EIU Pride to protest name of floor for LGBTQ students

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

On Monday, March 22 at 12 p.m., EIU Pride will be having a sit-in to fight for the new gender-inclusive housing to be named after former Eastern music professor Doug DiBianco.

The gender-inclusive floor will open next fall in McKinney Hall and is intended to provide a comfortable and supportive environment for students of all genders and sexual identities.

The sit-in will start with everyone meeting at the Mellin Steps, the steps outside of the Doudna Fine Arts Center, then walking to the lawn in front of Old Main.

The organization is fighting to have the name be used on the housing application, Eastern’s website, and all marketing.

The organization was hoping to name the gender-inclusive floor after Doug DiBianco because in 1992, he founded EIU Pride when LGBTQIA+ students did not have somewhere to meet on campus.

Sam Hennegan, junior English and philosophy major and EIU Pride President, said the name would honor DiBianco.

“When [Eastern] denied the LGBTQIA+ community from meeting on campus, [DiBianco] created a space off campus for the community to meet and feel safe,” Hennegan said. “He is important to us because he shaped Pride into what it is.”

The name was also chosen to keep closeted students safe. The administration wants to name the floor something related to Pride, but EIU Pride says that name could out students who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to their families.

According to a press release from EIU Pride, “Many closeted students have their parents know where they live. By naming [the floor] after a person, it decreases the likelihood that parents will question their housing assignment.”

The organization also chose DiBianco’s name because they want to make sure everyone feels welcome on the floor. “It is not exclusive to the community,” the press release stated. “It is also open to allies and people that need to be on the floor.”

When the organization met with President Glassman, he told the group they could only use the name unofficially, meaning students can choose to call it that if they would like, but Eastern will not be directly calling the floor the Doug DiBianco community.

Glassman’s main reasons for not naming the floor after DiBianco are because it would break tradition and because no donation was made. EIU Pride is protesting against the administration’s decision.

 

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]