Commit to Implementing the LGBTQIA+ Task Force Proposal at the University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

Overview

The University of Pittsburgh is committed to fostering a campus environment where all community members feel respected and valued, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. At the time of this proposal, the University of Pittsburgh has the following LGBTQIA+ resources: 10 related student organizations, a Gender Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program including a minor in LGBTQ studies, a Transgender Working Group Committee, Pitt Queer Professionals, a Center for LGBT Health Research, Pride Health, and a Preferred Name Working Group. At the end of the 2020/2021 academic year, Pride Health will be folding in with Pitt Queer Professionals due to the retirement of prominent leadership and changes in UPMC support structures. Pitt Queer Professionals is also working with the Alumni Association to bring back the LGBTQIA+ Alumni Council, which began in 2012 and disbanded in 2019 due to a lack of an existing pipeline for undergrads into the organization. There are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, aromantic, non-binary, etc. ( LGBTQIA+) programs, research, and initiatives spread across academic and administrative units. Because of all the continued work of these LGBTQIA+ communities and our allies, the University of Pittsburgh received a 5/5 on the Campus Pride Index (CPI) in 2020. This achievement is something that is important for LGBTQIA+ communities at the university, but does not give the full picture of the experiences and needs of this population.

The following report outlines a relevant snapshot of the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as researched and detailed information about ways that the administration could create more positive experiences for the LGBTQIA+ Campus community, and be more proactive in attracting more LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff. The LGBTQIA+ Task Force recommends that the University of Pittsburgh implement a series of changes outlined by proposals in this report and recommendations throughout this document in order to adequately address the consistent and ongoing concerns and needs voiced on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ population in the Pitt community.


Goals of this report

  • Propose the creation of an LGBTQIA+ center

  • Fill in gaps for needs and experiences not within the scope of the Campus Pride Index

  • Provide a broad snapshot of individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community from the past 5 years

  • Propose hiring of LGBTQIA+ staff positions

  • Recommend new and updated support services for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff


Recommendations and Implementation Timeline

Summer 2021


  • By the end of the Summer 2021 Semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have created a formal institutional working group dedicated to the creation of a final proposal for a physical LGBTQIA+ center.

  • By the end of the Summer 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have worked with the LGBTQIA+ Task Force to formally agree to the implementation of a series of recommendations based on ideas put forth in this proposal concerning counseling services, student services, and faculty and staff services.

  • By the end of the Summer 2021 Semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have created a formal institutional search committee dedicated to the hiring of two new LGBTQIA+ Center Co-Directors, housed in Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, respectively.

  • By the end of the Summer 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have established and implemented a new centralized web domain, lgbtqia.pitt.edu, which will serve as a virtual hub for all LGBTIQA+ affiliated resources and opportunities.


Fall 2021

  • By the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have fully implemented the recommendations concerning counseling services, student services, and faculty and staff services agreed on at the end of the Summer 2021.

  • By the end of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh’s search committee dedicated to the hiring of two new LGBTQIA+ Directors will have completed the process of finding and hiring two new LGBTQIA+ Center Co-Directors, housed in Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, respectively.

  • By the end of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ Center working group, established by the end of the Summer 2021 semester, will have completed its plan for the creation of a physical LGBTQIA+ center and will begin its implementation

View our addendum cover letter here.


How To Help

SEND AN EMAIL TO YOUR LEADERSHIP. HERE’S A RECOMMENDED TEMPLATE:

TO: deanofstudents@pitt.edu, kathyh@pitt.edu, jay.darr@pitt.edu, cwp19@pitt.edu, [the head of your department/office]

SUBJECT: Supporting the Pitt LGBTQIA+ Task Force's Demands

Dear Leadership,

I wholeheartedly support the demands of the LGBTQIA+ community at Pitt, as documented here.

On their behalf, and in keeping with our values as an institution, I ask that you publicly commit to advancing the efforts of the LGBTQIA+ community at the University of Pittsburgh. Please commit to increasing and expanding equitable access to campus resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and to holding our administration accountable for making much-needed change.

This is not easy work, it is not quick work, but it is vital and ethical work.

From my heart, which is in this work,

[your name]

  • POST THE PETITION LINK AND THE LIVING DOCUMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
  • CONTACT ORGANIZATIONS YOU ARE ALREADY A PART OF AND ASK THEM TO SIGN AND SHARE THE PETITION.
  • IF YOU ARE AN LGBTQIA+ AFFILIATE OF PITT or the representative of an organization, department, office, or otherwise representative of a larger group, SEND Tyler viljaste (tjv24@pitt.edu) AN EMAIL TO SIGN THE DEMANDS DOCUMENT DIRECTLY!
  • PROACTIVELY SELF-EDUCATE — USE YOUR RESOURCES AND HOLD YOUR PEERS ACCOUNTABLE. STAY TUNED FOR OUR UPCOMING ‘RESOURCES FOR SELF-EDUCATION.’


View the full proposal below:

(Browser friendly link here)

(View our cover letter here)


Petition by
Tyler Viljaste
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

To: University of Pittsburgh
From: [Your Name]

I wholeheartedly support the demands of the LGBTQIA+ community at Pitt, as documented in the 2021 Report on the Status of LGBTQIA+ Resources at the University of Pittsburgh.

On their behalf, and in keeping with our values as an institution, I ask that you publicly commit to advancing the efforts of the LGBTQIA+ community at the University of Pittsburgh. Please commit to increasing and expanding equitable access to campus resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and to holding our administration accountable for making much-needed change. I affirm their asks and implementation timeline as follows, which is further outlined in the formal proposal document:

Summer 2021:

By the end of the Summer 2021 Semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have created a formal institutional working group dedicated to the creation of a final proposal for a physical LGBTQIA+ center.

By the end of the Summer 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have worked with the LGBTQIA+ Task Force to formally agree to the implementation of a series of recommendations based on ideas put forth in this proposal concerning counseling services, student services, and faculty and staff services.

By the end of the Summer 2021 Semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have created a formal institutional search committee dedicated to the hiring of two new LGBTQIA+ Center Co-Directors, housed in Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, respectively.

By the end of the Summer 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have established and implemented a new centralized web domain, lgbtqia.pitt.edu, which will serve as a virtual hub for all LGBTIQA+ affiliated resources and opportunities.

Fall 2021:

By the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh will have fully implemented the recommendations concerning counseling services, student services, and faculty and staff services agreed on at the end of the Summer 2021.

By the end of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh’s search committee dedicated to the hiring of two new LGBTQIA+ Directors will have completed the process of finding and hiring two new LGBTQIA+ Center Co-Directors, housed in Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, respectively.

By the end of the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ Center working group, established by the end of the Summer 2021 semester, will have completed its plan for the creation of a physical LGBTQIA+ center and will begin its implementation

This is not easy work, it is not quick work, but it is vital and ethical work.