Episode 04: LGBTQ+ Resources at NYU
Monroe France is the Associate Vice President for Global Engagement and Inclusive Leadership at New York University. Monroe is responsible for enhancing inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging (IDBE) opportunities and resources for graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty, as well as the staff and administrators across all of NYU campuses and global academic centers. Prior to this role, Monroe served as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives at New York University. He has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, professional trainer, consultant, strategist, and keynote presenter. He has taught courses; delivered lectures and keynote addresses on inclusive and innovative leadership, transformation and human rights across the globe. Monroe is an adjunct professor for the NYU Silver School of Social Work and NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Communication's Higher Education and Student Affairs program. Monroe has received numerous honors and accolades, including New York University’s 2012 Distinguished Administrator of the Year Award; Student Affairs Administrators’ (NASPA) Diversity Achievement Award; and the 2018 The Ohio State University’s Dr. Maude Stewart for exceptional leadership, service and innovation in the profession of Higher Education and Student Affairs.
Chris Woods is the Director of the NYU LGBTQ+ Center. Prior to this role, he served as the Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQ Outreach at Columbia University and as the Program Administrator for the NYU LGBTQ+ Center. Chris has dedicated much of his academic and professional life to LGBTQ+ student services in higher education and the intersections of faith and sexuality on college campuses. He is a current board co-chair, and former racial justice chair, for the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and was a chapter contributor in the 2017 book Queer People of Color in Higher Education. He has given talks on the topics of queer and trans people of color, racial justice and intersectionality, bi/multiracial identities, and the intersections of faith, race, and sexuality at conferences, colleges, and universities across the nation. Chris received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies from New York University and his Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University.
Intro Voices [00:00:05] Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me?
Intro Voices [00:00:31] This is “You Matter”, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Public Safety.
Karen Ortman [00:00:36] Hi everyone and welcome back to ”You Matter”, a podcast created to teach, inspire, and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion, and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your co-host Karen Ortman, Assistant Vice President of Field Operations at the Department of Public Safety and a retired law enforcement professional.
Sabah Fatima [00:01:02] And I am Sabah Fatima, a pre-med graduate student here at NYU’s College of Global Public Health. If any information presented today is triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the wellness exchange at 212-443-9999.
Karen Ortman [00:01:14] Today we introduce Monroe France, Associate Vice President of Global Student Engagement and inclusive leadership, and Chris Woods, director of NYU LGBTQ Plus Center. Monroe and Chris, thank you so much for joining us today. Monroe, let's begin by talking about your role at NYU and how your areas of responsibility are focused on producing intentional and sustained educational initiatives.
Monroe France [00:01:40] Thank you Karen, it’s great to be here this morning. So my work and my role as an Associate Vice President in the Office of Global Inclusion Diversity in Strategic Innovation is to help to set the vision and strategic approach to our work to advancing inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity, not only here on our campus in New York City but in Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and all of our global sites and global programs.
Karen Ortman [00:02:04] Can I ask you how it is you communicate your mission to our study away sites, our global sites?
Monroe France [00:02:12] Yes, sure, absolutely. So what we try to do is work in partnership -or what we do is work in partnership- with our colleagues in global programs and they have designated staff members at each site. They help to do the work within a local context. And so we provide the framework and support to them to ensure that they have the tools and resources and awareness and knowledge to advance to work within their localized global context.
Karen Ortman [00:02:37] That's great.
Monroe France [00:02:39] So in terms of the sustained dialogue and education work, the reason why we say sustained is because we want to ensure that it's not a one-off. Our belief is that one-offs tend to not necessarily get us to the place we need to be. But by having sustained educational initiatives and engagement, then we can think about the work more strategically, we can think about how the work progresses from point A to point Z over time. And so that is done within a strategic framework.
Karen Ortman [00:03:12] Can you explain how you measure your impact to our community both in New York City and abroad.
Monroe France [00:03:16] Absolutely. Sometimes it’s anecdotal, you know, hearing the stories that you get from students, staff, faculty, or other affiliates and constituents at the university on how their work has impacted their lives. In other ways of course, we try to do assessment, you know, so we can get the more concrete data and feedback. And then finally what I would say what I have seen is when you work with a particular unit or area or campus or school at the university and then when they start to take the work and responsibility on as their own.
