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Graduate Student Senate meets with LGBT Center Director

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GSS Logo. Photo courtesy of GSS.

Ohio University’s LGBT Center director met with Graduate Student Senate on Tuesday to discuss issues affecting Ohio U’s LGBT community and the center’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Director Micah McCarey told GSS he has full confidence in Ohio U’s long-term commitment to increasing diversity on campus.

McCarey, who has been at Ohio U for 16 years, said he was enthusiastic to see Jenny Hall-Jones appointed to interim vice president for student affairs. Outgoing Vice President Jason Pina announced he plans to leave in October.

McCarey said it was Hall-Jones who inspired him 10 years ago to pursue an interest in diversity and inclusion.

“I’ve observed a lot of change when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” McCarey said. “I feel really energized by the increased care I perceive.”

McCarey previously served as the assistant director for East Green and Diversity Initiatives, as well as a resident director. He was named interim director in Dec. 2019, according to a press release.

He replaced delfin bautista, who was placed on administrative leave in 2019 after a financial audit found mismanagement within the center, according to The Athens NEWS

McCarey said the LGBT Center, located inside Baker Center, has shifted focus to include “radical inclusivity.”

According to a slide presented during the meeting, radical inclusivity means “welcoming all voices that are supportive of our center’s mission.”

This philosophy is part of a larger initiative at the center to build a stronger LGBT and Ohio U community, McCarey said. He said he had heard feedback that the LGBT Center wasn’t welcoming enough to everyone, especially people who did not feel “queer enough.”

The center is focusing on building respectful intent and interactions, according to McCarey

“We wanted to disrupt the idea you had to be from a specific constituent group,” he said.

McCarey said even though the ideas are new, he has already seen a positive change, adding he observed an increase in non-LGBT allies and noticed more people casually stopping in before the pandemic.

“It’s a spirit of inclusion — I think the team has embedded that into their bobcat spirit,” McCarey said.

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