New LGBT students of color scholarship at MSU

By |2001-04-07T09:00:00-04:00April 7th, 2001|Uncategorized|

A scholarship will be awarded to Michigan State University students who are active in addressing issues for students of color who are lesbian, bisexual, gay, and/or transgender beginning spring, 2005. MSU undergraduate LaJoya Johnson was motivated to create thescholarship following the 2003 murder of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old African American lesbian in Newark, New Jersey. The murder had a profound impact on Johnson’s commitment to being an activist at MSU.
“It’s my hope that the scholarship will create more opportunities for students who are committed to activism to stay in school,” said Johnson, a co-director of MSU’s Alliance of LBGT Students.
Recipients will be selected based on their contributions to LGBT and people of color communities, academic and career goals, and financial need. It is one of the few university scholarships in the country that addresses the intersections of race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity. The scholarship will be administered by the Office of LBGT Concerns and Office of Financial Aid.
University leaders are enthusiastic about the new scholarship. “This scholarship makes a very important statement about the supportiveness of Michigan State to student academic success,” said Rodney Patterson, director of MSU’s Office of Racial and Ethnic Student Affairs.
Others see the scholarship as giving greater visibility to an often marginalized student population. “This is really ground-breaking. It’s a step in setting an example for other universities,” said Eric King, president of MSU Same Gender Loving Students of Color, Internationals and Allies. “It brings LBGT people of color to the forefront.”
Ongoing fundraising and support for the scholarship will be done by a coordinating committee of representatives from university offices and campus organizations concerned with issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Val Meyers, president of GLFSA, MSU’s GLBT Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student organization, sees great potential for education and coalition building across groups. “All involved parties will learn more about the special challenges faced by LGBT students of color, and, of course, that education is an important part of Michigan State University’s core mission,” Meyers said.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.