Monroe France [00:03:47] And so when you have a unit or school who says, you know, “Can you work with us to train us so we can deliver the work ourselves?” Or that they may take on and create their own committees or hire staff people, that becomes the point in their localized school unit or campus to continue to advance the work. And for me, that's an example where you see impact and you see structural impact because our goal is that the diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity is embedded throughout all facets of campus. And so that then the work is actually coming from an approach that meets people where they are and those specific needs are addressed within their localized context.
Karen Ortman [00:04:27] Interesting. So you spoke of assessments. What kind of assessments?
Monroe France [00:04:32] Sure, sometimes there are qualitative assessments where we may bring in small groups of people within a particular constituency group or context, focus groups, to ask for their feedback on a particular program or an initiative or an experience or either a strategic initiative or a vision that we've had that we've put into place. Other times it's literally experiential surveys after an event or program or experience where we ask for immediate feedback about, “How did you like it, what did you learn, what are you taking away from it, what more would you have wanted in this experience?” And there are more longitudinal studies where we will, similar to being a NYU study, where we have folks reflect on their time and experiences here at the institution over a particular lifespan, right, where we're doing a very comprehensive deeper dive around the experiences people may have here at the institution as it relates to belonging, as it relates to inclusivity, diversity, and as well equity.
Karen Ortman [00:05:31] Okay. So you touch students, faculty and staff.
Monroe France [00:05:38] Correct, yep and so my role - more and more I have advanced into really focusing primarily in my day-to-day work on staff and faculty, and then my staff and colleagues who work in our multicultural center, our Center for Multicultural Educational programs, and LGBTQ Plus center, do the day-to-day work with students and so I help to create the vision for that work. But then the two senior staff leaders, Chris Wirtz in LGBTQ Plus Center and Leah Lattimore, Assistant Vice President and the director of the multicultural center, then do the day to day work, with students primarily, but also with staff and faculty as well.
Karen Ortman [00:06:18] And your work is inclusive of anybody who is interested.
Monroe France [00:06:22] Absolutely right.
Karen Ortman [00:06:25] So it might not be a member of the LGBTQ plus community that's welcome to join in any of the services that you provide.
Monroe France [00:06:33] Diversity inclusion is everyone's responsibility.
Karen Ortman [00:06:37]Absolutely.
Monroe France [00:06:38] Advancing the work and creating a greater sense of belonging, diversity inclusion hits everyone, right. And so even if you're part of a majority group around a particular identity- so within the context of LGBTQ plus identities, even if you identify as straight or cis gender, for example non-transgender - we believe firmly that understanding the experiences around sexuality and gender, even if you're not a part of the more marginalized or minoritised group, it’s still important for you to reflect on how you experience privilege, how you can be a support or practice solidarity to people from those identities. And so when you're in a learning environment, we want to educate everyone, right, on how we create a more inclusive environment for all people in our institution inclusive of LGBTQ plus identified individuals.
Karen Ortman [00:07:30] It's important work that you do.
Monroe France [00:07:31] Thank you.
Sabah Fatima [00:07:33] What are the elements that make up a safe space for students?
Monroe France [00:07:36] Right. Thank you, great question. You know I actually want to shift that nomenclature a bit and move from safe spaces to affirming spaces.
Sabah Fatima [00:07:43] I love that.
Monroe France [00:07:44] And so what we try to do - we can't guarantee safety. You just can't, right? That as much as we can do all the work around education and put in all the structures in place to try to ensure that everyone is safe, inevitably they'll have control. We don't have control over every individual and so what the goal should be is to have spaces where if someone does experience bias or does experience transphobia, homophobia, or heterosexism in a way in which that impacts them personally, that they have somewhere to go that they can be affirmed around their identities. They can be affirmed around their experiences and they can be heard and affirmed when they're experiencing bias to know that there is someone that is going to care, that they’re welcome in that institution.
Karen Ortman [00:08:27] May I interrupt for one second. So anytime we use a term, I think it's important to define. So, Sabah asked you a question about a safe space and you changed it to an affirming space. Can you explain to our listeners why and why that's a better way in which to phrase the question.
Monroe France [00:08:50] Yes, so I would say safe space, we can't guarantee it, right. That you don't want to set an expectation of something that I have no control over. However, creating a space in which that we have put in structures, we put in strategies, we put in programs and initiatives that show that those students, people who identify as part of the LGBT Plus community, and everyone has a right to be here at the institution, that they feel a sense of belonging. That's where we get into the affirmation, right, and so you see programs that reflect you. You see people in leadership roles that are out that reflect you.
