A few newly vacated spaces at Columbia University have been entirely dedicated to LGBT and minority students.
The Columbia College Student Council and Engineering Student Council unanimously passed a proposal this January to allocate what was the undergraduate package center to be a space where only certain minority students can go, according to the Columbia Spectator.
The progressive proposal reportedly called for “more institutional support, staff, resources, funding, and space for LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and those who hold combinations of these identities.” Under this new development, students will only be able to reserve rooms at the Lerner building so long as they are minorities or LGBTQ students.
The committee’s co-chair, Sean Ryan, said:
“In this particular case, initiative really took advantage of a really fantastic opportunity to meet the needs of a community that is at a higher risk for mental health and wellness issues than their peers.”
According to an anonymous Columbia student:
“There are many spaces on campus, especially those that are dominated by straight males, that leave me tense. An LGBTQ+ Center would offer me yet another space where I could feel like I am safe to simply exist and be me.”
Prior to this development, Columbia University was the only Ivy League school to not have a dedicated space for LGBT students. According to Brennan Mendez, class of 2017 vice president, this made Columbia University “behind the times.”
Mendez also stated:
“This system accounts for the specificity of particular spaces to meet the needs of particular student groups, allows to be utilized to its maximum potential, and recognizes the invaluable role that identity-based student groups play in supporting marginalized segments of the student body.”