EIU Pride seeking assistance for naming push

Corryn Brock, News Editor

Eastern’s LGBTQIA+ RSO is seeking the assistance of alumni and current members in the group’s battle to name the floor designated as gender inclusive housing.

EIU Pride is currently asking the university to name the space after former Eastern professor Doug DiBianco.

Dibianco taught for 32 years but also founded the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Allies Union that later became EIU Pride. 

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.

University President David Glassman and Vice President of University Advancement, said at an RSO meeting Monday the naming process is not as simple as selecting a name significant to EIU Pride.

The men explained that while in the past it was common practice to name buildings after established members of the university community, now university naming strongly follows in the footsteps of philanthropy and donations to the university.

They explained this is now commonplace at universities around the country.

Specifically for Eastern however, the university naming policy follows six guidelines for naming spaces on campus:

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.

EIU Pride shared that the majority of the group believes university should consider DiBianco’s time spent working for the university and his service to LGBTQIA+ students should be considered a philanthropic gift. 

Now, in a message to former and current EIU Pride members, Hennegan is asking for their support to push for the new space to be named after DiBianco.

They explained what the space was and what it means to the current students. Hennegan also explained why the name was so important to the current EIU Pride membership.

“This is an inclusive community designed to create a comfortable and supportive environment for all students of all gender and sexual identities. We are excited to have this community, however, we also see a problem with naming it something related to the GSD community to keep closeted students safe,” Hennegan said. “We would like to name it the Doug DiBianco community.”

“There is no better person to name this living-learning community after than the person that started all of this for us.”

Hennegan said in the Facebook posting to alumni that Glassman gave the RSO two reasons for why the floor could not be named after DiBianco, tradition and monetary donation.

They responded by saying:

“Tradition: EIU’s mission statement says that they are ‘committed to diversity and inclusion.’ So it is tradition that they are inclusive yet are deciding if they will let us, a minority group name our own community. EIU also believes themselves to try and be progressive yet they talked about not trying to break tradition.

Monetary Donation: Glassman thinks only wealthy donors deserve a name dedication, in the Internal Governing Policies #148-Naming, it states, “There shall be a relationship between the magnitude of the contribution of that person to the University and the facility” Which is ignoring Doug DiBianco’s decades of devoted work for EIU’s music department and queer students that led to the creation of Pride. When asked what the cost would be President Glassman never gave an answer. So, we cannot even begin to inquire about fundraising through Dr. Wetstein.’

Hennegan concluded their message to ask for alumni and current members to email Glassman to name the community’s space after DiBianco, intending for the name to follow the group as it grows and evolves into other living areas on campus.

The floor will open next Fall in McKinney Hall. It is intended to house primarily LGBTQIA+ students as well as allies of the community.

According to Eastern’s Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, “Programming will be focused on LGBTQIA+ identities and a strong relationship with the GSD Center means that you have extra people in your corner. We hope that this floor provides a space for students to live without having to justify their identity!”

 

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