Students, professor form Total Equality Alliance

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Students, professor form Total Equality Alliance

Story by Heidi Jo Hayden, Writer

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A former group on campus has been revived and transformed. Several years after the club known as GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) stopped meeting, a group of students and a professor have formed TEA (Total Equality Alliance) in its place. TEA members plan to meet every other Thursday at 9 p.m. in Mabee 100.

Sophomore Brittney Harmon, senior Ben Sobek and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Nicholaus Pumphrey discussed forming the group last semester. After they talked to others on campus, they realized that many people would support an LGBTQ group.

“In order to establish TEA at Baker, we are working on writing a constitution, by-laws, filling out the proper paperwork to be recognized, the works,” Harmon said. “We are very lucky to have such a large group interested in helping kick-start this organization.”

The leaders of the group were overwhelmed at the number of people who attended the first meeting, pleasantly surprised when more than 50 students and faculty members came to the group’s first open gathering.

“They weren’t expecting 53 people,” Pumphrey said. “At first there were only 20 people and the club leaders were already really excited. We even got emails that more students wanted to attended, but that they couldn’t make it for various reasons.”

Pumphrey thinks the turnout at the first meeting shows that TEA will be a popular and successful club at Baker. He thinks every college campus in America should have an organization similar to this one and is glad that Baker students are taking the lead in forming one.

Eleven students were involved in starting TEA, and each have his or her own ways that the club can get involved in the Baker community.

Harmon hopes to give BU students and faculty an opportunity to attend Safe Space training. The goal of this training is to create a space where students can be relaxed and fully self-expressed without having to fear feeling uncomfortable, unwelcome or unsafe.

Sophomore Rachel Ash has additional ideas for TEA to be involved on campus.

“April is Gay Pride month, and I am hoping to get white roses and dye them so they are rainbow and hand them out on campus,” Ash said. “I thought this would be a fun way to say TEA cares, and hopefully everyone will put the rose in their room and it will remind them to be supportive of all individuals.”

TEA’s last club meeting was held at 9 p.m. on March 5 in Mabee 100. Members discussed a group t-shirt. They were also visited by a group people from the Equality House, also called the Rainbow House, from Topeka, who spoke to the group. According to its website, the Equality House is a non-profit organization that serves as a symbol of peace and positive change for the LGBTQ community.