SGA approves support for campus LGBT community

The Student Government Association House of Student Representatives unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday to support a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource center on campus.

Su Harz, a junior social work major who introduced the resolution to the House, said the purpose of the resolution is to show that LGBT students have the support of SGA in seeking needed resources. Groups like the Gay-Straight Alliance for LGBT students already exist at the university, but the GSA excludes faculty and staff, she said. The proposed center would serve the entire LGBT community on campus.

“Our ultimate goal is that at some point in the future there will be a resource center on campus,” Harz said. “As a stepping stone, we would like to at least have someone who is trained in LGBT issues in the office of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services.”

Shelly Newkirk, a sophomore social work major, authored the resolution in order to gauge the support of the student body.

“With the support of SGA we can show the administration that this is a campuswide issue,” Newkirk said.

Newkirk and Harz co-founded the Iris Initiative, an effort geared toward raising awareness of LGBT issues on campus.

Student Body Vice President Matt Dietrichson said the university needs a centralized organization where students who feel like outsiders can seek needed resources.

“A resource center like this is long overdue,” Dietrichson said.

Student Body President Kelsie Johnson declined to comment on the resolution and referred questions to the legislation’s authors.

Candace Ruocco, Academic Affairs chair, said SGA members were excited that LGBT students were seeking their help.

“Every student at TCU, no matter what his or her circumstances are, deserves to be accommodated and feel comfortable, or at the very least to have some type of outlet, or place where they can go to feel comfortable,” Ruocco said.

Haley Murphy, Speaker of the Student House of Representatives, said SGA support allows the LGBT community to use the House committees as a sounding board to the administration and serve as the voice of the student body.

Ruocco said SGA wants to help all groups on campus to improve their college experience.

“We hope that the LGBT community and SGA can come together and create a framework to get students, faculty and staff the resources that they need,” Ruocco said.