On Wednesday, the University Police Department and the University Counseling Center hosted “Real Talk: Bridging the Gap between Police and the LGBTQIA+ Community,” an open panel discussion.
UPD Officers and members of the LGBTQIA+ community came together to discuss concerns affecting the campus’ LGBTQIA+ students.
The goal of this panel was to have a civil discussion where LGBTQIA+ students and allies could talk with UPD and address important subjects. These subjects were intended to help students have a safe and fair learning environment while attending.
“Engaging with your community helps bridge the gap between the police and the people in the community and conversation is what is going to help us solve our problems,” said UPD communication officer Harley Bourgeois.
Lavender Lions President Mo Heggins and Vice President Rosemary Matthews addressed problems that students face when preachers on campus create an uncomfortable environment during the day.
Director of University Police Chief Michael Beckner and Lieutenant Patrick Gibson acknowledged the concerns made by the Lavender Lions and offered advice in dealing with the preachers on campus.
The panel discussed a wide array of subjects ranging from campus preachers, proper pronoun identification and ways of making interactions with students on campus less intimidating and more connected.
Bourgeois acknowledged the steps needed to fully reach students on campus but said he believes community engagement is a good start.
“I do believe that we have a long way to go, but this is a great first step for being able to reach all students,” Bourgeois said.