LGBTQIA members say Texas Tech a more inclusive campus

LGBTQIA members say Texas Tech a more inclusive campus

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Members of the LGBTQIA community face struggles nationwide. They say they aren't understood or included. This week on the Texas Tech campus, students are us showing their "pride," for the 3rd Annual Pride Week. It's a way that non-LGBTQIA students can help them feel more included.

"LGBTQIA students have been here for many many years. We've been here since the founding."

LGBTQIA Office Adminstrator Jody Randall said in her short ten months here at Texas Tech she's been focused on campus inclusivity.

"It doesn't matter if a student's gay or not or if a student's transgender or not, if they express an interest in Texas Tech, we're going to try to create a community for them, so they feel included."

She recognizes the sign of the times.

"We live in a very contentious time. We are more divided now in ways that we have probably never been. So we have to look at underrepresented or minority populations within a bigger picture."

That bigger picture is made more visible this week as she, her student assistants and several other campus organizations are celebrating the 3rd Annual Pride Week.

"We're offering a very impressive Pride Week. It's focused on cisgender, heterosexual individuals talking about how you serve as a better ally to underrepresented populations, not just LGBTQIA, but all underrepresented populations."

Two of Randall's upperclassmen student workers, Parker Reyes and Viet Nguyen said their experiences at Texas Tech have mainly been positive regardless of their backgrounds.

"I went to high school in a very conservative area, where I was also the only Asian-identifying person in my graduating class," Nguyen said. "So, from there to here, it feels very inclusive, but on Parker's side, I'm not sure."

"I was more like, 'oh my god it's not going to be safe for me," Reyes said. "This is not Austin, not where I went to high school, but Tech itself, I definitely feel very included and it's only gotten better."

The students are encouraged by the campus's LGBT-friendly growth and the support from Texas Tech higher-ups.

"We have a lot of faculty and staff members that are coming to all of our events and that's one of the biggest things. I understand there's so many different students from different walks of life and that's not really controllable. But I think when it comes to the faculty and staff here, and how they take care of us, that's definitely where I feel very included," Reyes said.

Texas Tech's practice of inclusivity earned the campus a "Premier" ranking on the National Campus Pride index something Reyes and Nguyen both attribute to the foundation of the Office of the LGBTQIA and its administrator.

"Our pride index was a 2 before she got here, and now it's a 4, and our goal was like a 3," Reyes said.

"I would say, without her, we wouldn't be where we are right now," Nguyen said.

"I absolutely agree, I think she's phenomenal," Reyes said.

Randall said her students are her first and foremost priority and she's available to them whenever needed in the Office of the LGBTQIA.. 

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