Although the University of La Verne may not be exclusively known for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups most people know that we have one. Unlike some university campuses the LGBT community here has an on-campus presence: we have the Rainbow Alliance club. The club itself has more than 30 members and has faculty support.
It is great that ULV students feel that they can openly and safely express themselves and their sexual orientation. ULV has not always been a gay-friendly environment.
In 1996 Jamie Bigornia, president of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union (predecessor to Rainbow Alliance), was involved in a fight at Nick’s Place, a bar formerly located on D Street. In 1997 one of the men was acquitted while the other was found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of violating Bigornia’s civil rights and battery. Thankfully, no other incident like that one has happened since.
While some students may not agree with the way the LGBT community members live their lives, they at least tolerate it and do not resort to violence. Some students from Azusa Pacific University, which calls itself a liberal Christian college, have even found a safe haven in ULV’s Rainbow Alliance, because they cannot openly express themselves at APU.
Today many of the members of Rainbow Alliance will participate in the National Day of Silence, a day where members and allies of the LGBT community take a vow of silence to raise awareness of anti-LGBT behavior.
This is just one of the many activities that the club takes part in. They also conduct Safe Zone training, along with the Department of Education, which trains faculty and staff on how to handle LGBT issues.
We hope this trend of tolerance will be kept and ULV can keep its reputation as a gay-friendly place.