The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Services at Central Michigan University was originally known as the Office of Gay and Lesbian Programs. The Office was established in the early to mid-1990's by then Provost, Dr. Robert Franke. The first director of the Office, Dr. Michael Stemmeler, served as a .08 FTE term for 10 months with no additional stipend. Within a few years, the Office grew to a .5% FTE and remained as such until 2008 when Ms. Shannon Jolliff was hired as the Center's first full-time Director. Between Dr. Stemmeler and Ms. Jolliff, the Office was overseen by six other directors.
The function of the Office has grown significantly over the years. However, some core functions have remained, such as helping students navigate the coming out process and working with faculty and staff on campus to create a more welcoming climate.
Today, the Office provides numerous educational programs and activities for students, faculty and staff of Central Michigan University, serving over 4,500 individuals a year. The Office also provides training to campus including the Safe Zone Training initiative which holds over 700 identified Safe Zones on campus. The various initiatives supported by the Office and the campus has raised the campus’s rating by Campus Pride from 2.5 to 4.5 on a scale of 5 over the last four years. While there is always work to do, the Office of LGBTQ Services has witnessed a significant culture change on campus in a positive direction.
(Jon Humiston, Student Ombudsman at Central Michigan University, contributed to this post)