Saint Mary’s Launches New Subcommittee to Affirm and Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Communities

After several years of dedication, hard work, and collaboration between faculty, staff, and students, the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CCIE) recently announced the formation of Que(e)ries: Diverse Genders and Sexualities Action Subcommittee. It is especially poignant that the launch is occurring during PRIDE Month, celebrated annually during the month of June.

Anna Corwin, assistant professor of Anthropology, and Mike Hoffshire, director of Student Engagement and Academic Success serve as the inaugural co-chairs for Que(e)ries. “After collaborating on the idea for the subcommittee with members of the faculty, staff, and students, we submitted a proposal to the CCIE for their consideration,” said Corwin. “It was important that we had input and representation from the many types of diverse intersectional identities at Saint Mary’s including racial, gender, sexuality, family, and relational identities and more.” Hoffshire added, “I am so excited to see the formation of our new Que(e)ries action CCIE subcommittee. This is a direct result of the tireless advocacy and labor of many individuals that have come before us. I look forward to working with the College’s many constituents to promote an inclusive and just environment for all members of the queer community.”

The Que(e)ries subcommittee shares as its vision, actions that affirm and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ communities at Saint Mary’s, through the promotion of equitable and collaborative work grounded in the rich traditions of resistance, liberation, and social justice. Jill Nelson ’10, field placement coordinator in the KSOE Graduate Counseling Department has been actively involved with the formation of Que(e)ries since she was a student, and now as an alumna and member of the College staff, she is excited to bear witness to its official launch. “It is deeply meaningful to be part of the founding of Que(e)ries: Diverse Genders and Sexualities Action Subcommittee of the CCIE, as it has been an intersectional collaboration between LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty on campus,” stated Nelson. “With the guiding Lasallian principles of social justice, respect for all persons, inclusive community, quality education, and the open hearted teachings of Jesus, the subcommittee's goal is to uplift marginalized voices in our community, and celebrate individuals and families in all their forms.”

Pride Month serves as a reminder of progress that has been made toward equality for the LGBTQIA+ community; yet challenges of systemic discrimination and violence remain harsh realities that must continue to be proactively addressed. Kathy Littles, associate provost for faculty affairs and senior diversity officer stated, “I am happy to have the Que(e)ries subcommittee join with the other five subcommittees of the CCIE, where they will unite with us in making structural and policy changes at Saint Mary’s, and to surface issues that require change in our community and on our campus.” Littles added, “Anna, Michael, and their amazing committee have cultivated a beautiful charge that is deeply aligned with the CCIE. I’m looking forward to collaborating with them as co-chair of CCIE, and celebrating the rich history of social justice that is grounded in the work of the LBGTQIA+ community.”

In celebration of Pride Month, and the formal creation of the Que(e)ries subcommittee, all members of the Saint Mary’s community, especially students, faculty, and staff who identify within the diverse LGBTQIA+ communities, are invited to participate in subcommittee’s first virtual mixer on Wednesday, June 23 from 3 to 4 p.m. To RSVP, click here.