LBGTQIA+ University Caucus with pride colors

LGBTQIA+ University Caucus

Mission Statement

The mission of the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus is to promote the equity, empowerment, and success of LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff by fostering a safe campus environment; developing, suggesting,and supporting inclusive policies and curriculum; supporting LGBTQIA+ recruitment and retention initiatives; and promoting social and educational opportunities to meaningfully engage with the University community.

The Caucus will make recommendations to appropriate channels with the University when concerns arise regarding these areas. These functions are in keeping with and enhancing the mission of West Chester University.

If you are interested in joining the LGBTQIA+ Caucus, please email LGBTQIACaucus@wcupa.edu.

Leadership

Name Pronouns Role College / Department / Office Position Term
Meg Panichelli She/Her Co-Chairperson, Faculty Undergraduate Social Work Assistant Professor 2023-2025
Beth Shearn She/Her Co-Chairperson, Staff Academic & Enterprise Systems Academic Systems Training Manager 2022-2024

Membership, 2023-2024

We also recognize the members of the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus that do not wish to be publicly recognized on the website. Their contributions to the efforts of the Caucus do not go unacknowledged and we are grateful for their support.

Name Pronouns College / Department / Office Position
Tina Alessandria She/Her Counselor Education Professor
Jen Bacon She/Her College of Arts and Humanities Dean
Dave Barry He/Him Early and Middle Grades Education Assistant Professor
Jason Bartles He/Him Language and Cultures Associate Professor
Nicole Bobbert She/Her Accounts Payable Accounts Payable Manager
Jenna Bossert They/She University Libraries Special Collections Technician
Sam Brooks They/Them Women's and Gender Studies Adjunct Professor
Pier Cicerelle She/Her Graduate Social Work Assistant Professor
Melissa Cichowicz She/Her Chemistry Professor
Michele Cooper She/Her Counseling and Psychological Services Instructor/Counselor
Jeremiah Daudert He/They Project Work Force Construction Foreman
Karen Dickinson She/Her Counselor Education Professor
Kelly Fisher She/Her Business and Public Management Associate Professor
Beth Foster She/Her Secondary Education and K-12 Health and Physical Education Associate Professor
Meredith Foster She/Her University Libraries Technology Generalist
Michelle Gherardi She/Her Public Policy and Administration Adjunct Professor
Elizabeth Grillo She/Her Communication Sciences and Disorders Professor
Rebecca Grisillo She/Her College of Sciences and Mathematics Assistant Dean/Budget Manager
Meg Hazel She/Her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assistant Director/Equal Opportunity and Title IX Investigator
Jackie Hodes She/Her Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration Professor
Meg Hoffer-Collins They/Them Counseling and Psychological Services Instructor/Psychologist
Sarah Hyson  She/Her English Instructor
Dean Johnson He/Him Philosophy Professor
Kim Johnson She/Her Mathematics Associate Professor
Katrina Kelly She/Her Financial Aid Assistant Director
Clayton Kolb He/Him Sykes Union and Student Activities Director
Tom Kwiatkowski He/Him Chemistry Assistant Professor
Liam Lair He/Him Women’s and Gender Studies Associate Professor
Peter Loedel He/Him Political Science Professor
Barrett McGee He/Him Sykes Union and Student Activities Associate Director of Student Activities
Ryan Monaghan He/Him Literacy Adjunct Professor
Kelsey Organ She/Her College of Education and Social Work, Clinical Experiences and Candidate Services Associate Director of Candidate Services
Jackie Owens She/Her Nursing Assistant Professor
Nicholas Provenzale He/Him Keyboard and Vocal Assistant Professor
Brie Radis She/Her Undergraduate Social Work Assistant Professor
Chrissy Riccardo She/Her Nutrition Assistant Professor
Leigh Robinson He/Him College of Education and Social Work, Assessment Office Assistant Director of Data Administration
Megan Schoettler She/Her English Assistant Professor
Lesley Siegel She/Her Special Education Associate Professor 
Nick Snyder He/Him The Graduate School Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions
Carolyn Sorisio She/They English Professor
Justin Sprague He/Him Women’s and Gender Studies Assistant Professor
Frank Stern He/Him Registrar Student Success Coordinator
Kate Stewart She/Her Art and Design Associate Professor
Jordan Stokes He/Him Music Theory, History, and Composition Assistant Professor
Julie Tennille She/Her Graduate Social Work Associate Professor
Amanda Thomas She/Her Student Affairs Executive Director for Assessment and Planning
David Thomas He/Him Educational Accessibility Director/Assistant Professor
Jason Vanfosson He/Him English Assistant Professor
Jules Walls They/Them College of Arts and Humanities Assistant to the Associate Dean
Reva Zimmerman She/Her  Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Professor

Meeting Dates

WCU new and current faculty and staff are welcome to attend any meeting. Please email the Caucus' Co-Chairpersons for meeting location details. The meeting dates for the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus for the spring 2024 semester are as follows:

Day of the Week Date Time Format
Tuesday February 20 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Online
Wednesday March 20 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Online
Friday April 19 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Online
Thursday May 2 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Online

Bylaws

Caucus Bylaws

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES OF THE LGBTQIA+ UNIVERSITY CAUCUS

Section I. Name

  1. The name of this committee shall be the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus (hereafter referred to as “the Caucus”).

