With minimal debate, council approved the merger to combine the Queerline budget and its co-ordinator position with the Ally Western budget and co-ordinator. A review of the merger will take place in one year.
Ally Western will become a blanket program with a phone line — the former Queerline — operating to address LGBTQ issues.
“It is clear a change needs to happen. I am excited about this [and] I think there are great things to come in the future,” said Eric Johanssen, USC VP-campus issues.
He noted the phone line’s name is yet to be determined, but UWOut — a LGBTQ social club — will be consulted.
Jonathan Tan, president of the Music Students’ Council, questioned the hierarchical relationship between Queerline and AW.
“They are one and the same. Ally Western is the program and the phone line is a function of that program,” Johanssen responded.
Sean Hebert, Delaware Hall councillor, asked about the provision to provide annual funds to Ally Western, which previously received no funding, and whether funding previously given to Queerline would be moved.
“The funding allocated to Queerline will go to the Ally Western program at large,” Johanssen confirmed, emphasizing the merger will not eliminate any services from Queerline’s usual operations.
“We are not losing anything [or] taking away from the phone line. We are adding [by] beefing up promotion and training,” he added.
“UWOut is in full support of this proposal [and] it reflects support for the peer support line to continue. Eric [Johanssen] recognizes the need for reform [of Queerline],” said Dave Forestell, co-president of UWOut.
He added that UWOut supports the one-year review component and encouraged embracing electronic media as a resource for LGBTQ issues.
In response to comments made at last week’s council meeting by VP-student affairs Gio Paola, which expressed concern over clubs determining USC policy, Forestell said “it is not the intent of UWOut to dictate USC policy.”
Arzie Chant, pride resources commissioner, echoed Forestell, noting UWOut is not interested in dictating USC policy. Chant said the merger is an issue of sustainability for the Ally Western program.
He added he felt there has been the proper level of communication with affected groups in response to criticism at last week’s council meeting that UWOut was not consulted.