The College of Charleston is always focused on being an inclusive campus, and that includes faculty and staff, too.
And the LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Coalition is a group that aims to bring LGBTQ+ faculty, staff and allies together to support one another, especially during Charleston Pride Week Sept. 7–14, 2019.
“Camaraderie is so important in our community, and on a campus with a significant LGBTQ+ student population it’s equally important that the students see that we’re here as well,” says Seaton Brown ’09, director of admissions for the College’s Master of Business Administration, who co-chairs the coalition.
Brown says faculty and staff from across a variety of campus offices and academic programs are members of the coalition including the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC), the LGBTQ+ Archives, the OutFront initiative, the Sustainability Literacy Institute and the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services, among others.
The coalition holds monthly meetups, which are held on the third Thursday of each month for an after-work happy hour at a restaurant within walking distance of campus. Kickin’ Chicken, Mellow Mushroom and Carolina Ale House have all hosted the group.
“Our monthly meetups are social in nature and give us the opportunity to chat about different initiatives our groups are involved in throughout the university,” says Brown.
Jennifer Stevens, administrative coordinator for business affairs and co-chair of the coalition, says the group was more active a few years ago and that she and Brown began a push this summer to increase the coalition’s activity through the monthly meetups.
“We’d like to create more visibility for folks in the LGBTQ+ community on campus,” says Stevens. “The meetups are a fun way for us to socialize and build community with each other, learn from each other and find out ways we can show up to support each other. We both love the College and want to create not just a sense of ‘welcome,’ but an environment that is welcoming to faculty, staff and allies.”
Stevens adds, “It’s been great to meet folks from different departments and offices on campus so far, and we are hoping to grow the coalition. All are welcome!”
The next meetup is Thursday, Sept. 12, in conjunction with Pride Week. The LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Coalition will join a GSEC-sponsored Social Justice Mixer for students at 5 p.m. at Kickin’ Chicken, located at 337 King St.
The coalition has a Yammer group for faculty and staff as well as a Listserv. Interested faculty and staff can join the Listserv by sending an email to LGBTQ@listserv.cofc.edu with SUBSCRIBE in the body of the email.
The group’s ultimate goal is one of empowerment, says Brown, adding: “We use the coalition as a way to advance and promote the LGBTQ+ community both in and out of the classroom.”