In 2014, a small group of University employees convened the first association for UB lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer faculty and staff. The desire to create a group was initiated by shared experiences of LGBTQ faculty and staff who believed the community was not visible and lacked support. The mission of the group was to contribute to and support a welcoming and inclusive university community. The group committed to delivering on this mission through education, networking and advocacy.
Between 2015 and 2018, the Association was led by a steering committee and served members through an e-mail listserv. During the summer and fall months of 2017, the committee facilitated a membership needs and interest assessment and developed a short-term organizational strategic plan. The plan was originally intended to guide the Association through 2018, but the projects and principles that were included extended beyond one year.
During this same time, the FSA hosted a ranging series of programs that were open to all members of the UB community. In 2018, the Association received a grant from embrace Western New York to support these programs. Campus partners like Athletics, the Office of Inclusive Excellence and the Intercultural and Diversity Center were integral collaborators and sponsors.
In 2019 and in accordance with the strategic plan, the steering committee created a constitution and bylaws to serve as a governing document for the Association. The document was developed by a steering committee sub-group that reviewed multiple drafts between May 2018 and January 2019. The sub-group reported monthly to the steering committee and periodically to Association listserv members.
On February 18, 2019 the steering committee unanimously voted to adopt the constitution and bylaws pending approval of a majority vote of current members of the LGBTQ FSA listserv. Between February 18, 2019 and March 5, 2019, the steering committee gathered feedback from members through a review and comment period and the document was finalized on March 28, 2019.
The finalized constitution and bylaws document was approved by a vote on April 11, 2019 and now serves as the first governing document for the Association.
Implementation also included a formal membership registration process and annual membership dues of $30, an amount that was determined based on member feedback and steering committee deliberation, and consistent with dues gathered by similar organizations. Dues will support and sustain current Association programs and future student scholarship and award initiatives.
In June 2019, as the Association adopted the first constitution and bylaws, an interim Executive Board was appointed to serve until June 1, 2020. Interim leadership was later extended until June 1, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, in the spring of 2021, the first board elections and appointments cycle was facilitated.
To this day, the mission of the LGBTQ FSA remains the same and the Association is committed to excellent education, networking and advocacy within the campus and local community.
Members of the founding and early LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association steering committee include:
Lindsay Allen, Matthew Ardila-Weigand, Jessica Baker, Naciah Bell, James Bowman, Terri Budek, Javier Bustillos, Timothy Chevral, Kristina Costanzo-Metcalfe, Kelly Cruttenden, Jessica DiPasquale, Benjamin Fabian, Daniel LaRosa, Michael Korona, Christian Miller, Todd Nibbe, Stephanie Parobek, Dylan Steed, Eric Streeter, and Thomas Vane.