Though many Jesuit schools across the country—Georgetown, Santa Clara and Marquette University—have both on campus resource centers for LGBTQ students and full time faculty dedicated to providing these resources, Boston College does not.
BC’s lack of a resource center for its LGBTQ students causes organizational difficulties for its various campus groups who attempt to convene in efficient, centralized manners. Dedicated resource centers and faculty members provide spaces and opportunities for the promotion of dialogue about LGBTQ issues, and provide locations for various student groups across campuses to centralize and organize.
“It really can’t just be GLC and the Dean of Students working with BC’s LGBTQ community, we need a whole resource dedicated to LGBTQ issues and working towards initiating these conversations,” Nicholas Minieri, CSOM ‘16 and chair of BC’s GLC stated when describing the university’s need for a resource center. Currently, the majority of campus events related to LGBTQ issues are organized by GLC and the Office of the Dean of Students.
Despite not having a dedicated center, BC does offer resources for LGBTQ students—a retreat for LGBTQ students, several clubs across campus and various mentoring programs. GLC is a branch of UGBC and hosts several programs, as does the Office of the Dean of Students. Among these are the Spectrum Retreat, a confidential weekend retreat in which students can engage in conversations about their personal identities, and Horizon and Prism, men and women’s groups for LGBTQ students to meet and discuss identity development.
A resource center would provide a means through which all of these groups and branches can congregate. At other Jesuit, Catholic universities, such resources provide support for both the student bodies and the student activists who organize many of the events.
Minieri was quick to point out that there are many faculty members at BC who are supportive of the creation of a LGBTQ resource center. Though the center is the primary goal, Minieri explained, there are countless other short-term goals that can be met as well.
“A resource center will always be the main goal—but it’s not a short-term goal,” Minieri expressed.
Minieri also stressed the importance and urgency for BC to diversify and increase its resources.
“In the past few years we have gained so many students of other identities—pansexual, asexual, gender nonconforming—and an increasing amount of students are coming into BC with these new identities they developed in high school,” Minieri explained. “It’s going to be impossible for GLC to do everything—we can’t encompass every identity in one group.”
Although establishing a resource center at BC is a long-term goal, the urgent need for BC to diversify its resources and stand by its LGBTQ students more closely in the short-run need not be overlooked, as Minieri described. “All Jesuits schools need to do more. There is a lot of gray area, but the Jesuit teachings are so very inclusive, it seems as if we are all being called to embrace students more.”