Senior media and communications major Michael Busza announced in front of an assembly of Temple Student Government members, students and faculty on April 7 his proposal to increase focus on gay rights and to create an LGBTQ resource center on Main Campus.
Busza said he has been working for more than a year to see LGBTQ students’ rights be fully recognized with the introduction of a resource center.
To address some of the concerns that Busza and other students at the university have raised on the topic of diversity, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives and members of the administration created a multicultural committee to review the university’s resources.
“The multicultural committee is looking at how we support all of our student populations,” Ives said.
In 2006, the Office of Multicultural Affairs was opened in Mitten Hall to address similar issues of diversity among students and faculty, but staff responsible for student programming were eliminated in 2009, Ives said.
Ives said the administrative multicultural committee had a positive review of Busza’s proposal and will continue to look into the feasibility of such a project as the university begins to undertake the Visualize Temple Initiative.
“This committee recognizes that there is still a ton work to be done,” Busza said. “They’re even currently testing a website to be a clearinghouse of information for all diversity resources on campus – not just [LGBTQ] stuff.”
Busza, an openly gay activist for the LGBTQ community, said it was important for him to see LGBTQ rights receive their deserved attention at Temple before his graduation in May.
Last month he established a student “pride task force” to push the proposal for the LGBTQ resource center and continued support of equal rights for all students on campus. Since establishing the task force, Busza said that his proposal has received support from a number of groups, including the Queer Student Union, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the Residence Hall Association.
His appeal at the general assembly meeting, however, was to garner further support from other organizations on campus in hopes of bringing the efforts of the Administrative Multicultural Committee to the attention of the student body.
“I’m here today to ask you as representatives of the student orgs to go back to your e-boards, to go back to your general assemblies and see if your org would also be proud to back this proposal,” Busza said during his address to students at last night’s meeting.
“There [are] no strings attached here,” he said. “All I’m asking is for your organization to lend its name to the back of this proposal saying that [LGBTQ] issues deserve to be discussed on this campus.”
Busza’s task force stated that the reasons for a resource include the need for a place for students and faculty members to feel comfortable addressing the issues that are unique to the LGBTQ community. The proposal cites how issues like bullying and hate crimes are among the top concerns of the LGBTQ community.
“By supporting its [LGBTQ] population in the ongoing struggle for equality, Temple University validates the rights of all community members,” Busza said in the proposal. “The establishment of a professionally-staffed [LGBTQ] resource center represents the university’s understanding of the gay rights movement as the millennial generation’s continuation of the fight for civil rights.”
Busza and the pride task force have also established a Twitter account called @TUGetLoud, for students who are interested in their pursuit for the resource center to promote LGBTQ rights.
While Busza said he understands that a fully functional resource center cannot be built overnight, Busza said that with more attention and support than the LGBTQ community at Temple has seen in past years, he hopes that students and faculty will see a difference in the handling of equal rights issues on Main Campus.
Alexa Bricker and John Moritz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article that appeared online misstated that Dean of Students Stephanie Ives had accepted Busza’s proposal for a LGBTQ resource center. Ives and the administrative multicultural committee are still reviewing the proposal.