Students React to the Formation of Queer Advisory Council

As Harvard’s new Queer Advisory Council rounds out its membership as it prepares to convene for the first time this fall, several student leaders said they are optimistic that the Council will provide important opportunities to address a wide range of issues relevant to Harvard’s BGLTQ community.

The QuAC will consist of one representative member from each of the eight BGLTQ-identified student groups on campus and five at-large members from the undergraduate community as a whole. The application period for students interested in filling one of the Council’s at-large seats end on Monday.

Brianna J. Suslovic ’16, communications and conference chair for the QSA, praised the formation of the Council and said she hopes the QuAC will give direction and cohesion to ideas that have been long discussed in the BGLTQ community, such as gender-neutral housing in the Houses.

“The [QuAC] has a lot of potential, but there are different ideas of how to move forward, and what that looks like,” she said.

Suslovic also said that she would like to see the QuAC address divisions in Harvard’s BGLTQ community, citing the varied and numerous perspectives that exist among Harvard’s queer students. The student groups that will be involved in the QuAC each differ greatly in size and membership, and according to Suslovic, this has led to a lack of collaboration in the past.

Neimy K. Escobar ’15, co-chair of Harvard’s Queer Students and Allies who will serve on the QuAC, said she is pleased that the QuAC will provide grants for students hosting events related to the BGLTQ community. Escobar, who is also a coordinator for the Queer Resource Center, said she is excited about the initiative both as a member of the QuAC and as a student who could potentially benefit from its funding.

Escobar added that while it is too early to pinpoint all of the specific issues that the QuAC will address, she is excited for all the new opportunities the initiative will create.

Suslovic said that one of the most important functions of QuAC will be its role in permitting students to give direct feedback to the administration.

Kirin Gupta ’16, cultural diversity chair for the QSA, agreed that the QuAC is a step forward, citing the success of similar student advocacy groups such as the Harvard Foundation Student Advisory Committee and the Women’s Cabinet of Harvard College Women’s Center. However, she also cautioned that such groups sometimes fail at being truly representative.

“The real concern is to make sure that student voices really are heard,” she said. “The QuAC should be representative of the queer student body as a whole, and not just sections of it.”

—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at brianna.macgregor@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.

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