Karen Ortman [00:09:29] So much more welcoming.
Monroe France [00:09:31] Right. And so that to us is like something that we can control, that we can guarantee working towards that. Now some folks, when you feel affirmed, it feels more safe, but I can't guarantee that everyone's going to have an absolutely safe space, safe experience here at the university.
Karen Ortman [00:09:48] And it just makes the point that words matter.
Monroe France [00:09:53] Absolutely, yeah.
Sabah Fatima [00:09:53] It just makes it feel like you're not only looking for a safe space but you're looking at the elements that make up a safe space that are going to affirm that. What are some common issues that are surfacing around the global campuses?
Monroe France [00:10:06] Wow, you know, so you have political incidents that happen, right. Whether it is like a particular incident that kind of creates either a sense of worry or concern. There are laws that are in place at times that, you know, we have no control over as an institution. Though, you know, across all of our campuses I can say that staff are trained and we're in a constant and consistent sustained engagement with staff to ensure that they have the tools and the resources and the knowledge and awareness to support all of our students, and also staff and faculty who may identify as a part of the LGBTQ Plus community. And so even when those incidents come up again our goal is to create affirming spaces and a place in which that even if it happens outside of campus - even sometimes on campus, because things do happen - that students know that they have someone on staff, and faculty and staff as well know that they have someone on staff that's going to be there to be supportive. Even if they don't have all the answers they know where to go to get the answers.
Karen Ortman [00:11:14] Do you have an on call rotation that you subscribe to?
Monroe France [00:11:20] Well, you know, it's the same wellness line. And so what happens is when students call the wellness hotline, the wellness line is equipped to know who to contact, you know, to provide the educational support or additional support that a student may need if they experience some form of bias or if they find themselves in a space in which that they feel unsafe.
Karen Ortman [00:11:40] Okay, well thank you. We are going to switch over to Chris. Chris Woods. So Chris, welcome again, in your role as director of the LGBTQ plus center. Can you describe as the director the ways in which the LGBTQ plus Center serves the NYU community.
Chris Woods [00:12:03] Sure. So the LGBTQ plus center exists for students, faculty, staff, and alumni as a resource that provides opportunities for people to engage with LGBTQ plus communities. So when we say LGBTQ plus what we mean- first I'll say is when we say LGBTQ plus, which is the current acronym we're using, we mean lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer. The “Q” can also mean questioning and the “plus” creates space and opportunity for the many other letters in the acronym that continue going. But the reality is that we couldn't necessarily continue going with an acronym. So we use a plus as an acknowledgement that there are many more communities outside of the acronym of LGBTQ that we can't necessarily kind of fill in that space. So what the center does is we create opportunities for people to engage with LGBTQ plus communities. So engagement can look like people who are part of the community wanting to connect with one another as well as people who are not a part of the community who are looking to find ways to support and offer affirming spaces for LGBTQ plus communities. And so we do that through programs and events, leadership opportunities for students, primarily through education and training consultation to different departments here on the square as well as at the global sites, and then through advocacy, so supporting the institution in progressing in terms of policy and practice around LGBTQ communities.
Karen Ortman [00:13:27] OK. In your capacity as director of the LGBTQ plus center, is your involvement strictly with students or do you interface with faculty and staff as well?
Chris Woods [00:13:41] So my work kind of spans across students, faculty, staff, and alumni. On the day-to-day in terms of the physical center space, a lot of the people that I see or work with are primarily students. But in terms of the work institutionally that I do, a lot of it actually is related to staff and faculty development in service of LGBTQ students as well as in service of supporting faculty and staff who are LGBTQ plus who are needing more affirming policies practices in campus experiences, because LGBTQ plus faculty and staff also have experiences that need support as well.
Karen Ortman [00:14:17] If you had to name the top, say, three issues affecting the LGBTQ plus community, what would you say that those issues are and what resources would you recommend in response to those issues for our listeners.
Chris Woods [00:14:40] That's a great question. Three is a very difficult number. So I'll say just a couple of things that have felt really present in the past year since I've been the director. So a couple of things that have come up have primarily been surrounding trans and nonbinary communities. So the first thing I'll say is our work with pronouns and misgendering that happens on campus. One effort that we've been taking as a center in partnership with the Office of the Registrar is working with our systems to allow a space for people to self-disclose or self-identify their pronouns, for faculty primarily, but hopefully to extend to administrators who use university systems. And primarily we worked on- we've been working on that project to improve the experience of misgendering on campus which happens frequently to our trans and nonbinary community members, which includes students as well as faculty and staff. So the pronoun working group that I've been working with the registrar's office on has included conversations with H.R. to improve processes for our faculty and staff as well.
