Brian Buford, the director of employee development and success at the University of Louisville presented to UCA students during X-period Oct. 31 in Ida Waldran about how UCA can become a more inclusive community.
Buford said that the push toward inclusivity at the University of Louisville began after the KKK marched on campus. This incident made the university realize it needed to become a more welcoming environment.
Buford was an integral part of helping the University of Louisville become more inclusive. Under Buford’s leadership, the University of Louisville opened a LGBTQ+ center and earned a five-star rating on the Campus Pride index five years in a row.
UCA’s Campus Pride index rating, which measures how inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community a campus is, is currently two out of five stars. Buford’s presentation brought hope of improvement to many at UCA.
The purpose of his visit was to help UCA see what it can do to become more inclusive. Buford recognized that one has to start small in order to make a difference
Buford started with small steps toward improvement, and under his leadership the University of Louisville was named the most LGBTQ+ welcoming campus in the United States by LGBT Outfitters.
Students at UCA have been and continue to push for more inclusivity on campus. For example, for over seven years, students at UCA have been pushing for gender neutral housing to be offered on campus.
At the end of Buford’s presentation, UCA Sophomore Dylan Garrison said, “I saw you guys have a special housing space for your LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. What was the process of getting that on your campus and did you face any obstacles?”
In response, Buford said, “When you’re coming to college as a queer person or as a transgender person, one of the scariest things in the world could be a shared dorm.”
Buford also said that many people fear that if you put all the LGBTQ+ individuals in one location, they will become a target and people who wanted to harm them would know where to find them.
“We looked at lots of other schools across the country with themed housing and asked questions, and it wasn’t an issue for any of them,” Buford said.
The LGBTQ+ housing has been at the University of Louisville for eight years.
The University of Louisville has come a long way in terms of becoming more inclusive, but Buford said its work to become more inclusive isn’t finished. His university is pushing for Homecoming Royalty, instead of Homecoming Queen and King.
The presentation during X-period was tailored to students, but during his visit to UCA, Buford also met with President Davis, faculty and administration.