Salt Lake Community College is furthering its support for LGBTQ+ students.
The Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center, which opens this fall semester, will focus specifically on helping the LGBTQ+ community. Kathryn Coquemont, the assistant vice president for student development at SLCC, says the new center will help students who are struggling with challenges or stigmas that may prevent them from being successful with their higher education.
“We aim to have the GSSRC support our overall efforts regarding all students having a sense of belonging … as well as supporting the success, retention, and graduation of the students from the LGBTQ+ community and women,” Coquemont says.
Coquemont outlines the types of resources students can expect from the center, including educational programs showing solidarity and support for the LGBTQ+ community, training, mentorship and outreach efforts to students who identify as LGBTQ+. Students will also benefit from a dedicated coordinator who will assist them in navigating college and creating opportunities for them to be involved in leadership development opportunities.
Stephanie Fletcher, an SLCC English major, says she is excited SLCC is acknowledging a beautiful group of people they have in their diverse student base and hopes the school does more advertising.
“Having a place for LGBTQ+ kiddos to have a safe space, make a new friend, get more information on their resources and even just going to a place where they don’t have to be alone for five minutes is wonderful,” Fletcher says.
As far as what prompted this opening and what challenges the center will try to help students tackle, Richard Diaz, the interim director of diversity and multicultural affairs at SLCC, cites the struggle some LGBTQ+ students are facing, like needing a safe space to support them in understanding who they are.
“Nationally, LGBTQ+ students also report facing harassment and discrimination in colleges and in their communities, through cyber or physical bullying, or in employment, housing, and legal disparities,” Diaz says.
Diaz further describes the additional difficulties women may deal with and why it is so important to address these issues now.
“Women often have to balance multiple and competing family roles and expectations that may interfere with their college studies. Nationally, women also report having lower levels of self-confidence, and insufficient family and social support systems in place to help them persist through higher education,” Diaz says.
Studies that focus on LGBTQ+ students have shown that GPAs positively correlated with teacher support, peer support and a sense of belonging in a school environment. The GSSRC is another positive step in the right direction for furthering student development and representation.
The GSSRC will be located in room 1-140 at the South City Campus. Visit the LGBTQ+ resources portal to find out more about the resources SLCC currently offers to LGBTQ+ students.