March 1, 2017

Our Support for the LGBTQ Community

President Alison Byerly sent the following message to the campus community Feb. 27.

I wanted to take a moment to reaffirm our commitment to the LGBTQ community, and to remind you of the steps we are taking toward becoming an even more inclusive campus.

For example, we have promised that every facility renovation and construction project will provide gender-inclusive restroom facilities. Our recently completed renovation of Markle Hall included such a change, and new buildings, such as the forthcoming Integrated Sciences Center, will begin their lives with gender-inclusive facilities.

Through the Office of Residential Life, multiple gender-inclusive housing options are available for groups of students, regardless of gender identities, to live together in units or rooms that are not designated for exclusively male or female occupants.

The Athletics Department offers programming, including the “If You Can Play, You Can Play” campaign in support of LGBTQ inclusion, with the assistance of Lia Parifax ’08 and her husband, Hudson Taylor, co-founders of Athlete Ally. A policy on transgender athletes adopted in 2015 states: “The department seeks to create an environment that is safe, supportive and welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and student-­­athletes.”

The Office of Gender and Sexuality Programs sponsors numerous ongoing opportunities for education, outreach, and support. These include holding an annual conference for LGBTQ students through the LVAIC consortium, celebrating LGBTQ heritage month every October, offering gender-violence prevention programs, and providing rainbow-colored tassels on request to students to wear at graduation. More information can be found at: https://gsp.lafayette.edu/education-and-outreach/.

Faculty members as well as the students who presented the “List of Diversity and Transformation Concerns” in December have suggested including more courses related to LGBTQ experience in the curriculum. This suggestion is being discussed as part of the ongoing Academic Planning process.

Lafayette College is committed to upholding the rights and dignity of every member of the LGBTQ community, and we will continue to look for ways to enhance and demonstrate our support.

President Byerly