Otterbein Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies program to launch emergency fund for LGBT students
New emergency fund will be reserved for LGBT students with financial needs
In an email, associate professor Suzanne Ashworth said, “The students stare down food and housing insecurity, the loss of transportation, insufficient resources for books, clothing, medical bills, and academic supplies. They have to persist through stigma, discrimination, alienation from their families, rejections from friends, and more. Available on a discretionary basis, the fund provides emergency relief for these students.”
Statistics from the Williams Institute and the Human Rights Campaign include 42 percent of LGBT youth saying their communities are not accepting, LGBT youth being 2 times more likely to be physically assaulted, and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Suicide is also the leading cause of death in the LGBT community.
Casey Hall, a senior and president of , has been involved with raising money for the fund. She said that WGSS is not encouraging current students to donate. It is meant to be for the students, not funded by the students.
She said she thinks there are more students on campus that could use this fund than people think. Three students have approached her in the last year with different financial concerns, such as skipping meals because they cannot afford food.
Hall also said the fund will not have strict limits, but that they'll often rely on word of mouth and individuals requesting financial help face to face to avoid the fund being utilized by disingenuous people.
“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re choosing, but I think there will probably be some kind of limit," said Hall. "We’re aware that some students might need more help than others. I know the application is going to be very simple, but we haven’t set it up yet.”
WGSS faculty and supporters are now focusing on fundraising efforts.
“The webpage will exist as long as the needs exist," said Ashworth in an email. "We’ve raised $2,500 so far, and we’re hoping to get to $3,000 by the launch event. This will be an annual effort.”