New programs pitched together, not able to be taken together


On Sept. 17, The Gender and Sexuality Center, the Gay Straight Alliance, the LGBT Media Club, The LGBTQIA Employee Resource Group and Transcend put an event to welcome new students to campus.

The Women and Gender Studies (WGS) program helped to found a new program this summer, the LGBTQ+ Studies minor. Though this fall would be the first semester for students to enroll in the program, many students have been met with a roadblock — WGS majors cannot get an LGBTQ+ Studies minor.

“From my understanding, the LGBTQ Studies minor is similar to the Women and Gender Studies program in the way it’s a lot of theoretical work” said Grace Wojcik, director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, “It’s an interesting way to kind of evaluate the different institutional systems that play into different forms of homophobia and transphobia within our society.”

Jo Reger, director of the WGS department, said that after being informed by a confused student this summer, the WGS Program has put together a packet of information for the College of Arts and Sciences.

This was done to review the similarities and differences between individual class syllabi, personal letters from students and reports from other universities which allow for a WGS major and an LGBTQ+ Studies minor.

According to Reger, the findings support the notion that while not identical, the courses in each area of study are complimentary.

“That’s what makes a good education — it links everything together,” Reger said, “Women and Gender Studies and LGBTQ studies are linked, they inform each other, but they don’t replicate each other. They aren’t the same material”

On Sept. 17, an event was held through all five different LGBTQIA+ resource groups on campus: The Gender and Sexuality Center, the Gay Straight Alliance, the LGBT Media Club, The LGBTQIA Employee Resource Group and Transcend.

“It’s important, especially at this university, to study LGBTQIA+ issues because we encourage and support different diversity and inclusion efforts,” Wojcik said, “and I think this is another way for people to get familiar with issues that maybe they aren’t super familiar with. It’s an opportunity to gain new perspectives.”

According Wojcik, the welcome reception is the first event in which all five organizations and departments have gotten together to host one singular event. At this event, the president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, Jasmine Semma, was presented with a scholarship from the LGBTQIA+ resource group.

“I found [the resource group] to be inclusive, and people are willing to get to know you and accept you, and they really do value diversity here at OU”, said Kristine Diaz, of the LGBTQIA+ resource group.

Reger said though that the Women and Gender Studies program hopes for a “speedy” resolution, and hopes the information they have passed on to the College of Arts and Sciences will aid them in their decision making over whether or not students can obtain both degrees.