The article appearing in BTL’s 12/7/2006 issue, “MSU Student Group Likely Hate Group” prompts our letter. We represent three LGBT-supportive organizations affiliated with Michigan State University.
Unfortunately, support for broad free speech rights can be misinterpreted as support for the extreme and sometimes hateful speech of those exercising such rights. We are concerned that the Dec. 7 article presents such a risk and that prospective students and other readers will conclude that MSU is not a welcoming environment for LGBT-identified students and others. That is not the case. Support for LGBT-identified students, staff, faculty and alumni is strong and growing at MSU.
The Office of LGBT Concerns serves as a supportive office for student groups including the Alliance of LGBTA Students, five residence hall caucus groups, SGL SOCIAL (Same Gender Loving Students of Color, Internationals and Allies), and Phi Tau Mu (transgender student support). This office collaborates with these groups on many campus events including the Fall LGBT Resource Fair, National Coming Out Days, and MSU Pride Week celebrations.
In partnership with the Office of LGBT Concerns, MSU GLFSA (GLBT Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Association) works to address student and employee concerns on the MSU campus. Significant accomplishments include helping to establish domestic partnership benefits on campus for employees and administering the Pride Scholarship, an annual scholarship for a LGBT-supportive student of academic excellence attending MSU. The award amount grows each year as a result of aggressive fundraising from our membership. The Fall 2006 award amount was $3000.
The recent-formed GLBT Alumni of MSU expands opportunities for MSU’s LGBT constituents by providing networking opportunities for alumni, supporting student scholarship, and promoting stronger relationships among MSU’s LGBT alumni, the university and other university organizations.
Unfortunately, groups like “Young Americans for Freedom” do exist and MSU is not a perfect place, but we do not believe the BTL articles accurately reflect the LBGT climate at MSU. Resources and support for LBGT students are increasing. LBGT student, faculty/staff, and alumni organizations have an ongoing commitment to improving the campus climate. The identification of MSU as one of the “100 best colleges for LBGT Students,” in the August 2006 book, The Advocate College Guide, causes us to be proud of the many events, projects, and benefits our organizations have contributed to support LGBT students.
director, Office of Lesbian, Bi, Gay and Transgender Concerns at MSU
president, MSU GLFSA (GLBT Faculty, Staff, & Graduate Student Association)
president, GLBT Alumni of Michigan State University