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Showing Pride in All Students

A parade float with SUNY Pride banner and people waving rainbow flags on it.

June of every year is a great time to remind our students, faculty, staff, and communities of the commitment to access for all and a concentration on diversity at SUNY. June is Pride Month, a month in which the nation honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and celebrates our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors. Communities all across the nation recognize the impact that the LGBTQI+ community has had on all aspects of our lives.

We know our LGBTQI+ students are deeply invested in their college experiences. SUNY is committed to equality and access for all, as our mission statement directly vows to provide “educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access, fully representative of all segments of the population.” We can see these commitments grow with more and more programs and efforts coming forward to bring resources to more members of the student population at each of our 64 colleges and universities that help them achieve their academic and social goals at college.

With that, let’s take a look into some of the latest developments at SUNY that focus on LGBTQ+ support and success.

NYC Pride March

Once again, SUNY will be participating in the NYC Pride March on June 24. The NYC Pride March is one of the largest such events in the world, regularly drawing tens of thousands of participants and millions of spectators along New York City streets and sidewalks. Hundreds of SUNY students, faculty, and staff will participate in the march. This year, in addition to the march, SUNY will also have a space at PrideFest at University Place between Washington Square and 13th Street. Here attendees will have a chance to learn about opportunities and equality in New York higher education throughout the day.

SPECTRUM Conference

SUNY will host the first SPECTRUM Conference, the nation’s largest higher education conference devoted to preventing and responding to sexual and interpersonal violence against members of the LGBTQI+ community. The conference, Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention Education, Capacity Building, and Training in Response for Underserved Sexual and Gender Minorities, will take place June 18-21 at the Albany Capital Center. At the event, attendees will hear from national-level keynote and concurrent speakers, panelists, and have the opportunity to network with colleagues. As leaders in the efforts to eliminate sexual and interpersonal violence at college, SUNY is proud to extend these efforts with a focus on our LGBTQI+ students and staff too.

And thanks to a generous grant from the SUNY Office of General Counsel, student registration costs are reduced by 20% to $100, so register today!

Lavender Graduation

Many of our SUNY schools host a special celebration that recognizes students of the LGBTQI+ community and their hard work. These Lavender Graduations are opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and family and friends to celebrate the accomplishments of our LGBTQI+ graduates, and for graduates to recognize all those who have helped them achieve their goals through college. With the recently completed commencement season, a number of schools held these events with great success.

LGBTQ* Center

Stony Brook University officially opened its LGBTQ* Center this past March. It will provide an open workspace for students, areas for private conversation, all-gender restrooms, and spaces and technologies that support collaborative learning.

Said best by Stony Brook’s president Samuel L. Stanley Jr., “At Stony Brook we aspire to treat all people with dignity and respect as we embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. We are constantly working to ensure that Stony Brook is accepting and respectful of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, talents and abilities.”

The asterisk in the LGBTQ* Center’s title is important. It serves to make space for other identities as well as a reminder of the diverse ways identity is expressed within the LGBTQ* communities.

Campus Training Programs

Binghamton University recently offered transgender/gender nonconforming provider training in May. The event provided attendees with information about various aspects of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary lives, such as raising gender non-conforming children, the use of hormone therapy, and policies in healthcare that affect transgender/gender non-conforming individuals.

This past semester, Westchester Community College hosted a number of Vikings Ally Safe Zone Training sessions, which offers a highly interactive learning experience about being an ally within and to those who identify as LGBTQI+.

On-Campus Personnel

Many of our campuses have added or are working to add full-time positions to help coordinate LGBTQI+ programs and services. In 2015, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy passed by the Board of Trustees stood as “a multi-pronged approach to addressing diversity and assuring inclusive excellence.” In this policy, all campuses were to appoint a chief diversity officer (“CDO”) that would elevate inclusiveness and implement best practices related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

SUNY Geneseo recently named its first diversity coordinator in robbie routenberg (all lowercase letters used in the name). In this position, robbie will provide resources to meet the needs of LGBTQI+ students through the assessment of programs, campus climate, available resources, and through the development of new initiatives and opportunities for these students.

 

These examples are just some of the many ways SUNY strives to ensure that all of our students receive the services they need and feel at home on our campuses. All of our campuses will continue their efforts to provide support to our LGBTQI+ students, well beyond Pride Month.

    Written by Julie Maio

    Julie is a Communications Assistant at SUNY System Administration.

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