Karen Ortman [00:15:42] So let me interrupt you. So you say misgendering- that might not be an obvious - someone might not have a knowledge base with respect to misgendering. So can you explain to our listeners what misgendering actually is and what it means to the recipient who is being misgendered.
Chris Woods [00:16:06] Yeah. And so maybe I'll start also by defining trans and nonbinary which I kind of used earlier. So trans or transgender refers to anyone whose sex assigned at birth - so what the doctor, doula, midwife, parent, however you were birthed - looked at a person's genitals usually and made a determination of one's gender that then kind of continues over time but that's what we call sex assigned at birth because that's something assigned to you. Nonbinary means someone whose - is a gender identity for someone who may not identify strictly male or female; may identify as neither male nor female or may identify as having aspects of both maleness and femaleness. So that's trans and nonbinary as kind of larger umbrella terms. So going back to the question about misgendering. So misgendering essentially is any instance or moment where we refer to a person with the wrong gender. So we do that in lots of different ways. So one of the ways that are kind of probably the most common that people talk about currently the most often is through pronouns. Right. So that's the most common way that we misgender people. So it's using the wrong pronouns for a person often based on our perceptions of how people identify, not based off of how people actually identify. Often times misgendering is a very unintentional act. Sometimes people do it intentionally and in those cases it's very clearly a bias situation but unintentionally is where it happens most often. It's often based off of our kind of our preconceived notions around gender and what we perceive. We kind of make some sort of gendered assumptions and use pronouns in that particular way. Other ways we misgender people is through things like Sir and Ma'am language right or any kind of honorifics like Mr. or Mrs, Miss. We do that again from a place of politeness oftentimes, especially if you're in a field that's very customer service oriented. We'll say things like Mister or if you grew up in the south perhaps or some part of the world where those are polite ways to refer to people, but unfortunately you might also be misgendering people in the process.
Karen Ortman [00:18:03] So how does one know if they are about to misgender somebody when they're simply greeting another human being? How does one tell that they're crossing that line?
Chris Woods [00:18:18] Yeah, it's hard to tell, right? I think the way that we talk about in our education - so we have different kinds of education that we do at the center. So two things that we do currently is an intro to NYU LGBTQ which is kind of like an hour long kind of module that is really focused on information sharing, and then we have Safe Zone, which is our three hour training which is a more robust conversation around gender and sexuality and LGBTQ communities. And in that training we talk a lot about those gendered assumptions that we make very often based on perceived expression of gender. So oftentimes we'll see a person and we'll say it's a boy or a girl or it's a man or a woman and we do that subconsciously. And the only time it becomes conscious to us is when someone doesn't fit what our preconceived notion is of what male or female or masculine, feminine, male, man or woman is. And so oftentimes we don't know and so in those, the way that we try to frame it at the center is we try to shift attention away from trying to really understand a person's gender because a lot of the times it's not necessarily important for an interaction. So let's say I'm walking down the street, do I really need- the questions I start to ask myself when I have a moment where I'm like, “Oh, I wonder what that person's gender is,” I start to think, “Do I need to know? Is that important? Am I actually going to have a conversation with this person?” to start to kind of unlearn the process of saying - of assuming people's genders, right. But when I'm going to have a potential more sustained or engaged conversation I might think a little bit about again, do I need to know someone's gender. Is there a need for this kind of gendered language. So at Safe Zone we talk a lot about, here are some of the gendered terms that we use. And then what are some alternatives. So gendered language that we can use to be just as polite but not necessarily use gendered language. So for example, in conversations with Public Safety we've talked a lot about how sir and ma'am is often used as language, A) from politeness and B) to get someone's attention. But like let's say a student is walking into the Kimmel Center and has head buds or air pods in - you think they're going to hear if you say sir or ma'am? Probably not. Right. So that's not going to help get somebody’s attention. But in the process it could also misgender someone, so how about we just say “Hey” or just go close to the person and try to grab their attention, right. Maybe make it say, like, “Oh you with the black dress are you blah blah blah blah.” The other thing I'll say is I also talked a lot about, instead of saying, “Sir, how are you doing” or “Hi sir, how may I help you”, you could just say, “Hi, how may I help you” and it’s just as polite. But again, it's really hard to unlearn language that is really grounded and rooted in a culture of politeness. Right. I talk about how that shift is hard. It takes time, but a part of that is trying. And also being open to the possibilities that you can still be just as polite, just as warm, just as welcoming, and not necessarily used gendered language.
