College Will Wait to Find Permanent Replacement for Director of LGBTQA Advocacy & Education
By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief
When Tiffany Lane took over as Gettysburg’s second-ever Director of LGBTQA Advocacy & Education in the fall of 2016, she said, “When people look for LGBTQA-friendly private liberal arts colleges, I would like Gettysburg to be the leading example.”
Now, less than two years later, Lane has left the college for a similar position at Colgate University and, when asked to assess the progress of her office and the college towards that goal, she declined to comment except to say, “I do hope Gettysburg College will focus their efforts on filling the position to ensure continuous support for all LGBTQA students and staff.”
With less than one month until the start of classes, no search has been announced to fill the position, and some student leaders in the LGBTQA community are questioning the college’s commitment to supporting students.
“This position is really important to a large portion of the campus, and there’s no reason for the search to be delayed,” said Lauren Heyer ’21, secretary of outerspace, a club that promotes community for students who identify as LGBTQA on campus. “This search should have started when Tiffany resigned.”
Heyer went on to call the delay “unprofessional” on the part of college administration.
Dean of Students Julie Ramsey said that the college plans to assess the goals and impact of the program to guide a search process that will occur next spring, which, she said, is when the college typically draws a stronger candidate pool for administrative positions. In the interim, Assistant Dean of College Life and Executive Director of the Center for Public Service Gretchen Natter will fill the role with input from Anna Perry ’21, the LGBTQA Advocacy & Education office’s program coordinator, as well as the leaders of QHouse and outerspace. Natter filled the role on an interim basis prior to Lane’s arrival as well.
In assessing Lane’s tenure, Ramsey said that Lane helped the college advance on the road to providing a more supportive environment for LGBTQA students and staff.
“Tiffany had begun to form stronger partnerships with the Health Center and had also focused on expanding Safe Zone training to make it more accessible to the entire community,” Ramsey said. “The position will always have a strong emphasis expanding and deepening support for LGBTQA students. This happens through campus training, as well as policy development and incorporation of inclusive practices in all of our work.”
Overall, Ramsey said the climate for LGBTQA students and staff remains of concern despite progress that has been made in recent years.
“Undoubtedly, there are systemic issues for LGBTQA staff and students at Gettysburg—I think that has been made clear through the climate study and other assessments in the recent past,” she said. “At the same time, it is also the case that the college has made progress during the past several years in the environment and culture, but certainly there is more to accomplish.”
News Editor Gauri Mangala contributed to this report.