The Ithaca College Student Government Association passed a recommendation Oct. 5 calling for a “continuous effort” to implement an LGBTQ studies minor at the college by the fall of 2020.
Last semester, The Ithacan reported it may take five or more years to create an LGBTQ studies minor at the college because of the extensive process of developing new courses and finding the right professors to teach the classes. This is the third consecutive year senior Kyle James, vice president of academic affairs, who sponsored the legislation, has been involved in passing bills expressing the SGA’s support for an LGBTQ studies minor.
One aspect of James’ most recent bill is the creation of a committee made up of faculty, staff and students to meet at least once a block and discuss methods of implementing an LGBTQ studies minor at the college.
“The purpose of the committee is just to ensure there’s a constant talk and constant discussion and constant motion to move forward in the progress of the minor, so the progress doesn’t stall,” he said.
James said the next steps in the process after the passage of the legislation are to determine the members of the committee the bill created and organize a committee meeting, as well as reach out to Benjamin Rifkin, provost and vice president of educational affairs; Luca Maurer, the director of the college’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services; the Women’s and Gender Studies program; and the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity to consult on what can be done to create the minor.
The legislation also mentioned that the Queer Studies course was not scheduled to be taught in the spring semester. However, Bruce Henderson, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the instructor of the Queer Studies course, said the class will be offered in the spring. Henderson said he is going on sabbatical after the spring semester, but Carla Golden, Women’s and Gender Studies coordinator, said she will be meeting soon with Michael Richardson, the interim dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and communicating to him that she believes the course should continue to be taught even after Henderson leaves.
The potential LGBTQ studies minor would likely be housed in the college’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, James said. He said while there is interest in pursuing the creation of the LGBTQ studies minor from the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the administration, there has yet to be a firm commitment to implementing it.