Karen Ortman [00:21:08] Right. I have been advised of situations in my role in Public Safety where a student, for example, comes forward and is very, very offended and feels almost assaulted or maybe assaulted because they have been misgendered. Can you speak to our audience and explain why that is such a violation to somebody who is hurt by that and have it educate our listeners as to why that is such an egregious offense to someone.
Chris Woods [00:22:01] Yeah. I mean, from my perspective, words like violence is a very broad umbrella term. Right. When I think about violence I think it expands and includes many many things. On one extreme, when thinking specifically about misgendering and trans communities, in many times and spaces trans folks experience violence that is active and physical, sometimes results in acts of sexualized violence, Intimate partner violence and other kinds of violence, right, that are physical. And wrapped up in that sometimes and frequently is misgendering. Right. So when thinking about the ways that news, for example, covers the experiences of trans folks who've been murdered, right, unfortunately, let's say. Oftentimes those news sources misgender folks in the process. So even after someone's death, this person is getting misgendered which is dishonoring in lots of ways. But oftentimes in the process of experiencing perhaps physical violence a person may get misgendered in that process. So that's one extreme.
Chris Woods [00:23:03] But all in there is also various gradients of violence right. So, for example, a person can get misgendered and experience kind of verbal abuse in the process of being misgendered, right, and misgendering being a tactic to do that. But then in terms of the unintentional ways I was talking about, right. So oftentimes misgendering is unintentional, but thinking about when I think about violence and when I think about trauma, a lot of that is built off of time. And over time- it's experience over time and our interpretations and experience of violence can often be, and the trauma that we hold with that, can be kind of wrapped up in how much we experience something.
Chris Woods [00:23:43] So a person who is of trans experience who gets misgendered by, let's say, by me one time, that may not have been the first time I did it, even if unintentional, and it may not have been the first time that person experienced it that day, that week, that year, that month. Right. So it can really be something that somebody is experiencing consistently on an ongoing basis from multiple sources and so in terms of using the word violence or how it can be violating is it's really- misgendering is not seeing a person in their own experience, right, seeing a person for who they are in their own identity. It's invalidating in many ways and in that way it can be violent.
Karen Ortman [00:24:22] And the cumulative effect of that I'm sure adds to the violation.
Chris Woods [00:24:29] It can be harmful, right.
Sabah Fatima [00:24:30] Yeah. And you don't realize it because people are so used to subconsciously saying it over and over again that it’s just part of it. In what ways - I know you mentioned safe zone, but in other ways do you inspire and educate the NYU community to learn about issues facing the LGBTQ Plus community?
Chris Woods [00:24:46] Yeah, I think my approach to doing this work, like Monroe said, is not one-off, and then the other thing I think about, to Munroe's point, about what would it look like for people to feel like this is a responsibility of their own. That's the type of work that I'm trying to inspire. Our center, where it's a small team, we do the work with very little resources or limited resources, right, to do the work, and when I think about - we literally can't do everything, right. I don't think we need to be nor should we be everything for everyone, but we can create the mechanisms and provide the support, create the training, build up the capacity that people need to be able to do that work themselves. And so for me, when I go into spaces to do Safe Zone or an intro to NYU LGBTQ, the point that I really try to harp or focus on is strategies. Right. Really practical things like, okay, so what are things that you're dealing with in your current office or your current department? What are ways that you want to take this work and champion it, right. How do you want to see this happen in your work. So I think - and how can I support you, how can the center support you in that work. Yeah. And so the other thing I'll say is the way that we do work at the center as well is that we're not - I think a lot of institutions and offices will do work for communities meaning, “Here's a program, come to this program. Here's a training, come to this training” versus saying and what I'm trying to shift our culture to being at the center is how can we do things with people so people see themselves as a part of the planning of a process or the planning of advocacy training programs events - essentially so people feel invested so when they come into the center and see the center's work they're like, “Oh, that's my work too, oh, I did something there”, right. And so if people start to see themselves in the work and start to see themselves involved in what's being put out, that'll hopefully kind of build out and people will get - many people across this campus get excited to be a part of what we're doing, right.
