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Forget Intersectionality: At UCSB, feminist and LGBTQ factions at war

LGBTQ leaders accuse women and gender studies officials of ‘perpetuating violence’ and ‘white supremacy’

Forget intersectionality. At UC Santa Barbara, members of its women and gender studies department appear engaged in some sort of battle with the university’s LGBTQ leaders as a turf war ensues and accusations of “perpetuating violence” and “white supremacy” fly.

The intersectional strife is so hot that UCSB administrators reportedly have capitulated to the demands of activists from its LGBTQ Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, agreeing to construct the group a new building and double its budget after students protested the firing of a resource center employee, according to a report from the school’s newspaper.

As reported by The Daily Nexus, the controversy began November 10, when the now-former associate director of the resource center, Ale Muro, was dismissed from her position and allegedly escorted out by a police officer.

It is unclear why Muro was fired. Campus spokeswoman Andrea Estrada told The College Fix via email that the university’s policies “prohibit us from discussing personnel matters.”

Estrada also disputed the claim that Muro was escorted out by law enforcement “The incident reported did not involve a police escort of any employee,” she told The Fix.

Dean of Student Life Katya Armistead also told The Daily Nexus that a police officer was present in the building at the time of Muro’s dismissal but that Muro was not escorted out.

In a subsequent meeting with campus officials on November 17, activists issued numerous demands to the university administration, according to The Nexus. Those demands included the center’s “removal from the Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department … a new building for the center, a doubling of [the center’s] program budget and emergency funding for the queer and trans health advocate position.”

The administration granted all of those demands and also agreed to “reevaluate Muro’s termination by Nov. 30,” The Nexus reported.

According to The Nexus, the Resource Center’s “trans taskforce advocacy coordinator,” Hikaru Ezra Mernin, reportedly read a statement at the Nov. 17 meeting calling for the immediate reinstatement of both Muro along with the resignations of both Christine Dolan, the director of the Resource Center, and Kim Equinoa, assistant dean of the Women, Gender & Sexual Equity Department.

The statement accused Dolan and Equinoa of “perpetuating violence against queer, transgender people and marginalized communities” and “perpetuating the systems of white supremacy” at the university.

The College Fix reached out to Mernin multiple times via email to learn what evidence exists to substantiate the accusations against Dolan and Equinoa. Mernin did not respond.

Dolan herself also did not respond to multiple inquiries from The Fix.

Spokeswoman Andrea Estrada disputed The Nexus’s characterization of the meeting, telling The Fix that the report “did not provide the context that the items the students requested had been in discussion for some time, including increasing a very minimal budget for programming and changing the reporting structure of the Center so that it is no longer part of the Women, Gender, and Sexual Equity Center.”

“We agreed to work with the students, faculty, and staff to address issues of office and programming space for the Center which currently consists of only one open room and 2 small offices in our Student Resource Building,” Estrada told The Fix. “Many campuses have dedicated spaces or buildings that house these kinds of programs, and it is something for which students have been advocating over the last several years.”

It is unclear the number and extent of the demands to which university officials agreed. Multiple attempts by The College Fix to clarify what was agreed to were ignored.

The activists’ request for a new building originated in demands issued by campus activists nearly 20 years ago, in 1998, according to The Nexus.

The resource center plans to staff the new building with numerous positions, including “a director, associate director, programming coordinator, office manager, graphic designer, education and outreach coordinator, funding coordinator, associated students liaisons, student staff and volunteer staff.” These staff members would provide services such as “counseling, programming, mentoring, referrals and a 24-hour help line.”

“Plans also included a front office, private offices for permanent personnel, gender-inclusive restrooms, a study space, organization meeting rooms, a lounge, a kitchen, a library, a clothing closet and an art gallery. A proposed list of furniture and equipment was included in the plans,” according to The Nexus. The group also has plans to include a “community garden and emergency housing rooms complete with a bed, closet and drawers.”

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About the Author
Matthew Stein is a political science and economics major at Swarthmore College. He is a board member on the Swarthmore Conservative Society and Swarthmore Students for Israel.

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