Section II. Mission

  1. The mission of the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus is to promote the equity, empowerment, and success of LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff by fostering a safe campus environment; developing, suggesting, and supporting inclusive policies and curriculum; supporting LGBTQIA+ recruitment and retention initiatives; and promoting social and educational opportunities to meaningfully engage with the University community.

Section III. Membership and Membership Responsibilities

  1. The Caucus membership is open to any full-time or part-time faculty or staff member who formally requests to join the Caucus.
    1. The membership of the Caucus shall not be restricted to members of a certain identity (see section III.1.b. for examples).
    2. Membership of the Caucus shall strive to represent the diverse array of identities represented at WCU including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, romantic orientation, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic class, ability, religion, rank (title and position), age, and nationality.
  2. Membership on the Caucus is not term limited.
  3. All members of the Caucus are expected to do the following:
    1. Attend the general body Caucus meetings that take place throughout the year and events that are either sponsored by the Caucus or support the LGBTQIA+ community.
    2. Communicate with the co-chairpersons when unable to attend meetings and/or events.
    3. Bring constituency concerns to the Caucus’s attention.
    4. Suggest agenda items at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting by contacting the co-chairpersons.
    5. Take information back to their respective constituencies.
  4. Members of the Caucus remain in good standing for a given academic year if they have:
    1. Regularly attend at least two of the general body Caucus meetings that take place throughout the year and at least one event that is either sponsored by the Caucus or supports the LGBTQIA+ community.
    2. Attendance will be taken by the co-chairpersons at each meeting. Members should communicate with the co-chairpersons when unable to attend meetings.
      1. Members may collaborate on planning events even if they are unable to be present for the event itself.
    3. A Caucus member who ceases to be in good standing will be removed from formal membership in the Caucus for the following academic year unless the member has demonstrated meaningful involvement (Section IV 1.b.) in the work of the Caucus as judged by the Caucus co-chairs in office during the given academic year. A faculty or staff member dropped from formal membership on the Caucus may formally request to rejoin the Caucus, and may regain good standing status by satisfying the requirements specified in the preceding article.
  5. Co-Chairpersons of the Caucus
    1. One faculty member and one staff member, preferably who have served on the Caucus in good standing for at least one year previous to the current year, are eligible to serve as co-chairperson of the Caucus.
      1. Although general membership of the Caucus is not limited to any individuals of a certain identity, at least one co-chairperson should identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community at any given time.
    2. The term of co-chairpersons of the Caucus is two years, beginning with their election at the end of the spring semester and ending with the election of the next co-chairperson at the end of the spring semester two years later.
      1. At the conclusion of a co-chairperson’s term, the next co-chairperson is selected by a vote of the Caucus present at the last meeting of the Caucus during the spring semester. If a Caucus member wishes to participate in the vote but cannot attend the meeting, they should send an email vote to the person in charge of the vote.
      2. The next Caucus co-chairperson shall be determined by majority vote for a single candidate. If no majority is found after a first vote, members will rank all candidates in order of preference and the candidate with the lowest score shall be the determined the winner.
    3. The Caucus shall have two chairpersons serving at any given time.
    4. Terms of co-chairpersons shall be staggered so that at any given time at least one of the co-chairpersons has served in that role for at least one year.
    5. Co-chairpersons are eligible for re-election for subsequent terms.
    6. The co-chairpersons shall be responsible for sending all communications regarding upcoming meeting/events and shall include Zoom information so that members can attend and contribute virtually.
    7. Sub-administrative support will be the responsibility of the co-chairpersons or an elected secretary position, should the Caucus determine it is necessary.
    8. The leadership is to provide consistency and coordination, not more voice – all members are equal in their voices.
  6. Liaisons to the Caucus
    1. The following persons are accorded liaison responsibilities:
      1. The President or one representative from the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA),
      2. The Director or one representative of the Center for Trans & Queer Advocacy professional staff (CTQA),
      3. The Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer or one representative from the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional staff (ODEI), and
      4. One representative from the Faculty Senate.
    2. Liaisons may attend all general body Caucus meetings and shall hold power to vote in elections and on Caucus decisions.
    3. Liaisons shall serve one term, lasting a full academic year (Fall to Spring), and may continue to serve in that role at the discretion of the liaison’s department.
    4. Liaisons shall be expected to:
      1. Meet with the co-chairpersons and all liaisons twice a year (once in early Fall and once in late Spring) to set goals for the year and to review progress made.

