Weber State University offers a variety of resources for the LGBTQ community of students on campus. These resources are present to provide an equitable campus environment and foundation for LGBTQ students and faculty.
The LGBTQ representation on campus is monitored by the LGBT Resource Center, which is located in room 323 in the Shepherd Union. At the center, students are able to take part in support groups, Safe Zone ally training, inclusivity programs, discussion groups and printed materials that cover topics like identity development.
The center also works with the Wildcat Gender and Sexuality Alliance student club and the LGBTQ awareness chair on the Diversity and Inclusive Programs board. Volunteers are welcome to participate in the activities and programs.
Some of these programs include cultural connections, LGBTQ awareness, musical events and more. According to the university website, these programs aim to provide “the voice, leadership and visibility for student diversity and inclusion.”
Three different scholarship applications for LGBTQ students or allies are also available to help passionate students become advocates at the university. The scholarship links are available on the LGBT Resource Center website.
“Representation of LGBTQ people at the university has increased over the last few decades, following the trend in U.S. society in general,” Jason Stokes, coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, said.
The university does not currently track students who identify as LGBTQ. However, based on decades of research on LGBTQ communities in higher education, the LGBTQ community at Weber likely makes up 10-15% of the entire community.
Since the late 1990s, the university has been implementing supportive resources for the LGBTQ community on campus. WSU added sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to its non-discrimination policies.
WSU also created the first Matthew Shepard Scholarship, an annual scholarship in memory of a 22-year-old gay man who was beaten and left to die in Wyoming in 1998. The first iteration of the student club, Delta Lambda Saffo, was created.
Stokes also explained that since the early to mid-2000s, the university has been implementing resources such as the resource center, further funding, faculty/staff gay-straight alliances and LGBTQ student leadership opportunities.
Gender-neutral bathrooms are also in every new building and some of the older buildings on campus. “Providing these resources has been challenging,” Stokes said. “Mainly due to building codes of older or preexisting buildings and the space within them.”
Building codes require every public building to have a set number of men’s and women’s restrooms based on the square footage of the building. Because of this, the university cannot turn a preexisting restroom into a gender-neutral bathroom.
Stokes said there is also a single-use shower in the Swenson Gym, so all students can have the opportunity to utilize the gym facilities.
“The LGBT Resource Center and the university’s Facilities Management are working together to provide an updated and user-friendly map of where these resources are located,” Stokes said.
WSU also introduced a new queer studies minor based in the Department of Women & Gender studies. There are also courses available for students to be educated on certain LGBTQ and gender topics.
“It is our commitment to ensure that Weber State University is a welcoming and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ community, where individuals are not only welcome but feel respected and a valued part of the community,” Stokes said.
Students with questions can find more information at the Diversity and Access Office in the Student Services building, Faculty/Staff GSA, the LGBT Resource Center Facebook and the Wildcat Gender and Sexuality Alliance club.
Links for these resources are found on the resource center’s page of the WSU website, along with a list of links to community resources. Some of these include Northern Utah AIDS, Northern Utah Suicide, transgender education and others.