Pride discusses LGBTQ floor with administration

Corryn Brock, News Editor

As Eastern moves into having a gender-inclusive floor for students to live on, issues surrounding the floor’s name have risen.

The floor is set to open for students next fall but as of right now the floor remains unnamed due to a misunderstanding between the RSO Pride and Eastern administrators.

Monday evening the RSO met with University President David Glassman, Vice President of University Advancement Ken Wetstein and Vice President of Student Affairs Anne Flaherty.

Currently, Pride would like for the floor to be named after former Eastern professor Doug DiBianco. DiBianco taught at Eastern for 32 years.

However, more importantly to Pride, he founded the LGBAU or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Allies Union. The LGBAU later turned into the Pride RSO it is today.

According to Sam Hennegan, Pride President and junior English major, his contribution means a lot to the LGBTQIA+ community on campus.

“He was a person who provided a space for the LGBTQ community when we were not allowed on campus because EIU was not always accessible to our community.”

Hennegan expressed gratitude for the space the community was given, but share it was important to them that the space was given DiBianco’s name because of his work as an ally to the community and his dedication to creating a space for LGBTQIA+ students on Eastern’s campus.

However, Glassman and Wetstein, said it was not as simple as selecting a name that was meaningful to the RSO and the LGBTQIA+ community on campus.

They explained that while in the past it was common for buildings to be named after significant members of the Eastern community, that just is not the case anymore. Now university naming tends to follow strongly in the footsteps of philanthropy and donations.

They used the Glenn Hild Student Art Gallery as an example of the naming process the university has used more recently.

Glenn Hild was a former art department chair and dean of the former College of Arts and Humanities who died in 2018. Since then many in the Eastern community pushed for a gallery to be named after Hild.

After family and friends of Hild raised $100,000 in honor of him in a donation to the university, the gallery was named in his honor.

However, many students in the meeting fought back against the idea that the naming needed to follow a monetary philanthropic contribution due to Hild’s contributions to the LGBTQIA+ community on campus.

Hennegan read the internal governing policy for naming procedure. The policy gives the following guidelines to university spaces being named.

1. Personal, place, or functional names may be recommended for facilities.

2. The recommended name shall be logical in terms of the function of the facility.

3. The recommended name shall have some significance to and meaning for constituencies served by the facility and/or significance to and meaning for the University as a whole.

4. The recommended name shall be consistent with the guidelines provided in the Board of Trustees Regulations cited above.

5. There shall be a relationship between the magnitude of the contribution of that person to the University and the facility–i.e., major building names should be reserved for those individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement and welfare of the institution.

6. At least two years shall pass after the employee’s termination of regular employment, retirement, or death before consideration is given to naming a facility for that individual.

They said the policy does not require philanthropic contributions, specifically financial contributions, for naming.

The final decision of naming, however, comes down to Glassman and Eastern’s Board of Trustees.

Glassman and Wetstein strongly recommended the RSO find an informal name rather than push for an official name, like naming the floor after DiBianco.

Currently it is expected than Glassman, Wetstein and Flaherty will continue the conversation with the RSO at their next meeting.

 

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]