The Maroon applauds the hiring of Dr. Ana Vazquez as the new director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) as well as the granting of her additional title of deputy dean of students.
The hiring of Vazquez, and the creation of her more prominent position, signal that the University is serious about giving minority students a place at the administration’s table, and it ensures that minority students’ concerns will be better heard.
One of the first issues that Dean Vazquez and the rest of the administration should investigate is the possibility of including minority groups into OMSA that are not currently under the organization’s umbrella. One such minority group is the LGBTQ community. The queer community lacks formal recognition as a minority group by the administration, and it would benefit from increased attention and funding if incorporated into OMSA. It is evident that the gay community encounters social dangers and discrimination, on and off campus, similar to those faced by the other groups already within OMSA’s reach.
While there would be some logistical and financial problems to be resolved in including LGBTQ students in OMSA, many of the services currently provided by the organizationsuch as mentoring individual students, advising RSOs, and advocating concerns to the administrationcould clearly benefit the queer community.
Incorporating additional marginalized groups into OMSA can only serve to foster better relations across the University community.
Given that the University does not offer a sufficient source of formal support for the LGBTQ community at this time, the least that OMSA can do is include this community under its jurisdiction. Adding this group to OMSA’s agenda is currently the best way that the University can actively show its concern for the queer community.