LGBTQ+ safe space in development for Park University students

Naida Gonzalez, Reporter

At the beginning of the fall semester, Abby Hatch, a junior social work major was surprised when none of their teachers asked what their preferred pronouns were. Since then, they have been working with Jayme Uden, dean of students, to create an LGBTQ+ safe space and resource center on campus for Park University students.

There is still no definite timeline for the project.

“It’s kind of hard, because we want it to be in the right location,” said Hatch. “We want it to be central and easily accessible to students, but everything that’s in this space is already taken.”

This means that the project may start out as a small resource center rather than the hangout space that Hatch envisions, but they remain optimistic that it will continue to grow.

They hope that the space will host a small study area as well as an educational resource center.

“Education is important, and resources for around the campus and around the area,” said Hatch.

They also emphasize the importance of sex education for the LGBTQ+ community. Ultimately, they want to create a comfortable and safe space for students to hang out and to connect with the LGBTQ+ community at Park.

Once established, the space will become the new home for Spectrum, Park’s LGBTQ+ club. Spectrum’s mission is to empower the LGBTQ+ community at Park through education, advocacy and outreach. Spectrum’s president, Alison Overcash, a senior English major, agrees with Hatch that a safe space and resource center would benefit many students.

“A lot of problems for LGBTQ+ students stem from the fact that many people simply aren’t educated on LGBTQ+ issues, and a resource center would allow us to educate those around us in a new way,” said Overcash. “We could provide pamphlets about how to use gender-neutral pronouns, how to support LGBTQ+ people in your life, and so many other topics.”

Hatch fully supports this association with Spectrum.

“I feel like the club could really thrive in this area,” said Hatch. They envision a community growing as a result of Spectrum hosting their meetings in the space and bringing people together.