New ETSU Faculty and Staff LGBTQ+ Association Established
JOHNSON CITY – (June 19, 2020) East Tennessee State University has announced the creation of its first Faculty and Staff LGBTQ+ Association.
The group was launched by the university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and will hold its second meeting during Pride Month.
“ETSU is an institution where people come first and are treated with dignity and respect,” said Dr. Keith Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. “Our campus is a welcoming place for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, and the formation of this group has been a long-standing dream of many of our faculty and staff.”
Johnson said his office sent an email to the campus earlier this semester to gauge interest, and the response was very positive. Dr. Bethany Novotny, a faculty member in the Clemmer College, stepped forward to help organize the first meeting, which took place over Zoom.
“It was a great chance to connect with so many colleagues, especially since we had been working remotely several weeks,” said Novotny, an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services. “But it was also a wonderful opportunity to meet a number of other faculty and staff from across the ETSU campus.”
Already, more than 50 faculty and staff have expressed interest in the organization. Novotny said the association will hold its second meeting this month and she hopes to lead a discussion with the members on possibly hosting a welcome-back event in the fall when the semester begins.
“We are especially interested in reaching the new faculty and staff who will be joining ETSU for the first time. It is important that they feel welcome on our campus and in this region and are able to build connections with other members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Novotny said.
Novotny added that the creation of the Faculty and Staff LGBTQ+ Association coincides with the opening of the Patricia Robertson Pride Center located in the newly renovated D.P. Culp Student Center. Robertson is a retired ETSU faculty member and a longtime champion for supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
For more information about the new organization, contact Novotny at email@example.com.