Home Campus VP of Diversity and Inclusion meets with Student Senate to discuss new LGBT Center director

VP of Diversity and Inclusion meets with Student Senate to discuss new LGBT Center director

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Gigi Secuban met with Student Senate to get feedback for LGBT Center director search.

The Vice President of Diversity and Advancement met with Student Senate on Wednesday to conduct a focus group for the hiring of a future LGBT Center director.

Gigi Secuban, VP of Diversity and Advancement, wanted to get various student organizations’ feedback in the hiring search for the replacement of former LGBT Director delfin bautista,* who was fired in January.

Secuban asked a variety of questions, including what the strengths and weaknesses of the LGBT Center were. Several senators cited delfin’s leadership style as a strength of the center.

Many senators also listed the LGBT Center’s community outreach as a strength. Lillian Mattimoe, senator at large, recalled her experience as a learning community leader bringing an LGBT Center representative to talk to her class.

“It was a great experience for my students to be able to get the inner workings of the LGBT Center and fully understand what it can offer, even if they aren’t identifying (as LGBT), and how they can support their classmates,” Mattimoe said.

Several senators and members of the student body expressed interest in seeing the LGBT Center expand its physical location, citing the relatively small space of the current LGBT Center, located on the third floor of Baker Center.

Beth Amoriya, an Athens resident and member of Showing Up for Racial Justice, said she does not think a replacement will ever hold the same leadership ability that delfin had.

“The programming delfin and their staff did was exceptional,” Amoriya said. “I don’t know if you can find someone who can lead that program in the way that delfin led it.”

Destinee Jaram, a student who spoke up during the speakout, read a list of demands before Student Senate, calling for the removal of Secuban from her position, a better apology for the sacking of bautista, and transparency when firing marginalized people.

Jaram also opposed the role of Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center, in the search committee for delfin’s replacement.

“Dr. Murray has an unfortunate history in regards to the LGBT Center, the student body, and students of color, and we do not feel it is of interest to include her in the search,” the list of demands read.

Athens City Planner Paul Logue also addressed Student Senate to highlight the new comprehensive city plan.

The plan, which Logue said is the first of its kind in Athens, details the city of Athens’ plan through 2040. Logue and his staff polled residents and students alike last year to garner input from the community.

Logue discussed the development and improvement of infrastructure throughout the city, namely the planned Richland Avenue tunnel, and an overhaul of the intersection of State Street and Stimson Avenue.

Logue also discussed issues pertaining to Ohio U students such as campus safety, rent, and inclusivity. Logue said the plan focuses on lighting issues around Athens, something he said was most frequently mentioned as a safety concern in the questionnaires.

Logue also highlighted the inclusivity portion of the plan. He said he wants to encourage businesses that cater to minority communities in Athens.

He also said he wants to see the Athens community, which is overwhelmingly white, to become an inclusive community for people of all backgrounds.

“When you subtract students from the equation, Athens is a place that looks a lot like me: a white guy from the Midwest, or a white woman from the Midwest,” Logue said.

Student Senate also passed several budget approvals and appointed several senators to committees. Chief Justice Walter Milhoan announced the release of the Student Senate elections handbook.

*delfin bautista uses they/them pronouns and does not capitalize their name

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