Gay Straight Alliance gaining support among students, faculty

Enthusiasm feuls idea of LGBT club rebirth

By Jared Amdahl, Opinion Editor

Despite the fact that the 20-year absence of a Gay Straight Alliance on campus has convinced most students, staff and faculty at Contra Costa College that there is no interest in such a club ever being reactivated, there are a few people on campus that have proven that idea to be a fallacy.

“When I began teaching here in 2001, I asked around and talked with the faculty member who had previously advised the GSA here,” mathematics professor Sue Van Hattum said. “In my 13 years here, I have not heard much interest from students.”

And that was the case, until just a few weeks ago when Van Hattum was approached by student Gerald Macadangdang, who expressed interest in possibly starting a GSA on campus again.

Macadangdang, who is heterosexual, explained that he would like to possibly start the club for the benefit of the student body.

“Clubs like this bring awareness. If there are people that are interested then it is something that would benefit everyone,” Macadangdang said.

The only things currently getting in his way are time and support, he said.

“Starting this club is of a lot of interest to me, but it is difficult since it is the end of the semester,” he said. “I’m currently having a hard time finding the people that would be interested in starting that sort of club. I’m not sure what it is with this school, but it seems that nobody really seems to care.”

Macadangdang has done his best to become as involved as possible with the student body and hopes to keep that trend going into next semester.

“I’m in a good position to start one of these clubs up, seeing as I know what to do on the political and more official side of things,” he said. “The only problem is I’m originally from San Jose and I don’t really know the amount of people I’d need to in this area that would be interested at the moment. We are looking into next semester being a good opportunity for a club like this to start.”

The Associated Students Union vice president of club affairs, Safi Ward-Davis, agrees.

“I feel like it would be one of the more valuable clubs on campus. It would bring awareness to the student body and add diversity, and diversity is one thing CCC is huge on,” she said.

Being the only college in the district not to have a club representing the LGBTQ community, CCC should follow suit of its sister schools to realize the importance of such a body, the president of the Queer Straight Alliance at Diablo Valley College, Dilon McCormick, said.

These clubs offer LGBTQ students the opportunity to receive help on issues that others in their position might not fully understand, McCormick said.

“Those students are being left to fend for themselves,” he said. “We provide a safe area for our LGBTQ community. It’s the sort of place that lets LGBTQ students know that they’re not alone, and it gives the chance for any of these students to get help with any difficulties they may be having.”

While Macadangdang’s attempt to start the club is in its earliest stages, he said he will need support from students if the idea is ever to come into fruition.