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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    LGBT center shouldn’t draw from UA funds

    The university setting is something of a dream for those who see diversity as an actual goal rather than a talking point. Students are generally open-minded, administrators are generally socially conscious and the university itself is generally fertile ground for new and innovative attempts at achieving social justice.

    All of this would seem to suggest that President Robert Shelton’s proposal to build a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender center at the UA is a generally worthy aim. But the idea is where the endorsement ends.

    Last week, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that Shelton has consulted an advisory council in an effort to gauge interest in an LGBT center. Among other reasons, Shelton explained his support for such a center as a continuation of his efforts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also established an LGBT center.

    Certainly, the desire for a fully staffed resource center for LGBT students is a noble objective, but how necessary is it right now. Shelton has already been forced to make $10.3 million in budget cuts, and until the UA can be certain that the state Legislature intends to increase our appropriations, the notion of bankrolling an LGBT center with university funds seems misguided at best and reckless at worst.

    Furthermore, the project is plagued with logistical concerns that have yet to be addressed. Pride Alliance, a student-run LGBT club, might be forced to close or merge with the new LGBT center due to a series of budget cuts.

    Granted, the planning for the LGBT center is in a germinal stage; little is known about either the level of student interest or the prospective sources of funding. But it is precisely at this stage that Shelton (and the LGBT student community) should consider alternative sources of funding.

    Shelton and LGBT students should consider, for instance, the possibility of acquiring private grants or donations to at least partially fund the LGBT center.

    In an era in which companies are practically stumbling over one another attempting to prove their socially conscious bona fides, the notion of a privately funded LGBT center is neither infeasible nor impossible; indeed, it would be a powerful and symbolic advance for gay rights.

    None of this is to say that the LGBT center is pure folly. But if the choice is between a resource center and, say, class availability, it’s clear that a new LGBT center doesn’t make the grade.

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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