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The Daily Tar Heel

Group to Analyze LGBT Needs

Provost Robert Shelton will be the committee's point man until decisions are made about further action.

"(The resource center) has been formally constituted," Shelton said.

"I'm very optimistic to figure out what we should do."

Shelton said members were chosen for the planning committee after he received input from faculty and student leaders in active communication with him.

He will deliver the formal charge at the first committee meeting, which might take place the first week of October.

The charge outlines six areas Shelton wants the committee to address: student support services, academic issues and curriculum development, employee and faculty benefits, public service training, development objectives and institutional structure.

Melissa Exum, dean of students, has signed on as a faculty representative for the planning committee.

Exum said the first task the committee must address is determining its overall objective. "We need to make an assessment of the climate and find out what resources are available to the LGBT student population," Exum said, adding that it was important to see how classroom experiences affect LGBT students' lives.

"We also have to focus on what's going on in the classroom and how it affects student life on campus."

The committee will prepare a report to present to Shelton before December outlining tentative recommendations based on the six areas.

"Then we may form a more permanent, coordinating group with a center director and an advising committee," Shelton said.

Glenn Grossman, president of Carolina Alternative Meetings of Professional and Graduate Students, said the purpose of the committee is to evaluate LGBT student needs and to identify strategies for responding to those needs.

"I think that it is unhelpful to anticipate what the final recommendations of the committee will be without it even having met yet," Grossman said.

"I'm worried about resistance and controversy, even though these needs are excruciatingly important."

In the past, coordinators envisioned that the objective of the LGBT student resource center would be to foster leadership development and advocacy among both LGBT students and the general student population.

Other functions of the center could be advising and career networking.

Shelton said he is grateful people are willing to address this issue.

He said, "(The LGBT students) are very important, contributing members to the University, and we need to address their needs like we do those of any other group."

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