Mission & More
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center advances the diversity mission of Ohio University by creating a campus environment inclusive and supportive of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We focus on the unique academic, cultural, and social needs of LGBT students, and strive to enhance these students' learning and engagement as well as increase their retention. Our broader influence emerges from providing resources, educational opportunities, and social justice initiatives to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members at Ohio University and beyond.
The LGBT Center is a safe space on campus to seek confidential assistance and support. Dealing with discrimination, harassment, coming out concerns and relationship issues are just some of the areas where the Center can provide support and advocacy. We strive to continually improve the quality of life for LGBT people on campus and in Athens.
The LGBT Center works to provide support to all students on campus. While much of our focus is on LGBT students, inclusive of those in the closet, out of the closet and somewhere in between, we also know that our straight allies and other non-LGBT people need support and attention too.
The LGBT Center was first established as a quarter-time operation in 1998 as part of the Division of Student Affairs' commitment to a just and diverse community. The quarter-time program coordinator was a full-time member of the Department of Residence Life (now Residential Housing). The operation was first overseen by Laura Harrison (now the Director of Women’s Center at Stanford University). Jenny Hall-Jones (now the Assistant Dean of Students at OU) served as the second coordinator. In Spring 2000, Mickey Hart became the third (and current) person responsible for the LGBT Center.
Through the effort of many, the LGBT Center became a full-time operation in Fall 2003. By Fall 2005, the staff size increased with the addition of our first graduate assistant. We have had 3 GAs serve over 4 years, however we do not have a GA at this time due to funding. In the Fall 2007, the coordinator position is elevated to Director and the LGBT Center oversight was moved to the Office of the Provost as part of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
Ohio University was selected as one of the 100 Best LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities by The Advocates’ College Guide for LGBT Students (last published in 2006). Ohio University’s selection was based on its positive environment, programs and services, and LGBT student coalitions.