LGBTQ group still lacking campus voice

Absence of student interest perpetuates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer silence in community

By Jared Amdahl, Opinion Editor

Despite the absence of an LGBTQ representative club on campus, there are a few members of the college community who would like to see representation for the currently voiceless group.

Ericka Greene, interim Associated Students Union adviser, had not only noticed the lack of such a club at Contra Costa College, but the problem that such a vacancy creates for LGBTQ students who may be experiencing difficulties.

“A club like this can do a lot of things in terms of personal safety,” Greene said. “Crimes against the LGBTQ community are horrendous.”

Business major Mark David agrees.

“I think it would be beneficial (for CCC to have an LGBTQ club) because identity is such a huge issue. You have kids struggling with identity problems and a lot of the time they have no one to turn to,” David said. “It would provide that aspect of people to confide in, connections to resources such as health services and access to counseling.”

Greene said that while there are places for LGBTQ students at CCC to receive help with problems, not all of them are readily available.

“We have our counseling department and of course people like Mary Johnson over at Mental Health Services, but other than that there isn’t too much,” she said. “We need to have a group for those students; we need to have those conversations; we need that space; we need those voices. It will give students a safe place.”

She said that at the moment the only thing keeping the club from becoming active is strong student support.

“I’m literally waiting in here for a student to come ask for the necessary paperwork, fill it out and turn it in,” she said.

Vice President of Club Affairs Safi Ward-Davis finds herself in the same position.

Ward-Davis said, “Students have come in and picked up the necessary forms and had expressed interest, but nothing has come of it yet. My hands are tied until that paperwork is turned in.”

David said, “One thing that has to be understood is that there needs to be a number of students who have to want to run the club. What it comes down to is whether there is the student interest or not.”

Being the only campus in the district without an LGBTQ club of any sort, LGBTQ students are at a disadvantage when seeking help, Dillon McCormic, president of the Queer Straight Alliance at sister school Diablo Valley College, said.

“We provide a safe area for our LBGTQ community. It’s the sort of place that lets 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,” McCormic said.

“And as for a college without one, I would have to say it would add less diversity to the student body, and less feeling of the student body being able to connect as a whole.”

David offered one explanation for why CCC does not have such a club: “Maybe there just is no interest here. I think a part of it, having grown up in Richmond, is that everyone is ‘harder’ out here toward the LGBTQ community and their views.”

Greene said that if any student or faculty member had interest in helping the club become established, she could provide them with ample opportunity to do so.

“Myself, (dean of student services) Vicki Ferguson or (mathematics professor) Sue Van Hattum would be more than accommodating,” she said.