First candidate for GIESORC director speaks in forum

DAN DOUCET, Evergreen opinion editor

The WSU College of Education’s academic coordinator said he would focus on community development if he was made the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) director.

Along with working in the College of Education, Matthew Jeffries also worked as a residential education director in WSU Residence Life for three of the six years he has worked for the university. Jefferies’ previous experience with GIESORC includes his two years as the student life coordinator. While holding this position, he created plans for preliminary gender-inclusive housing, according to Jeffries’ resume.

At a search committee forum for the GIESORC director position on Thursday, Jeffries said his vision for the organization is focused on rethinking assessment, counseling, education, advocacy and community development.

He said the center needs to focus on both formal and informal assessment, and it needs to be able to use those assessments to improve programming.

“I want to do assessment that is thoughtful, and insightful, and intentional, purposeful,” Jeffries said.

The formal assessment would include looking at past reviews of the center to see where improvements can be made, he said. The informal assessment would include talking to students in groups and in one-on-one chats to see what the students want.

“I want to talk to students, I want to do some needs assessments,” Jeffries said.

The center would focus on counseling with students, be there to help them with projects and make sure everyone is on track to graduate, he said.

“The one-on-one, decompressing and reflecting, and processing through what’s happening in our world is also important,” Jeffries said.

He said he wants the center to use social media to help educate people about subjects like queer history. He also wants GIESORC members to help teach future medical professionals at the new medical school how to talk to queer patients when they are in rural communities.

Jeffries said he wishes to reach out to K-12 schools, locally and across the state, to help them with LGBTQ-related issues.

The center would work on building coalitions between different cultural centers in order to make students with intersecting identities feel welcome at GIESORC as well, Jeffries said.

He also said he would talk to students and focus on making the center what they want it to be.

“I’m really excited to meet the students and chat about what this will look like,” he said. “What their center looks like: Is it a resource center? Is it a student center? Is it a combo of both? And from what it sounds like, it’s going to be a combo of both.”

There will be two more forums today and on Monday to hear the other two candidates’ plans for this position.