Northridge : Gay Studies the Focus of New CSUN Center

Recognizing gay culture as a growing subject of academic research, administrators at Cal State Northridge have chartered a campus center for gay studies, the university has announced.

The Institute for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Studies will provide a forum for faculty and students to share their findings, said English professor Donald Hall, the institute's co-director.

"There's a very, very active gay and lesbian student body on campus," Hall said. "We have no counterpart to that among the faculty and staff, so this provides a little symmetry."

Hall operates the embryonic center out of the English department's post-quake quarters in CSUN's student housing complex. The institute, he said, is more a group of interested faculty than a physical research facility at the moment.

"All of that should change when we finally get back into our regular building," he said. In the meantime, they've created a catchy nickname--LesBiGayTrs, which rhymes with "alligators."

Faculty members are currently creating a program of activities for the rest of the school year, with an eye toward offering round-table discussions, lectures and a student research competition, Hall said, adding that he and co-director Jan Ramjerdi would like to create an archive devoted to gay issues at CSUN and around the world.

Hall, who came to CSUN after completing a master's degree at the University of Maryland, said that although the campus has been the site of anti-gay vandalism in recent years, the atmosphere for gay students and staff is generally warm.

"I was surprised how much more tolerant and open this environment was," he said.

On Wednesday, a round-table discussion of the institute's goals and plans will be held at 2 p.m. in the third floor common room of Building 15 in the University Park Apartments, Hall said. The event is open to the public.

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