Edith Cowan University wins queer space


John Vidovich & Rachel Evans

After campaigning for over a year, queer students at Western Australia's Edith Cowan University (ECU) have finally won a space for the use of queer students, — as exists on most campuses.

"Women's and indigenous rights [groups] have had their own spaces at ECU for many years", Shane Cucow, ECU queer officer, told Green Left Weekly on June 30. "ECU is a university where homophobia and trans-phobia is a part of the discourse. Students regularly refer to gay men and lesbians in a bigoted fashion.

"When I started the queer collective at ECU, queers expressed the feeling they'd never met like-minded people at ECU, due to the closeted nature of queer students in a homophobic environment. So we fought for a queer space so students of diverse sexuality and gender had somewhere on campus where they could meet socially, share experiences, access information and address their specific issues. We worked hard with a poster and leaflet campaign and appealed to the student guild and university council. We didn't accept no for an answer."

Cucow said that the ECU women's collective had played a major role supporting the queer-space campaign. He went on to note that "we had opposition to queer rights proposals at the ECU Student Guild senate. However, we had enough supporters. ECU also had several unused spaces for 'future commercial use', which haven't been used in years. Given that the university had constructed two new buildings on one campus, it was clear the university couldn't make it an issue of space."

From Green Left Weekly, July 5, 2006.
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