Queer Liberation Front to gauge student safety on KSU campus

Steve Bushong

A new student group supporting the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on campus is taking an initiative today in its call for a safer campus.

The Queer Liberation Front will distribute a 13-question survey asking students’ opinions on safety-related issues.

The survey, made brief to encourage participation, will be circulated in classes members attend and in residence halls where they live. The survey will ask about students’ satisfaction with issues such as campus security, emergency phones and exterior lighting.

Because the group has just 15 members, the survey’s initial distribution will be limited in scope, but the group’s co-chair, senior philosophy major April Templeman, said it’s a start.

“It’s not going to be entirely complete because we have finals coming up,” Templeman said. “We want to do what we can now.”

Surveying will continue during winter break and into next semester. When complete, the survey’s results will be presented to campus security and Kent State Police Services, Templeman said.

Once student opinion is gathered and presented, Templeman hopes the university will take action to rectify any cited problems.

“I’d like to see the safety concerns dealt with by the end of next semester,” Templeman said.

The Queer Liberation Front was formed by Templeman and co-chair Josh Sebrasky, a senior English major, about two months ago to confront issues affecting the university’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Templeman said homosexuals encounter more incidences of violence on campus than any other group, though many of those crimes, including assault, go unreported and, therefore, silent.

“A lot of victims of assault feel ashamed, they’re scared, and they don’t believe police will believe them,” Templeman said.

By working with police services, Templeman aims to make the department more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendly and, thereby, increase crime reporting.

Campus safety isn’t the only issue attracting the Queer Liberation Front’s attention. Some other projects the group plans to pursue include:

• Working with the administration to gain domestic partner benefits for faculty.

• Building a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource center.

• Installing unisex bathrooms for transgender people.

• Adding sexual orientation gender identity in the non-discrimination policy of the university.

But the survey is the group’s first step in balancing the social-sexual scales at Kent State.

“We’ll do our very best to force the university to confront issues they haven’t for a long time,” Templeman said.

But with finals week closing in, she just hopes to “get the ball rolling.”

Contact safety reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].