust to the city.”
The survey was administered in Spring 2011 and its results were made public in May. The results were generally positive for Temple, as 81 percent of its respondents — which included undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff — answered that they felt “very comfortable” or “comfortable” with the overall climate at Temple.
However, 13 percent of the survey’s respondents reported experiencing discriminatory action, harassment or offensive behavior at Temple due to their gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or other factors. Also, the task force’s forward to the survey results “noted the lack of a central source of information on what support was available on campus and throughout Philadelphia to LGBTQ students, staff and faculty.”
The website was in response to this apparent need for a central source of information. Assistant Vice President Anne Nadol said one of the main goals of the website was to provide a resource list that encompassed the entire city, not just Temple.
“One of the great things about being in Philadelphia is that there are so many resources that are already out there in the city that people can just as easily tap as they would tap a resource on campus,” Nadol, a member of the task force, said. “So, we wanted to put that out there especially for people who are new to Philadelphia and haven’t ventured out and know what’s out there.”
Nadol added that the launching of the website was done a few weeks into the semester so it wasn’t “lost in the shuffle” of everything going on during the beginning of the semester.
“We wanted to give a little bit of distance between the start of school and the publication of the website so that people would have a chance to see more about it and focus on it because it could have just got lost in the shuffle of everything else that was going on,” Nadol said. “Between the new IDs and everything else we were sending information out about, we just didn’t want it to get lost in all of that.”
The website will be a work in progress and Nadol said that people can contact the Executive Office of the President in order to propose new links to add to the website, something that Bergman encouraged.
“We welcome that,” Bergman said. “This will be a work in progress.”
While Dylan Morpurgo, financial director of Queer Student Union, said although the website “isn’t super fancy or super in depth,” he praised it because it provides resources that some people might not know are out there. He added that it’s a symbol for prospective students.
“When they see that, they’re going to know that Temple’s an accepting place where they can feel safe in whatever setting they’re in,” Morpurgo said.
Sean Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.
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