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Letter: SOS will best benefit LGBTQA community

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To the editor,

In the heat of campaign season, we’ve all had a chance to look at the platforms of each ticket and analyze what each of these tickets brings to representing the student body. As a gay member of the Ohio University community, it’s clear to me that Serving Our Students (SOS) has my best interests at heart and plans to implement programs to benefit the whole of the LGBTQA community.

One of the key platform points that will benefit the LGBTQA community from the SOS platform is the plan to incentivize Diversity, Inclusion and Safety workshops. In a perfect world, the student body at-large would willingly attend Safe Zone trainings, Bystander Intervention Trainings, ALICE trainings and other workshops which would promote professional and personal development in these areas, but this is simply not the case.

SOS’ plan to implement a textbook scholarship upon completion of a number of these workshops as well as a certificate upon graduation will encourage the student body to participate in and retain the information from these workshops. This makes our campus more open and willing to have important conversations regarding sexual orientation and gender identity; makes our students more marketable to future employers; and makes sure our students are having money put back into their pockets.

Another piece from the SOS platform which has direct benefits to the LGBTQA community is the plan to reach out to existing student organizations to appoint the Senators that sit on the LGBTQA commission as well as the other Diversity Affairs commissions. As it stands, these Senators are appointed by the executives. This sets a dangerous precedent of allowing the executives to appoint people to these commissions who are not a part of and have no stake in these communities. By reaching out to these organizations, you eliminate these risks and allow for increased representation of students spanning all sexual orientations and gender identities.

SOS also plans to bring back programming weeks to Student Senate. The direct benefit to the LGBTQA community from this is the return of a well-advertised and large-scale Pride week. This event was very important to LGBTQA visibility on our campus and increased the sense of inclusion and belonging for members of the community at our university.

While the points of the SOS platform which focus on the needs of the LGBTQA community are the primary reason our community should vote SOS this year, it should also be noted that members of the SOS ticket have been strong advocates for us in Student Senate. Many of them spoke heavily in favor of the Preferred Name Policy, which allows trans-identified students to use the names with which they identify without legally changing their names. They’ve looked at the concerns of incoming LGBTQA students in regard to roommates and have tried to make sure that each of these students is in a safe and comfortable living environment when they come to Ohio University.

After looking critically at each of the platforms of the tickets vying for my vote, it’s clear that SOS is the ticket that will have the biggest positive impact on the LGBTQA community. I hope that the rest of the LGBTQA community will join me in voting for the ticket that will truly Serve Our Students.

Jordan Kelley

Kelley is a sophomore studying integrated language arts major.

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One Comment

  1. Daniel Warner

    April 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Monetary incentives for diversity and inclusion training is not beneficial for the groups which they are intended to serve. I will speak from my experience as a gay man. The idea of people being paid to go through safezone training is terrifying.
    When I first read the idea of rewarding those who go though training, I thought it was a good idea to create those conversations. Then, when I thought of those who have already been through safezone training, I began to worry that people will exploit this training and use it only for the monetary gain.
    To best explain my worries, I think of when I went to talk to an acquaintance who was safezone trained and wore that proof-of-training pin with pride. I felt safe disclosing to them because I knew the training they went through was voluntary; they spent those few hours in a workshop because they wanted to be more prepared when discussing LGBT issues.
    Then, I imagine going to another person who wears that same pin, but they only went to the training for the money. The outcome of my interaction with this person will be significantly less helpful.
    It is possible that the person I just made up will not actually exist, but I doubt it. I know that people will expose themselves to humanity lectures for reasons other than to improve their knowledge on diversity and inclusion. In the multiple Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies classes I’ve been part of, it is almost guaranteed that some students will sit in the back of the class and maintain apathy to the topics being discussed. These students joined the class because their degree required it and not to improve themselves as sensitive people. The same can happen with monetary incentive for diversity and inclusion training.
    Seeing a safezone card or pin means that person cares about LGBT people and the issues they specifically face. If this training is monetized, then those cards are no longer a guarantee of safety.

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