The LGBTQ community’s presence is ever-growing in our community, and as part of Civility Week at Del Mar College, employees led the discussion about how to make Del Mar a safer and more inclusive environment. Lead by Beverly Cage, the director of Student Leadership and Campus Life, a panel of faculty spoke about the services available at Del Mar for LGBTQ students, and how they’re trying to improve life for their students.
Diana Ortega-Ferrick, assistant dean of Student Retention Services, led off the discussion by talking about the rights that students have at Del Mar, from Title IX, which protects all students from discrimination, to retaliation protection, which ensures that students will be safe if they report something to Del Mar staff. She continued by mentioning the wide range of other services available that may be unknown to students, including being able to change your gender identity at the registrar’s office and a number of counselling services.
Counselor Johanna Torres then spoke about the services offered by Del Mar for students in need, including the “Let’s Talk” program, which is aimed at providing easy access to counselling.
Assuring that “confidentiality is key,” Torres made it clear that their priority is to help all students’ challenges and make sure their voices are heard. She also spoke about the Safe Zone Project in the works to “let people know that it’s an accepting and safe environment.”
Professors Timothy and Anthony Precella told the crowd how Del Mar has “been ahead of the curve” for the 20-plus years they’ve been teaching. However, they and the rest of the panel expressed concern over the fact that there hasn’t been a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Del Mar in many years.
These services are unknown to many students at Del Mar. Cage told the audience that “students are the best way to spread information.” Cage ended the discussion by telling everyone how important it is to share their experience