As the festivities come to an end for Coming Out Week 2018, a conversation begins here at Montclair State University. Most students that attend Montclair State are aware of the university’s long-standing efforts to make everyone feel welcome on campus.
With new conversations being opened with events, such as Coming Out Week, this allows for students to become more involved within the communities of the university and realize if the university is really supporting the communities they are saying they are.
According to Montclair State’s LGBTQ Center’s mission statement posted online, the main goal for the center is to create an inclusive environment that also supports students on campus no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
When applying to universities, students and parents have a checklist as to what the student wants from a certain university, and after months of research, the incoming freshmen declare their fate. For students and parents, picking a university that provides a safe space and an open community means much more than checking if dining halls on campus carry your favorite entree. Montclair State was rated as one of the top 25 LGBTQ-friendly campuses in 2017 by Campus Pride, which leads students to pick Montclair State over other universities.
With high ratings of being an LGBTQ-friendly campus come better resources for those that are part the community. As of 2010, the university had included gender inclusive housing on campus within Stonewall Suites, which are located in Dinallo Heights. The housing option on campus was specifically made for the LGBTQ+ living community.
As stated by Montclair State, the suites were made to connect students of the community in order to support and educate themselves. By giving students the opportunity to not only live there but also inform themselves is a huge accomplishment by the university.
University President Susan Cole even declared a Day of Unity in 2012, which occurs every Feb. 7 in the Student Center Quad. The day was not just created to celebrate the achievements within the group but to also condemn the hateful actions that occurred on Jan. 26, Jan. 27 and Jan. 30 in 2012. On those days, the LGBTQ Center was attacked more than once when someone had written a slur in the center, sent a death threat and more slurs were written in a women’s bathroom.
By positively retaliating, Cole put her foot down and showed that hate does not win. With organizations such as Student Government Association (SGA), Sexuality, Pride, Education, Community, Truth, Respect, Unity at Montclair State (SPECTRUMS), the Greek community, the NAACP and several women’s groups in conjunction with the LGBTQ Center participating in the day, this shows real unity with the entirety of the campus getting involved to show the community that they are to be celebrated and wanted.
People express their admiration for the LGBTQ Center at Montclair State:
“Montclair State in Top 30 LGBTQ-Friendly List” https://t.co/HJW1m7TSU8 One of the things I love about my school.
— tricia matthew (@triciamatthew) August 25, 2016
Standing in solidarity with Montclair State University's LGBTQ community. Hate is not an American value. Not THIS American's, anyway.
— Sherri Rase (@SherrRase) October 28, 2009
Not only does the university care for the students within the LGBTQ+ community but also the employees. By providing a LGBTQ Employee Resource Group, Montclair State solidifies their stance on supporting the group. The university also provides safe spaces to employees with a program called the LGBTQ Safe Space Program. The program gives those part of the community a safe place to seek assistance. Corresponding offices are marked with a green circle decal that has two triangles drawn on the inside. These types of groups create a sense of belonging for employees and lets them know that they are wanted and cared for.
With everlasting support by Montclair State, the LGBTQ Center provides multiple resources to help students and employees on campus to express who they really are, and that is something beautiful that keeps on flying here.