Sabah Fatima [00:26:38] Yeah. You learn by doing it, and what better way for it too. That's amazing.
Chris Woods [00:26:44] Yeah and we have a lot of people who are really excited and passionate at NYU about LGBTQ communities and diversity broadly and so I think just trying to create more opportunities for them.
Sabah Fatima [00:26:53] I love it, so welcoming, it's more comfortable for everyone to come and approach it. Where do you see your work going in the next three years?
Munroe France [00:27:00] Yeah sure, thank you Sabah. So I would say over the next three-five years in terms of our work progressing, it goes back to this piece around wanting to ensure that diversity, inclusion, and belonging, equity is truly embedded throughout all facets of our campus. And so whether it's like you're in the School of Nursing if you're in School of Public Health, if you're in Wagner, Stern, across offices all throughout the university and even in student clubs and organizations, what we want folks to have is a strategic plan and also stated goals for advancing inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity. To me that will be a win, if everyone truly sees it as the central responsibility and a part of being excellent. It's, I mean, inclusive excellence. Yes. And that is inseparable from one another. And for me, it, all the work that we would do over the next three to five years is getting us to that place.
Karen Ortman [00:27:58] Sounds like it’s going great.
Sabah Fatima [00:27:59] Yeah, I can't wait.
Chris Woods [00:28:04] And for me I'll say I have lots of plans for the center. So this is my first year as the director just passed this past academic year and so -
Karen Ortman [00:28:13] Congratulations.
Chris Woods [00:28:14] Thank you very much. And so it’s a busy year with Stonewall 50 and World Pride so that kind of consumed my life it felt like. It was a very exciting time coming to NYU.
Sabah Fatima [00:28:20] You’ve done a lot of work in that one year.
Chris Woods [00:28:21] Yeah, it's been a great year and when I think about the issues that communities are experiencing or have been shared with me, things that I think about are continuing the pronoun working group kind of work. So one of the areas is primarily around how to engage faculty in conversations around trans inclusion in the classroom which is often, I think, a space where students experience the most unintentional often misgendering. I mean, a lot of faculty have shared a need and a desire for these conversations to happen and feeling like there's not spaces for them to have really engaged and thoughtful conversations in that area. The other thing I'll say is NYU is very disconnected in lots of ways and can often feel really hard to navigate. And so I think a lot about how can we centralize information through the LGBTQ plus center for students to be able to navigate the institution and work with campus partners to be able to make that easier for LGBTQ plus students to navigate- specifically trans students- navigate things, for example, like insurance coverage, housing, various things, and we have some of those things but it's improving some of those resources. So, for example, we have our trans at NYU web page that exists currently but it's continuing to update and improve that and make it more clear for students, so it's not specifically trans and nonbinary students can navigate the university in a clearer or easier way, and then a couple other spaces that we want to focus on is with our graduate students. Oftentimes people think - and graduate students have shared a lot of feedback about - while grad students are a very transient community in lots of ways because many of them can be part time can often live off campus. But I think people often assume that they don't need the same kind of support services or resources, when in fact, especially for LGBTQ plus graduate students, not all of them are coming to NYU with the same kind of level of understanding or awareness of their own experiences or identities. Sometimes graduate school for them at NYU is the first time they're experiencing their own or coming out as LGBTQ plus and so they need just as much resources and support as our undergraduate students who we will often traditionally associate with coming out. And so that's an area that we're really trying to focus on. Additionally, faculty and staff have many many needs, right, that I think now that the center's work has expanded to include - formally includes - graduate students, faculty, and staff. I'm really excited about all of the work that we can do with our faculty and staff to improve their experiences as well. And then the last thing I'll say - big project is in 2021, it's the 25th anniversary of the LGBTQ plus center. And so I'm really excited to celebrate that to bring alumni back on campus and to really engage a community in a process of celebrating that opportunity and also thinking about what is the future of the center looking like.
Karen Ortman [00:30:57] Exciting times.
Sabah Fatima [00:30:58] Yes. Thank you for creating an affirming space for our community and for coming on to You Matter and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You Matter.
Karen Ortman [00:31:07] If any information presented today was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the wellness exchange at 212-443-9999. You can also get in touch with NYU’s Department of Public Safety and their victim services unit by calling 212-998-2222.
Sabah Fatima [00:31:30] For more podcasts like these, you can find us by searching for "You Matter" on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.