Campus-based LGBT resources nonexistent
University of Louisiana at Lafayette is home of the Ragin’ Cajuns. You know, the Cajuns who are . . . Ragin’. Ragin’ football fans. Ragin’ Catholics. Ragin’ bike riders. But in this particular article, I’d like to speak on behalf of the Cajuns who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. If you’re unfamiliar with the alphabet soup I just mentioned, allow me to clarify:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual. The plus sign was added to be inclusive to any other sexual or gender identification.
Don’t worry, it isn’t an official club (even though it should be).
So, UL Lafayette: home of the brave; land of the queer. We have student-run organizations like GLASS (Giving Love, Acceptance, Safety and Support), Gamma Rho Lambda (the LGBTQ+ sorority on campus), and even an office designed specifically for making UL Lafayette a more diverse and safe place for people of all genders, sexualities, races, ethnicities and backgrounds. But the real question is, are there serious resources on campus and how do we go about getting our hands on such?
The Office for Campus Diversity’s Director of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement, Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, Ph.D., has always promptly responded to my emails regarding personal endeavors. I’ve heard many positive things about her and her work on campus. DeAnn Kalich, Ph.D., the sociology department head, is also a brave ambassador for the LGBTQIA+ students. She is the faculty sponsor for GLASS and teaches a sociology class called “Sex and Sexualities.” Her course is extremely insightful and interesting; however, it isn’t possible for every student to take it.
It isn’t possible for only Mallery and Kalich to physically handle the students in need of advising. Not only that, but it isn’t their job to provide insight to students in need.
I’ve heard several testimonials for the counseling center on campus, which is free for students; however, the testimonials are not consistent. For some, I’ve heard positive remarks. I’ve heard that the counselors there truly care about their jobs, whereas other counselors simply don’t. Going to the counseling center is a gamble, and while I could say it isn’t fair, at the end of the day, it’s life.
Our university includes a diverse campus. We have people of all backgrounds, sexualities and cultures here with a common goal: higher education. There are professors who actually care and other faculty members who strive to serve the greater good, but at the end of the day, there are also faculty members who could care less about our mental and emotional health.
It isn’t their job.
So, to summarize this entire article: Yes, there are resources on campus for students of the LGBTQIA+ community. Now, are there enough resources? No, there are not enough serious resources for students in dire need of help. We have the few organizations, but the thing about it is the organizations are created for students … by students.
The LGBTQIA+ community has no university support, so it would be reassuring to see more support for our community. I’m not asking for a pride festival — even though one is advertised on a power point with the orientation staff (or it was at one point) — but to have more dependable resources would be a change that could really benefit the university in its entirety.