In an effort to be more inclusive to the college population, the 7C Queer Resource Center (QRC) has begun the process of changing its name.
“We’re seeing more and more students who don’t fall under the acronym [LGBTQ], who don’t identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender … the acronym then becomes very limiting,” di Bartolo said. “I have heard from students across campuses that they might not feel queer enough to come into this space.”
Di Bartolo said that the first step in creating a more accessible space is to find the center a name that serves as a larger umbrella for identification in the Claremont Colleges community.
“It really comes down to, ‘How can we be inclusive from our name to mission to practice?'” she said. “What we’re seeing is we’re serving asexual students and pan-sexual students and questioning students and students who are just trying to navigate this space, who might not identify as queer. The goal is to start a conversation about inclusivity. And I think that’s the biggest piece: How has this space become exclusive? Has it?”
QRC Program Coordinator Al Forbes said that initial feedback will come from a survey released across the consortium last week. The survey asks respondents about how they use the QRC and allows them to indicate preferences for a new name for the center or suggest an idea of their own. The options on the survey are The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center of the Claremont Colleges, The Center for Gender and Sexuality at the Claremont Colleges, The Gender and Sexuality Diversity Center of the Claremont Colleges, The Gender and Sexuality Equity Center of the Claremont Colleges and The Pride Center of the Claremont Colleges.
However, Forbes noted, the survey is only “one piece of the puzzle.” The QRC will also hold forums in December and focus groups in the spring, he said, with the aim of better understanding how students use the center, what it means to them and how the center’s name does or does not align with its mission and future work.
Di Bartolo said that while the timeline for the conversation is structured, the date for the name change is still uncertain and will depend on the feedback the center receives from members of the community. She emphasized that the process is centered on fostering conversations about inclusivity.
“If our goal is to meet students where they’re at—questioning students or students who are just coming to understand their gender identity as being different than the hegemonic norm—and they can’t come into this space to get resources, then how are we meeting our mission?” she said. “What I always come back to is I think about the student who is too afraid to come into the space because of the name.”
The QRC’s survey will be open through Nov. 28 and can be found at studentvoice.com/pomona/qrcnaming.