In order to make campus more inclusive, Southern Utah University officials have started a dialogue with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students through campus forums and services.
President Scott L Wyatt initiated the discussion with the LGBTQ community on campus to discuss their concerns and experiences. Open forums with the University administration began in the spring of 2016.
“The goal of any university is to make people feel welcome, which we hope to do here,” said Wyatt. “The world won’t change unless we make the effort to get there.”
Jonathan Puente, the University’s executive director for access and inclusion, said these conversations demonstrate the dedication that the administration has for creating a safe and open campus for all students.
“I appreciate President Wyatt taking the time to meet with the students,” said Puente. “That accessibility to students shows what type of community he wants to build on campus.”
Puente said resources such as Allies on Campus are important for students to feel safer while attending classes. “When you create a safe and inclusive campus students feel like they are part of a community.”
Allies on Campus is a committee comprised of students, staff and faculty dedicated to creating safe spaces for the LGBTQ community at SUU. The committee holds educational trainings and workshops to better support the LGBTQ community.
Allies on Campus also sponsor a weekly Allies Community Group through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and sponsor awareness events with the Pride and Equality Club.
Talia Strong, director of the diversity and inclusion center, said the Inclusion Committee, made of faculty, staff and students, is continuing to develop an inclusion plan for the University with the goal of creating a safe environment for people of various religious, race and sexual orientation backgrounds.For more information, visit the Diversity and Inclusion Center, located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center, room 101, or call 435-586-7772.