The Alliance of LBGTA Students will receive a face lift this semester after moving forward to amend its constitution and the ASMSU Constitution to rename itself as the Alliance of Queer & Ally Students.
The changes come as a result of the responses to a survey released to campus leaders in the spring. In the time since the survey closed, the Alliance has held discussions with student leaders to identify areas of concern and find ways to effectively address them.
“We had a feeling last semester that the perception of the Alliance was negative. The survey was to see if that perception was a reality,” said Nick Pfost, chairman of the Alliance of LBGTA Students. “If there was a negative perception of the Alliance, we wanted to be able to identify what measures we could take to repair our relationships with the leaders and groups in the LBGTA community.”
Using the survey, Pfost said he and other chair members were able to properly gauge the perceptions of and desires for the Alliance and identify potential problems in the organization. Of the vast majority of responses to the survey, the desire for increased and more effective communication, greater involvement in issues in education and activism and improving organization were the top concerns, Pfost said.
“We’re making sure the organization is holding itself accountable, identifying goals and identifying the needs of the community, not just the LBGTA community but the student body in general,” Pfost said. “We’re really making sure we’re staying open and getting input from students and representing them properly.”
The Alliance introduced its new amendments in a meeting Sunday night, but it won’t technically be able to adopt the amendments for another three weeks, according to its current constitution. The official vote on the name change and other constitutional changes will take place Oct. 3.
Caytlynn Roy, the Academic Assembly representative for the Alliance, said she is excited for the name change and feels it is more inclusive than the old title.
“There are so many identities that somebody can be,” said Roy, a women’s and gender studies sophomore. “Just listing them off in a title can not only be a mouthful, but people could be confused by it.”
Pfost said the name change for the organization will help to properly identify and represent all students in the LBGTA community. He said the group chose the term “queer” to encompass all the different identities that might not have a stable definition.
“People are constantly redefining and reidentifying themselves, and we wanted to make sure we’re representing those people at all times,” Pfost said. “The name of an organization needs to be reflective of the people they’re representing.”
Accounting senior Ross Kraynak said he thinks the changes made within the Alliance are appropriate for the rejuvenation of their image and a name change would help rebuild its image in the community.
“Many thought the Alliance was underperforming last year,” said Kraynak, who is familiar with the group. “The actions the Alliance takes to redo their program will have a really positive affect on the image of the group, but their programming actions have to live up to that goal of being a more effective organization. Right now, I think they have the leadership in place to do that.”
Pfost said the Alliance also is making structural changes within the organization, including eliminating the special events coordinator position, making the effort to reach out to other organizations and keeping people informed by publishing a newsletter starting this fall.
“I like how we’re operating more toward the community and focusing on a few major events this year,” Roy said.
“Instead of having consistent weekly events, we’re able to put more effort and resources into having only one or two events a month. If we seem like a more professional and functional group, things will be more positive.”
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