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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    LGBT Center could open on campus

    A focus group will be meeting today to discuss the possibility of setting up a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center at the UA, an idea that has the support of President Robert Shelton.

    Shelton has called on his LGBT advisory council to hold a focus group to determine the response from students, staff and faculty, said Sharon Overstreet, Associate Director for Academic Initiatives in Residential Education and chair of the advisory council.

    For about a year and a half, Overstreet said, the advisory council has been talking about this possibility of creating an LGBT center. Shelton requested that the group get feedback on the issue and present him with the results.

    Shelton established a similar LGBT Center at his previous institution, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The UA LGBT Center could follow suit and hire full-time employees to staff the center.

    But members of Pride Alliance, a student-run LGBT club, said the creation of an LGBT Center may result in the elimination of Price Alliance, which is suffering from a rash of budget cuts.

    Michael Brouse, co-director of Price Alliance, said he hopes Pride Alliance is allocated more funding.

    “”We’ve dealt with a lot of budget cuts recently and it’s kind of pointless to have two centers on campus,”” Brouse said.

    Another possibility could be for the two centers to merge, although Brouse said it is too early to tell what the outcomes will be.

    Today’s meeting, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the DRO conference room on the second floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Building, 1322 E. 1st St., will explore this question as well as others regarding the amount of students who could benefit from a center such as this, and they way in which the center could be staffed, Overstreet said.

    However, the advisory council is not planning on meeting with Shelton to present their findings until early February.

    “”Right now we are just in the beginning stages of getting info from the UA population,”” Overstreet said.

    Amanda Murphy, a pre-pharmacy freshman, said she thinks the LGBT Center sounds like a great idea, as long as it does not occupy space that could be better used.

    “”I think it would offer more diversity to campus,”” Murphy said. “”And it would allow members of the LGBT community to have a space where they could feel comfortable, and not like people are judging them.””

    Students, staff, or faculty who cannot attend the focus groups are welcome to provide their input via email to Brian Shimamoto, interim director of the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs and member of the council, at shims@email.arizona.edu. Another focus group meeting will be held next Friday.

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