LGBTQ+ affinity group holds first meeting

Faculty, staff receive $1,200 of funding from president’s commission



Matthew Jeffries, director of the gender identity/expression and sexual identity resource center at WSU, speaking at the first inaugural LGBTQ+ faculty/staff association meeting on Oct. 18 in the CUB.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

The LGBTQ+ faculty and staff affinity group discussed ways to use $1,200 from the President’s Commission for Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation (GIESO) to create a communal space during its inaugural meeting on Friday. 

Amber Graham, conduct hearing officer in the Center for Community Standards, said GIESO is an extension of the president’s office that identifies initiatives and projects they can use to ensure they are serving the LGBTQ+ community.

Matthew Jeffries, director of Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC), said they are trying to create a community for LGBTQ+ faculty and staff. 

He said he wants the group to decide what to use the funds for because he wants people to have a voice in the decisions.

The university recruits LGBTQ+ faculty and staff, but if staff members do not feel that they have a community outside of work, then they cannot retain them, he said. 

It is important to recruit and retain faculty and staff to reflect the diverse student population, Jeffries said.   

He said WSU administration can work to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community because there are members of the LGBTQ+ community all over campus.

Graham said GIESO’s goal was to help ensure that the affinity group will have the resources it needs to be supported and successful. 

A communal space will help increase the sense of connection to the local community, she said. 

Graham said they hope to set up a campus-wide mentorship program. The mentorship would be based around a staff-to-staff and staff-to-student connection, she said.