Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summit to help improve support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people at California Community Colleges



On November 11, 2017, the CCC + LGBTQ Summit will bring together California Community College students, faculty, staff, administrators, and advocates for a free higher education conference on supporting and creating resources for LGBTQ people in the CCC system. The Summit is hosted by the University of California, Riverside and open to all who register online by October 27. Learn more at https://cccqsummit.blogspot.com

“I am proud to partner with the UC Riverside LGBT Resource Center, the California Community Colleges, and the Puente Project to bring this LGBTQ Summit forward,” says Assemblymember Jose Medina. “As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, it is important to me that we create and enhance resources for LGBTQ students at all 114 community college campuses throughout California. This is an important step to insuring that all students have the access and resources needed to have a successful college experience.”

 The CCC + LGBTQ Summit will offer a plenary on the current state of resources and support for LGBTQ people at CCC campuses, workshop sessions on best practices and strategies for change, caucus spaces, and a closing plenary on next steps for the system.

“We are behind the curve for serving the needs of LGBTQ people compared to the UC and CSU systems,” says Steven Deineh, MiraCosta College librarian and chair of the LGBTQIA Caucus of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. “The Summit will provide the biggest and best opportunity to set the stage for change across the CCC system of 114 campuses, 2.1 million students, and 90,000 employees.”

The CCC has made some strides in recent years. In 2016, Mt. San Antonio College and Sierra College doubled the number of two-year institutions in the nation offering a professionally-staffed campus LGBT center when they each opened a Pride Center. However, a 2015 review of CCC websites showed few to no efforts to address LGBTQ campus climate, student engagement, curriculum, or equity issues.

“This conference is the beginning of empowering community colleges to focus more on LGBT+ needs,” says student Rocio Aguayo. “As former President of the Associated Student Government of San Bernardino Valley College and incoming transfer student of UCR, I love the collaboration taking place between different leaders and know this will help folks create and bring more resources to their campus."

Organizers hope the CCC + LGBTQ Summit will not just be a space for sharing current efforts, but a catalyst for system-wide change.

“Trying to make systemic change institution-by-institution or classroom by classroom can feel impossible, and can be excruciatingly painful,” says Romagnoli, Santa Rosa Junior College faculty and former chair of SRJC’s LGBTQ President’s Advisory Committee. “I am looking forward to this opportunity to work, and to heal, alongside my comrades from across the state, so that we are better able to serve and empower California’s delightfully diverse community college students, faculty, and staff.”

The CCC + LGBTQ Summit is organized by campus members from over 15 California Community Colleges, with logistical support provided by the LGBT Resource Center of the University of California, Riverside.

“Community college students are future UCR students, and the more support LGBTQ students experience at CCC campuses, the more likely they will persist to transfer to a 4-year college,” says Nancy Jean Tubbs, director of the LGBT Resource Center.

Adds Aguayo, "The California Community College system is a beautiful place for anyone, that's why we are working with UCR to continue to build on the inclusiveness of our system.”

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