Editorial, Featured

Title IX … and you

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The PAQ is here!

WCC prides itself as being a campus `ohana where we all support each other on a daily basis no matter what the challenge might be. Sometimes that’s not how our students feel. Often our students find themselves on the receiving end of microaggressions or other forms of harassment that can impact their time here at WCC when they identify as part of our LGBTQ+ community.

One of the goals of Title IX is to protect our campus from gender-based harassment, including harassment based on actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. However, our last Campus Climate Survey indicated that many do not feel supported and are unaware of where to go if they felt they were a victim of harassment. Part of our campus goals has been to begin to provide training for the larger campus community and support to our LGBTQ+ `ohana here at WCC.

Our WCC psychology instructor Lisamarie Bensman and history instructor Ryan Koo are our campus commissioners with the UH Commission on LGBTQ+ Equality. Both Lisamarie and Ryan work to create a culture of equality, acceptance and respect on our campus. While their role includes a variety of functions such as Safe Zone training, which aims to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ safety and inclusion, they also work to build the skills of allies who can help to identify and stop harassment from occurring on our campus.

Our Climate Survey from 2017 indicated that our LGBTQ+ `ohana suffers from sexual violence and domestic violence at significantly higher rates than the rest of our campus population. Seeing this, they recognized the need to create a space for our campus `ohana that can be both fun and supportive while our students are going to school.

This is how PAQ was created. PAQ is WCC’s Pride Alliance of Queers, which is open to both the LGBTQ+ community as well as anyone who would like to become an ally to those who are. UH students and alumni are welcome for official membership and all others are welcome to the meetings and events as guests. At PAQ, individuals are able to connect and support each other while having fun and being able to have a space where everyone is accepted.

The PAQ club planning meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of the month from 4-5 p.m. in Hale Na`auao 103. Club events take place throughout the month. Upcoming spring events include a game night in March, a movie night in April and much more to come!

You can find the PAQ on Facebook as PrideAllianceofQueers and on Instagram @pacwcc.

Should you want more information, you can contact the faculty advisors Lisamarie at bensman@hawaii.edu or Ryan at rkoo@hawaii.edu.

by Karla Silva-Park and Jordan Lewton

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