The Queer Resource Center (QRC) of the Claremont Colleges is currently undergoing an external review to examine its progress in its fifth year as a 7C service. The review team consists of one internal reviewer and two external reviewers who visited Claremont on Oct. 5 and 6 and met with students, alumni, faculty and staff of the Claremont Colleges.
Adriana di Bartolo, director of the QRC, said that the review will focus on the “naming of the center, strategic plan for the next five years, if we need a student committee or an advisory group at the colleges for the QRC, suggesting staffing both for professions and for students, if the QRC is meeting the mission it is set out to meet, and how the QRC is seen structurally as supportive for the institutions and for students at the colleges.”
“Over two full days, the review team met with students, faculty, staff, and administrators to obtain a full picture of what the QRC and its staff have accomplished in the first five years, as well as what areas of growth and development await the QRC going forward,” internal reviewer Dr. Sumun Pendakur, associate dean for institutional diversity at Harvey Mudd College, wrote in an email to TSL. “The entire review team was impressed at the range and thoroughness of the feedback.”
According to di Bartolo, external reviewers LB Hannahs, director of LGBT affairs & coordinator of social justice initiatives at the University of Florida, and Raja Bhattar, director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center at UCLA, were chosen for their extensive experience with LGBTQ student centers at other colleges.
“Raja has really worked on creating inclusive spaces, inclusive programming, huge policy development at the UC level,” di Bartolo said. “LB Hannahs is phenomenal at their work. Building a center in Florida is not easy. They are two colleagues I respected at work.”
In an email to TSL, the external review team wrote, “Our goals are to learn as much as possible about the needs of students, staff and faculty and the culture of the seven institutions who are served by the QRC.”
In addition to external review meetings, the QRC held a forum on Oct. 1 in response to student allegations that the QRC did not adequately support queer and trans people of color (QTPOC). Di Bartolo said that the purpose of the forum was to “have folks voice their concerns.”
“I tell my staff all the time, we don’t have it perfect, so we have to be teachable, we have to be willing to listen and move forward,” di Bartolo said.
The QRC also created an anonymous online survey to gather feedback from students, and di Bartolo said that the review would be followed by more conversation about the QRC’s inclusivity.
“I really hope that we can have a transparent and clear and solution-driven conversation about the needs of students here, especially the QTPOC, because their community is saying that they are not getting what they need,” di Bartolo said.
Pollyanna Leung contributed reporting.