A Welcoming Climate for the Sexual Minority Community
Mary Baldwin University’s commitment to diversity and an inclusive learning community is shared in Mary Baldwin University’s Inclusivity Statement. A short bit of history regarding the sexual minority community on campus follows in the next few paragraphs:
Like many institutions,during the late 90’s, Project Safe Zone was initiated by a small group of faculty, staff and students on Mary Baldwin’s Campus. The vision was to make visible persons with whom those in the campus community could contact for resources and dialogue regarding issues pertaining to sexuality and gender. Project Safe Zone remains a link to resources for all students. Look for pink triangles on faculty and staff office doors or brightly colored postings throughout campus for current facilitators.The successful ad-hoc efforts of Project Safe Zone facilitated a progression that over time makes more visible our efforts at creating a welcoming campus .
During the summer of 2000 the college adopted a non-discrimination clause that included sexual orientation. The student affairs sponsored club , SOULS, took the lead to advocate and educate on women’s issues including issues regarding sexuality and gender. Reading groups that students dubbed the Spectrum readings and a student led support group known as IRIS emerged for lesbian , bisexual and trans students to dialogue and better understand each other and their lived experiences . Many students became a part of the emergence of a vibrant sexual minority population on campus.
The climate change continued a few short years later as domestic partner benefits became a reality for college employees that were not married. Within another few years courses grounded in the social sciences were being created that allowed students to examine the discipline of sexuality and gender with an academic and scholarly approach. The 2009 passage of a minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies marks the most recent advancement of inclusivity in academic inquiry, student affairs and fiscal policy.
We continue to work to make our inclusivity statement a practical everyday reality for everyone that is a part of our Mary Baldwin Community. Come, be a part of our learning community!