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How ICC bureaucracy squashed the De Anza LGBT community

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Once upon a time at De Anza, there was a club on campus known as the Rainbow Club, a relatively non-institutionalized space where LGBT students could safely identify while developing community. Sound like a nifty idea? It was, but it was lost in the abyss of community college turnover rates.

At a time when conservative politics are beginning to strip away the rights of the LGBT community to exist as equals within American society, LGBT associations at De Anza are more vital than ever.

The DASB and ICC proudly espouse the school’s inclusive mission statement (which refers to the students and faculty as agents of change) but do not review how the restrictive tenants in Inter-Club Council code keep some clubs from being formed and others from surviving.

Library technician and ex-adviser to the now dead Rainbow Club David Byars reaffirmed that club vitality is hindered by a two-year community college environment.

Additionally, the ICC requirement of five officers means that although there may be constant interest, it is difficult to find five people who have the time and are willing to commit.

“There might be three people interested (in being officers) one quarter and two new people interested the next, but it never gets formed,” Byars said.

The amount of paperwork, bureaucratic hoops and hurdles and the busy schedule of students make it hard for clubs to get started and to maintain activeness, he said.

The Rainbow Club, when active, was a force for unity and community. In addition to field trips, movie nights, and regular meetings, “it created a space for mourning, unfortunately something that was necessary over the course of the club,” Byars said.

On Nov. 20, the club  used to hold vigils on Trans Remembrance day.

Even at De Anza, a progressive focal point, the greatest crime is not that queer students constantly face harassment on campus, but that there is seemingly no community on campus to accommodate the unique challenges that we LGBT students face outside of campus.

Currently, De Anza and other colleges do not track success rates of LGBTQ students. But clearly having a club and other social outlets allowing students to socialize with others can only encourage students to feel safe and succeed on campus.

De Anza should make creating and maintaining clubs an easier process to foster community, especially for a marginalized group that needs it.

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