New Post to Coordinate BGLTQ Resources for Undergraduates

Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds launches a national search for a director.

Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds announced on April 27 her intention to establish an “important new position within the College’s student support services”: she will name a director to “bring together the College’s existing—and substantial—supports” for bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer undergraduates and “take a leadership role in the creation of new programs and initiatives.”

Creating such a post was the top recommendation of the working group of faculty members, students, and administrators formed last fall to explore facets of the BGLTQ undergraduate experience at Harvard. Another recommendation—creation of a central, accessible space to house the new director’s office—will be fulfilled by repurposing space in Boylston Hall, where the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality is located.

Susan Marine, assistant dean of the College for student life and director of the College’s Women’s Center, a co-chair of the working group, noted that the environment on campus for BGLTQ students and those who support them has improved dramatically in the last generation, but that Harvard is “the only institution among the Ivies and other elite colleges that does not have a designated point person whose job is to ensure that BGLTQ resources are coordinated, publicized, and accessible…this informal approach can create confusion for students about where to go.” That lack may explain the College’s rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars from the nonprofit advocacy group Campus Pride.

College administrators will be seeking an experienced educator and administrator with deep knowledge of these issues and experience working with undergraduates. Although they acknowledge that finding the right person may extend beyond the start of the fall semester, they expect to be actively interviewing candidates for the new post during the summer.

Further details appear in the Harvard Gazette.

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