No UC funds for Queer Center staffer

The following is Dr. Mitchel Livingston’s, University of Cincinnati’s vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer, e-mail statement regarding the funding of a full-time staff person for UC’s newly-opened LGBTQ Center.

“The University of Cincinnati is committed to diversity and continues to make it a more integral part of the university experience.  Recent modifications to the university mission statement and the non-discrimination policy, in part, speak to this commitment.

“I have consulted with the chair of the Diversity Council, Dean Louis D. Bilionis, on this matter.  Current efforts to secure ‘permanent’ space for LGBTQ students have been successful.  Room 671 in the Steger Student Life Center has been designated for this purpose.  However, the dire budget situation has resulted in plans to cut several employees.  Thus, we are not in a position, at this time, to provide funds for a full-time LGBTQ staff person.  In the interim, current funds that support the part-time LGBTQ coordinator position have been protected to ensure that current levels of service continue to be provided.”

First of all what changes to the university mission statement is he referencing? I haven’t seen any. And the non-discrimination policy was changed to include gender identity and expression after about two years of going around and around with him on this. The students worked very hard to get this included and now he’s almost taking credit for it? He makes it seem like UC is so wise when it comes to diversity that they changed things in the name of diversity and inclusion all on their own, when in fact it happened because a few students just wouldn’t shut up about it, and it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

And “permanent space”? Is he trying to mock us? When given the closet (literally the former storage closet of UC Wellness Center) located in Steger 681 as the LGBTQ Center,  we were promised that it was a temporary space. In fact the administration was reluctant to give it to us in the first place because of how inadequate the space was.

Then Livingston cites Steger 671 as the permanent LGBTQ space. Room 671 is a huge Student Activities and Leadership Development office, not the current space. When Livingston was asked about this portion of the e-mail, he said it was a typo, and that the current LGBT space in Steger 681 is the permanent space. 

The amount of typos this movement has seen is ridiculous. Earlier this year a Diversity Council document came out saying that they had funded a full-time staff person for the LGBTQ Center and were actively seeking someone to fill it. Turns out that was a typo too. That’s one hell of a typo. 

The student movement for this full-time staff person has been tedious and tiring. We have been mislead, mistreated and flat out lied to. And the amount of “typos” that the administration has released is embarrassing. And not only that, but it is a slap in the face. If the administration can’t even take the time to proof read their work or check their facts before communicating with us, they are telling us that we are just not worth their time. 

Well, they had better make time for us: We are paying customers after all. Many people forget that higher education is still a business, and after all my years of retail experience I have learned one thing: The customer is always right.

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4 thoughts on “No UC funds for Queer Center staffer

  1. Disappointed alumna checking in…

    The higher ed admin professional in me understands where he is coming from with regard to budget constraints. I really do– everywhere across the country, positions are being cut, hiring freezes are going into effect, and especially jobs like LGBT Center directors are scarily near the chopping block because they are not considered essential, and they’re viewed as serving only a small population.

    The alumna in me is angry because there are many things I carry shame for when it comes to my alma mater, UC. (Full disclosure– I got my bachelor’s at UC and my masters at OU in Athens.) I was long ashamed about Bob Huggins and his team’s various unlawful behaviors and thuggery, then I was embarrassed at the way people slandered Dr. Zimpher’s name when she had the ovaries to stand up to Huggins and demand higher standards of ethical behavior within the athletic program at UC. I was embarrassed that while working at UC, I had health care coverage, but my partner did not– domestic partnership was not available, and my partner, an adjunct prof @ UC didn’t get health care.

    The place where I remain frustrated, both as a professional in higher ed and as an alum of UC is that much smaller institutions with just as many budget problems made a commitment to the LGBT students YEARS ago and have kept that commitment, recognizing in many ways that supporting LGBT people as students can lead to happier LGBT alumni. I also wish that Dr. L and others on the Diversity Council would recognize that a full-time professional working with and for the LGBT community on campus would serve a variety of students who may not feel safe in other “diversity” oriented student spaces– LGBT people of color historically have not been welcome in some POC spaces on campus, and the issues of LGBT commuter students, LGBT first generation & low income students differ from the issues of straight students in the same demographic areas. Last but not least, one of the reasons to employ a full-time LGBT Affairs person and to fund the programmatic efforts of that person’s work is the potential for educating the straight folks on campus who need to learn more about the lives, history, and experiences of LGBT people. Just as the AACRC serves the needs of POC, it also serves the entire campus community by educating people on multiple levels. LGBT Programs should do the same, and be held to a similar standard.

    But if all they will give you, the other students, the staff, faculty, and alumni is a closet in Steger, then I suppose they don’t expect to get anything back from us.


  2. Pingback: Chicago Chiropractor Blog » No UC funding for Queer bCenter/b staff « Stuff Queer People Need To Know

  3. Pingback: Happy 1st blogoversary to SQPNTK! « Stuff Queer People Need To Know

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