Central Connecticut State University has hired a full-time director for its LGBT Center, in what the university says is an effort to become a more inclusive institution.
William Mann, an award winning author, historian and LGBT rights activist, was named director of CCSU’s LGBT Center. Mann is the first person to take up the mantle as full-time faculty. He plans to expand the center’s presence in the community.
“I'm hoping to bring the center to the next level, which is to not only provide a welcoming space for LGBT students and allies,” Mann said, “but also a space that affirms and celebrates LGBT history and culture.”
Mann believes CCSU could become a leading public university in LGBT inclusivity and culture. He cited the GLBTQ Archives in the university’s library as a tool to attract scholars.
The archives’ collection, which started in 1993, includes artifacts such as research papers, LGBT pulp fiction, and pride buttons. Renata Vickrey, a special collections librarian, spoke about why it is special.
“It is unique, in a sense, that it shows how GLBTQ communities here in Connecticut and the Northeast were being built,” Vickrey said, “how people who were active, how they support each other, how they create the organizations, and how they advocated for their rights.”
Mann plans to use the collection to attract LGBT scholars from around the globe to come to CCSU and share their experience.
“These aren't people that necessarily might have known about CCSU before and I'm hoping to bring people onto campus and share some of that with the students and with the wider community as well,” Mann said.
The LGBT Center puts on several events throughout the year, such as the Lavender Graduation ceremony, which celebrates the academic achievements of LGBT students.