Section IV. Procedures

  1. Caucus Meetings
    1. The Caucus shall hold two meetings a semester at rotating meeting times/dates in order to accommodate the schedules of membership as best as possible. Although members are encouraged to attend in person, members are welcome to attend virtually through the Zoom links provided by the co- chairpersons.
    2. In the case where a Caucus member in good standing is unavoidably prevented from attending meetings for a majority of the academic year, the Caucus member has the responsibility to consult with the Caucus co- chairpersons and with the relevant working group leads to ascertain how they will contribute to the work of the Caucus.
  2. The Caucus works in partnership with the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to develop and address budgetary needs and interests meant to support employee engagement, retention, and special projects. The Caucus co-chairpersons will compose a written budget (by November or in line with fiscal budget planning schedules) and will meet annually with the Chief Diversity Officer to finalize the budget request for the next academic year. If more funding is needed during the current year, the Caucus chair(s) will send a written proposal to the Chief Diversity Officer to determine if additional funding is available.

Section V. Working Groups

  1. Working group membership and working group project leads shall be developed by the membership of the Caucus at the beginning of the academic year when goals are determined.
  2. At their inception, working groups shall set appropriate timeframes for their goals and shall maintain communication on their projects with the Caucus co-chairpersons.
  3. At the end of the academic year, goals will be reviewed and working groups will be subject to renewal or disbandment.

Section VI. Amendments to “Policies and Procedures of the LGBTQIA+ University Caucus”

  1. Amendments to the Policies and Procedures of the Caucus shall require approval by two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the Caucus. The Caucus will only consult with the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion when it involves a major change to the structure of the Caucus.
  2. The Policies and Procedures of the Caucus shall be reviewed by the full Caucus at three-year intervals beginning in 2021.

Section VII. Publicly Published

This document will be publicly published on the Caucus’ website.

Section VIII. Dissolution

Upon dissolution, funds in any Caucus account will be returned to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

These Policies and Procedures were constituted on February 8th, 2021.

LGBTQIA+ UNIVERSITY CAUCUS BYLAWS

1st Amendment FAQs

Why This Is Here

Sometimes we have uninvited guests on our campus. We call these groups “uninvited guests” because they do not share the university’s values and because we do not want to give groups like this any more public recognition than necessary. Some of these groups are not here to engage in dialogue or make a genuine effort to affect change. Instead, they create conflict and sow division within our community. We encourage you to avoid engaging with them if you pass by them on the quad, or avoid those areas of campus altogether.

FAQs

1st Amendment FAQ

Created by Dr. Chris Stangl

Updated October 24, 2019

Why are uninvited guests permitted to show up on campus and present whatever message they choose to?

As a public school, a sizable part of the campus is considered a “public forum,” or space “devoted to assembly and debate.”

Wait, so these groups can show up pretty much anywhere on campus and do what they do?

Not entirely. There are three levels to public forum doctrine: 1) public forum, 2) limited public forum, and 3) nonpublic forum. While these legal concepts are quite complex, for purposes of the kinds of issues we have been addressing, it is sufficient to note that any open area or sidewalk on campus is likely a public forum. Basically, if a resident of the borough can walk their dog there, it’s probably a public forum, and individuals or groups are permitted to express their own views in such areas.

But West Chester has a Values Statement.

We do. However, the Values Statement cannot violate the First Amendment, which means that, when it comes to a public forum, West Chester must observe the principle of viewpoint neutrality. This means that WCU cannot pick and choose what perspectives it permits to be expressed on any topic of debate and which it does not. [In limited circumstances, WCU could restrict expression on all viewpoints on a general area of content, but this is subject to a very stringent test that would be almost impossible to be meet in situations when uninvited guests appear on the quad.]

So there are no regulations? Anything goes?

The classic regulations permitted are those of time, place, and manner. However, the middle of the day is clearly a reasonable time for expression and the quad is clearly reasonable place for expression, so that leaves only manner. Regulations on “manner” are permissible, but this does not mean that WCU may prohibit language it views as rude or inflammatory, or prohibit the use of large posters, each of which would likely run afoul of viewpoint neutrality requirements. A reasonable manner restriction means something like prohibition of bullhorns, microphones, speakers, etc.

What about “fighting words” though?

Fighting words is a category of speech that is not afforded First Amendment protection. However, the definition of fighting words—words that cause harm by merely being stated or that are tantamount to incitement of a breach of the peace—is very limited and has been defined almost out of existence by subsequent Supreme Court decisions. These decisions have regularly found speech restrictions to violate the First Amendment for reasons of vagueness (a reasonable person couldn’t tell what speech is allowed and what speech isn’t), overbreadth (even if a regulation is permitted in a particular case, it is written in such a way that it may be unconstitutional if applied to a different party and/or it covers substantially more expression than it needs to), or both.

Support

If you have experience harassment or discrimination based on who are, you can submit a report to the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Additionally, if you ever want to touch base with a caucus member, please reach out to any one of us for support.

Resources