The LGBT Resource Center and Lavender Lounge will move its offices to the fourth floor of the Student Union later this semester, LGBT Resource Center Director Kelby Accardi-Harrison confirmed Aug. 30.
According to Accardi-Harrison, the move, which does not have a finalized date, is the result of years of administrative decisions that led to student protests and organizational complaints regarding size of the office space.
According to Monique Allard, who served as interim vice president of student affairs until Winston Crisp assumed the position Aug. 16, the Resource Center will lose approximately 27 sq. ft. in its new office space on the fourth floor. According to Allard, the relocation will situate the Resource Center and Lounge alongside the Center for Black Cultural Student Affairs, the Latinx Chicanx Center for Advocacy and Student Affairs and Asian and Pacific American Student Services.
“All of the cultural and resource centers, otherwise known as the Student Equity and Inclusion areas, have been working toward providing more intercultural and intersectional programming to support students’ multiple identities,” Allard said.
According to Allard, students who utilize the LGBT Resource Center often frequent the other student cultural resource centers, placing great weight on the importance of recognizing diverse identities as a reason to relocate the LGBT Resource Center.
According to Accardi-Harrison, the decision to relocate the center and Lavender Lounge with the other cultural organizations is a step in the right direction and indicates improved administrative coordination with the Resource Center.
“I do think it’s meeting a need by creating a better, more hopeful space in the sense of intersectional identity,” Accardi-Harrison said. “I honestly feel the administration feels the same way. Ideally there would be more square footage”
According to Accardi-Harrison, the Division of Student Affairs discussed this move for a few years and had kept the Resource Center notified of the decision’s progress. Accardi-Harrison said she provided feedback to Student Affairs and discussed the center’s long-standing troubles with the current office size.
“We definitely want to be on the fourth floor, but even losing a small amount of square footage is going to be very difficult in terms of our operations,” Accardi-Harrison said.
The Resource Center has a history of notifying the administration about the problems with limited office space. According to previous Daily Trojan reporting, the Resource Center had the chance to move offices and expand their square footage, but it eventually lost the chance due to administrative choice.
Former Executive Director of the Queer and Ally Student Assembly Alyssa Coffey told the Daily Trojan that the LGBT community members staged a protest in disappointment with the decision. According to Coffey, when students suggest ways in which they can be better supported by the administration, no action ever results, alluding to this as a “bureaucratic spiral.”
The current director of QuASA did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
In 2015, Accardi-Harrison released a comparative study of LGBT Resource Centers at numerous top academic institutions that found USC’s to be the smallest of its kind.
“[Our] space is not just small. It is embarrassing,” Accardi-Harrison said in a previous Daily Trojan article.
The Lavender Lounge sits at around 270 sq. ft., nearly twice as large as the Resource Center’s 169 sq. ft. According to Accardi-Harrison, the lounge is a student wellness space for queer and allied students to meet up, study and relax.
The Lavender Lounge also serves as an educational resource and is filled with history pamphlets, LGBT flags and other decorations that are meant to be identity affirming. Accardi-Harrison verified that these features of the lounge will move with the new space and provide a place of comfort for students.
“For the clubs and [organizations] that can meet in that space, it is going to have all of the brochures, the history [sic], the flag,” Harrison said. “Everything that makes the center feel identity-affirming.”