By Jessica Stamp
The Office of the Dean of Students offers many resources for students at Youngstown State University. One of those resources is for students in the LGBTQ community who may face discrimination or struggle obtaining necessities to be themselves.
Nicole Kent-Strollo, dean of students and ombudsperson, said the LGBTQ resources the office offers help to students who might be struggling with their identity and don’t have the means to support themselves because of their family not accepting them.
“Some of the things that we focus on are really issues where a student is struggling because of the identity … it might be that they came out to their family and they’re not being accepted and they don’t have a place to live so we are going to be here to assist with that process,” Kent-Strollo said.
The LGBTQ+ Emergency Fund was created two years ago and focuses on helping individuals who end up in a situation where they need housing because they are no longer welcomed by their family or friends.
If this was to occur, Kent-Strollo said the student can be placed in either a residence hall or hotel but it varies from person to person and their situation.
“That would definitely be something that we can assist them with regard to this fund,” Kent-Strollo said. “It happens in lots of different ways because we have to consider the entire student [and their situation].”
Another way the Office of the Dean of Students can help LGBTQ students is through the Penguin Pantry, which offers clothes to any students in need.
Two forms students can fill out if they have an issue they want to talk about are the Penguin of Concern Referral Form and Student Complaint Form. The Penguin of Concern Referral form can be submitted by themselves or for another individual. The individual can also schedule a meeting to discuss what is happening in their lives and receive guidance.
“It might be that the student just wants to submit a Penguin of Concern form for themselves or for someone else, just letting us know what’s going on [in their lives],” Kent-Strollo said.
The Student Complaint Form can be used for many reasons such as if a student is being discriminated against by a professor, faculty or peers. The form would go through the Office of Equal Opportunity because it is more of an employment issue with a professor involved.
“We all collaborate,” Kent-Strollo said. “No matter what the issue is, if they’re working on the probably more the employment legal side of not being permitted to do something like that, we are offering the support on the other side.”
For more information about LGBTQ resources, visit the Office of Dean of Students website.