3/29/2018 Katie E. Machen

LGBTQ+ Forum on Life at F&M to Engage Campus

When American Studies Professor Alison Kibler chaired the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at Franklin & Marshall College, she compiled a list of faculty working on fields related to WGSS to show how integrated the themes are across the curriculum. In September 2017, Professor of History Maria Mitchell, the current program chair, went to update the list.

“I was struck by the number of people doing queer studies,” Mitchell said. “I thought, how cool would it be to get everyone together?”

Mitchell worked with Gabriel Mayora, postdoctoral fellow and emerging WGSS scholar, to start the Queer Studies Faculty Caucus, which met in September. While initially designed as a meeting of scholars, the group expanded to include conversation of the experiences of queer faculty, professional staff and students. They received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to present an all-campus forum, scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 3 in Mayser Gymnasium, to discuss LGBTQ+ life at F&M, partnering with the Alice Drum Women’s Center and the Sexuality and Gender Alliance.

  • Old Main Building with a rainbow pride flag from Queer Visibility Week. Old Main Building with a rainbow pride flag from Queer Visibility Week. Image Credit: Meagan Tripp

“I am excited about F&M's opportunity to discuss and reflect upon sexuality in the context of diversity and inclusion,” Mitchell said. “The forum will allow non-heteronormative campus members to share their experiences while focusing on steps we all can take to support LGBTQ+ students and FPS. How do we make our climate as open and welcoming and productive as possible for all members of campus?”

The forum will include a panel of students, faculty and professional staff, as well as time for questions and answers.

“The panel includes members of the campus community who work on supporting queer students and bettering the campus community in general,” Mitchell said. “The conversation will be a combination of intellectual work and practical work on the ground.”

The F&M panelists include Janine Everett, director and assistant teaching professor of the public health program, Mayora, Sean Galloway, director of financial operations and controller, Carrie Rampp, vice president and chief information officer, sophomore Katherine Coble of Arlington, Va., and first-year Skylar Rella of Pittsburgh.

Sue Washburn ’73, chair of the College's Board of Trustees, will open the event with an introduction. The moderators are sophomore Vicente Brambila of Los Angeles and Kerry Sherin Wright, director of the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House and associate teaching professor of English. Susan Dicklitch-Nelson, professor of government and chair of the department, will conclude the event.

“I hope that feedback gathered at the forum will lay the groundwork for a yearlong campus-wide effort to investigate and improve the campus climate for queer faculty, students and professional staff,” Mitchell said. “I see this forum as a means of demonstrating support for queer colleagues and students, and as an important step toward strengthening F&M's community in and beyond the classroom – not only for LGBTQ+ students and employees, but for all of us.”

LGBTQ+ Life at F&M is 11:30 a.m., April 3 in Mayser Gymnasium. Pizza and fresh fruit will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. A reception will follow, 12:45-2:30 p.m., at the Alice Drum Women's Center in the Steinman College Center.

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