Signposts of Support



Beyond the Silence was written by Ellen H. Brown for CWRU Magazine's Summer 2002 issue. The full article is also available in PDF format.

For readability, this article uses "gay" synonymously with "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT)."

The University supports GLBT people in the campus community through a variety of policies, groups, services, and programs. Listed below is a rundown of some of those signposts of support:

Policies
  • In 1989, the University added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy;
  • In January 2000, CWRU began offering benefits to domestic partners of University employees.
GLBT Groups*
  • Spectrum: a social and activist group for GLBT undergraduate students and straight allies. Holds weekly meetings, and plans social and activist events, including the Lavender Ball, National Coming Out Day, and the Day of Silence;
  • Queer Society – A newly formed social group for GLBT people at CWRU;
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People in Medicine: a political and social organization for students in the School of Medicine that aspires to conduct community service projects and advocate for GLBT health-policy issues;
  • Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences Group for GLBT Students: a social and activist group for students in that school;
  • FLAG Law (Friends, Lesbians, and Gays in Law): a social, political, and activist group for students in the School of Law that aspires to cosponsor GLBT-related lectures, conferences, and other events with student organizations on campus and in the community.
Services and Programs
  • Office of University Counseling Services: offers individual counseling for GLBT students (and all students) designed to help them through the coming-out process, and also offers couples counseling (for homosexual and heterosexual couples). The office also provides staff support for events such as National Coming Out Day and sponsors an annual pizza party, welcoming graduate and professional students to the University. The event, held in August, allows students to meet faculty, staff, and students who are GLBT;
  • Office of Multicultural Affairs: houses CWRU’s Spectrum group and offers members of Spectrum the chance to interact with other students from under-represented and under-served groups on campus;
  • Office of Housing and Residence Life: sponsors programs in the residence halls that incorporate GLBT issues and provides staff support for GLBT-related events. Also provides an intensive training program for resident assistants and resident directors that focuses on diversity and incorporates GLBT issues;
  • Gay Day: a half-day-long program in the School of Medicine in which GLBT physicians talk to medical students about the importance of being sensitive to the needs and issues of people who are GLBT and the value of taking sexual histories so patients can be best treated.
Events
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Conference: a University-sponsored event that seeks to promote responsibility in relationships, prevention of substance abuse, and the discussion of popular music and culture in relation to the lives of college students. Some discussions include GLBT-related topics;
  • Freshmen Orientation: This introduction to life at CWRU covers a variety of topics such as campus safety, student life, and diversity, which touches on GLBT issues. For the past three years, a reception for GLBT students and their families has been held during orientation. It is sponsored by University Counseling Services, PFLAG-Cleveland, and Spectrum.

* In the past, there have been other University-funded groups on campus, including one for graduate students. In the past couple of years, however, students in this school have not requested funding.