NCCU opens arms to LGBT students
April 9 commemorated the opening of N.C. Central University's first LGBT Student Resource Center. The LGBT Center is located in G-64 of the Alphonso Elder Student Union. The center is supported by Creating Open Lives For Real Success (C.O.L.O.R.S.) and Dominating Overly Motivated Studs (D.O.M.S.).
The opening of the center marked NCCU as the first HBCU in North Carolina and the second among all HBCUs to have a center dedicated to the LGBT community.
The center is designed for students to connect with other members of the LGBT community and learn about their culture and identity. The research center contains an array of resources such as an LGBT support network, the LGBT lecture series, educational and social programming and a library of LGBT materials.
According to Special Projects Coordinator and co-advisor of C.O.L.O.R.S. Morris Barrier, the organization began as a small group of individuals meeting in Chidley, originally called Brothers and Sisters, who connected with each other to make NCCU visible.
"When I was at NCCU as un-undergrad, I was actually in colors, and worked with them to become president," said Barrier.
He said that his main concern now is to work towards an active membership and maintain it to have a larger community that is visible on campus.
The Director of Student Life Assessment Tia Doxey is the advisor for C.O.L.O.R.S. She has worked with the organization since 2005 and coordinates Safe Zone training of allies to promote LGBT awareness.
Doxey gave the credit of attaining the space to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Kevin Rome and the Empowerment committee.
"He worked diligently to find a space and to really push the envelope," said Doxey. "We wanted a space where we can grow."
She said the center creates opportunities and provides a place where everyone is welcome.
Doxey said her five-year goals for the center include getting permanent staff, offering more programs, reaching out to more faculty and staff, work with NCCU to create an inclusive environment and eventually move into a larger space.
C.O.L.O.R.S. president and psychology freshman Deatrin Sutton said he was excited about opening day.
"Finally we have something on campus that is ours where we can come and feel comfortable," said Sutton.
Associate Professor and Chair David Jolly attended the opening in hopes of seeing his community grow.
"As a gay man, I know how important it is for young people to have support for them to be who they are," said Jolly.
He said the hardest part of his job is seeing students struggle with family issues, relationship and finding support.
Jolly said he attributes most of the center's success to Doxey.
"She has been a ball of fire, bringing new resources and a new level of energy insight," said Jolly.
The center is open Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.
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