Spectrum connects LGBTQ faculty, alumni with campus community

Jesse Orantek

Kent State has many programs to offer when it comes to its LGBTQ student body on campus.

The LGBTQ Student Center, created almost six years ago, provides students on the Kent Campus with multiple resources, ally training and ways to get involved within the community.

“There are lots of resources for LGBTQ students on campus, but nothing’s ever existed for alumni and faculty,” said Ken Ditlevson, director at the LGBTQ Student Center said.

A new social community for queer and ally faculty and staff has been formed in the Kent community recently. The group is called Spectrum.

Spectrum, which has been in the works to become a group since early January, held its first kickoff event earlier in September at the Local Public House.

Spectrum has continued to promote awareness of the new organization by hosting the first ever Tasty Tuesday with Spectrum event at the Venice Café in downtown Kent this past week.

Tasty Tuesday was a meet-and-greet focused on building connections between staff and faculty, as well as the rest of the community.

Throughout the two-hour event, many members of Spectrum met the people of the community with friendly conversation and warm smiles.

All attendees and visitors had to do was sign in at the door, and they could enjoy the remainder of the event meeting and talking to different people within the group.

“There is a lot of student support in the college community,” said Amanda Leu, coordinator at the Office of Academic Diversity Outreach. “Many times faculty will leave an institution because they may not feel accepted there. Hopefully, this group will help keep them here.”

When the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mentioned that a team ought to be put together to create this new group, Leu volunteered at the opportunity to be Spectrum’s head coordinator.

The group was created with the intension to become an avenue of support for not only faculty and staff (at the university), but the entire community of Kent, Leu said.

By the end of the second semester, Leu hopes to have a full resource guide on their website. The guide will list all businesses in the Kent area that are LGBTQ-run or opened, to better help these faculty connect with their community.

In the future, Leu hopes that Spectrum will continue to hold their collaborative outreach as their highest priority, while also continuing to host events such as Tasty Tuesday to further promote connection with the community.

Contact Jesse Orantek at [email protected]