Vanidy M. Bailey will serve as director of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer (BGLTQ) student life beginning July 16, dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds announced this week. Bailey, who will report to the assistant dean of student life, will oversee all initiatives that support BGLTQ undergraduates. These include dealing with BGLTQ community issues (such as the challenges students face in developing their identities), advising student organizations, supervising the student-run Queer Resources Center, providing support for educational programming and staff training (including the BGLTQ specialty tutor and proctor program), and addressing alumni relations and policy development.
The new staff position emerged from a BGLTQ working group of students, faculty, and staff that met from late October 2010 to March 2011 and collected data about the nature of the BGLTQ student experience at the College. The group hosted 14 open forums (in each residential House and in the Yard), launched a University-wide survey, met with specialty tutors, faculty, alumni/ae, and current students, and studied peer institutions and best practices.
The most-repeated refrain throughout, the report noted, was the critical need for a full-time director of BGLTQ student life:
Many of the criticisms of students and other community members who felt that existing resources are not well-coordinated or comprehensive can be addressed through the addition of an individual—well-versed in the developmental and intellectual needs of BGLTQ college students—to bring together the disparate but vital strands of BGLTQ life at Harvard College.
As assistant director for education at the University of California, San Diego since 2010, Bailey has implemented educational outreach programs, advised several student organizations, been a liaison on LGBT housing, and carried out various other LGBT-related activities. Previously, Bailey worked for three years at California State University, Northridge, first as community director and then as senior community director.
“I am delighted that Vanidy Bailey has agreed to take on this new and exciting role at Harvard College,” Dean Hammonds said. “The director and the recently opened BGLTQ office and lounge in Boylston Hall will provide critical resources for undergraduates who identify as BGLTQ, or have questions about their sexuality. With years of student life experience, especially working with LGBT students and managing an array of programs at the LGBT Resource Center at UC-San Diego, Vanidy Bailey is ideally suited for the position here. I look forward to working with Vanidy to take the College’s existing programs and resources for BGLTQ students and make them more robust and accessible.”