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Campus GLBT Organizations Work for Own Space

The coalition also hopes \to work with the chancellor to create a task force on gay and lesbian issues.

Staff Writer

The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is one step closer to getting a center on campus after forming a coalition made up of various campus groups.

While the formation of the coalition is a step in the right direction, various hurdles remain -- including organizing a meeting with administrators and submitting a request for meeting space.

The coalition, which meets about once a month, was formed at the beginning of the fall 2000 semester. They spent last semester organizing the intracoalition hierarchy and will begin tackling issues this semester -- the most significant of which is developing a GLBT center.

Gay and lesbian groups such as Carolina Alternative Meetings of Professional and Graduate Students, Queer Network for Change, School of Public Health Gay and Lesbian Caucus, the School of Social Work Gay and Lesbian Caucus, Lambda Law Student Association and Lambda magazine make up the coalition.

Glenn Grossman, a third-year graduate student in the School of Public Health, serves as an advisor to the chairmen of the coalition. "We're currently still outlining the goals and strategizing," Grossman said. "Our short-term goal is to work with Chancellor (James) Moeser to establish a task force on the issue."

Grossman said the task force will have two primary aims.

"We hope to identify and characterize the needs of the gay and lesbian community, and to create a five-year plan for responding to these needs," he said.

Grossman said he anticipates that while addressing the needs of the gay and lesbian community, the chancellor and his task force might find that the community would be best served by being awarded its own space for centralization.

Officials say that whether an organization receives housing is largely based on need.

A group first has to submit a request to either the space committee, facilities planning committee or student services, but there is a caveat.

"Any space use request has to be sponsored or supported by a department at the University," said Bruce Runberg, associate vice chancellor of facilities services.

After submitting a request, administrators determine how needy a particular organization is. "It just gets into the bureaucracy," Runberg said. "The space and facilities planning committees determine if they have any space available."

Student reaction to gay and lesbian efforts ranged from support to indifference.

Crystal Burnette, a freshman from Asheville, said she is in favor of generating a center. "They're no different than the other group of people (that have meeting places)," she said. "If they want to meet together they can. They definitely have the right to."

Sophomore journalism major Edmund Ball said a GLBT center would be a major step for the UNC gay and lesbian community.

"It would be a good way for gays and lesbians to come together as a community," he said. "They could reach out to people who are not completely informed of their lifestyle."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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