In last week’s (Oct. 26) issue, the editorial board of the Technique composed a consensus opinion on the need for a resource center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) at Tech. I, however, while recognizing the need for support and awareness of the LGBTQ community, find the notion of such a resource center to be both impractical and a disservice to not just those in the community in question but the student body as a whole.
Minority groups, such as the LGBTQ community, often face unique struggles and in the past have had institutional organizations like the Women’s Resource Center or OMED. While I cannot deny some of the positive effects, I question the purpose and efficacy of such institutions that provide support for minority groups.
My main concern is the fact that the very existence of a resource group further ostracizes and separates the group in the question from the campus as a whole. Such resource centers often become in-group cliques, solely based on the belonging in a minority. This does nothing to further integrate minorities into the student body, instead giving them an easy way to opt out and create their own bubble away from others. A resource center such as one proposed by my peers would not just provide support mentally, but also professionally—allowing those in the minority group to make professional connections and receive advice on problems unique to them. I find this to be a disservice, as I believe it is up to the students to make their own connects professionally, whether through internships or professional clubs rather than being handed them by the school. Such a resource should be offered by a student club for that minority (in this case PRIDE perhaps), rather than the university.
I also understand that the groups for which these programs are formulated do face unique challenges and social problems. However, I think that financially, it makes more sense to invest in a single institution to provide such mental support rather than spreading it out over multiple departments. The Counseling Center here at Tech is sorely understaffed and simply cannot provide fully for the whole student body as it stands, through no fault of anyone who works there.
I think that an expanded mental health services would benefit the student body as a whole, not just certain minorities. However, such an expansion would include specialists for minority groups that could include specific counseling and programming tailored to them.
I believe minority programs only further separate the student body and in a time when resources are already short, general funds should not be used to begin such a program for the LGBTQ community. Should sufficient alumni funds be raised specifically for such a purpose, that is their prerogative to create such an institution. However, I do believe that such groups only create more friction between the “majority” (white males will soon be in short supply) and minorities, as minorities are provided preferential treatment and advantages for the sake of political correctness.