New Student Group Coordinator To Head Justice, LGBT Groups

Ketul Patel

By Ketul PatelThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern officials have extended an offer to hire a coordinator of student organizations for social justice. The coordinator will oversee social justice groups and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center.

Helen Wood, associate director of Center for Student Involvement, said this is a new, full-time position. Students or CSI staff had taken over the responsibilities of the LGBT Resource Center in previous years.

Wood said NU has made an offer and that the person has verbally accepted the position. She declined to reveal the name of the new employee because she did not yet have a signed document stating intention of employment. NU must also check all of the individual’s credentials to make sure they are valid, Wood said.

The employee will oversee the LGBT Resource Center half of the time and focus on social justice student organizations the other half of the time, Wood said.

The new employee’s responsibilities include training members of the LGBT Support Network, which includes Safe Space, a program to provide more hospitable environment for the LGBT community.

The new position will benefit the LGBT community at NU, Wood said.

“It is a group of individuals that need and should be given additional help and support to boost that community,” she said.

Leslie Gittings, co-president of Rainbow Alliance, NU’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and ally student group, said this position has been a goal of her organization and the LGBT support network for “a while.”

“We did not expect it to happen this early,” the McCormick senior said. “We’re very grateful.”

Gittings said the people who had overseen the LGBT Resource Center were not able to devote all of their time to running the center because of other responsibilities.

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, said the employee will coordinate programs, including the support systems, for the LGBT community.

“I’ve been lobbying for this position for several years,” he said. “We’ve been attempting to meet the needs of the LGBT population with allies and the support network.”

Kelsey Pacha, co-president of Rainbow Alliance, said she is pleased to see NU meeting the needs of the LGBT community.

“I think that it’s a really big step forward for the university,” the SESP junior said. “We’re glad Dr. Banis made a concerted effort to get this position.”

Pacha said the new position also will eliminate some of the uncertainties Rainbow Alliance faced regarding who their adviser would be after Shea Rentschler, a former CSI staff member, resigned after the last academic year.

“It’s nice that we’ll have someone we can turn to,” she said. “It will ease the transition from when Shea left.”

Reach Ketul Patel at [email protected]