The Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture recently contributed to a luncheon panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Educational Excellence titled "Creating an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Students." It was held during USD’s fourth annual University of Diversity Week, which ran from March 4-10. This year's theme was "Call to Solidarity" and the week was filled with events which encouraged USD's students, faculty and staff to embrace the diversity found on our campus.
On Thursday, March 10th, Steven Sumner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, facilitated a dialogue amongst a panel of faculty and staff including Michael Lovette-Colyer, Director of University Ministry, Dr. Lori Watson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program and Dr. Gerard Mannion, Director of the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture. Professor Sumner, CEE Travel Grant recipient, attended a national conference last year dedicated to addressing the variety of factors that have contributed to the exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues from academic study and student life. During the luncheon he put forth a list of best practices, contributed by other universities at the conference, for discussion and possible integration at USD.
After Professor Sumner and the panel had spoken, students, faculty, staff and administrators in attendance were encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas on how to make USD a more LGBTQ-friendly campus. Finally, in small groups, everyone discussed how they could personally contribute to a more inclusive environment and submitted lists of action items with suggestions on how to move forward.