WACO, TX — LGBTQ+ members with Gamma Alpha Upsilon (GAY) at Baylor are waiting on final approval from the university's Board of Regents and President Linda Livingstone to make GAY an official charter at Baylor.
"Chartering Gamma would make a lot of people safe and welcome here in ways that haven't happened in the past, and I hope that's something they can recognize," said Emma Fraley, president of GAY.
On Tuesday, the Baylor Faculty Senate voted to endorse the recognition of the group after the Student Senate and Baylor Alumni also endorsed GAY.
The university has come a long way since the 1800's when it comes to inclusion, but members of GAY say they still receive unequal treatment at Baylor.
"I remember being a freshman on campus and thinking perhaps I was the only queer student. I remember being very isolated and like I couldn't talk to people about my identity. One problem with being an LGBTQ+ student at Baylor is for many years our voices have been silenced by not having the same representation or opportunities to gather or organize in ways that students are supposed to do," said Fraley.
This year marks 10 years since GAY has been at Baylor with no official recognition. Every year prior, members have pushed to make Gamma Alpha Upsilon an official charter at the university, but have been denied.
"It is, I think, at some point a little bit painful too because considering that it's been 10 years and we really haven't made any formal progress. It is a little frustrating that we've been fighting so long," said Fraley.
By being an official charter, students are able to have access to student activity funds and events. They are also able to advertise on campus and help recruit new and current LGBTQ+ students at Baylor.
"I think by chartering Gamma, it's more of a symbolic message for Baylor to tell it's queer students hey, you are welcome here, you are accepted here, you are loved here, you are wanted here and that's something queer students for a long time haven't felt here," said Fraley.
In a statement Baylor University said:
We appreciate the work of the Faculty Senate and the role it plays in representing the voices of the academic community. The resolution from the Faculty Senate is non-binding, but as with other resolutions, it will be taken into consideration as the University continues discussions to provide a caring, supportive community.
"I hope that they can recognize this as not some sort of a political agenda or some sort of war on Baylor's traditions or anything like that... but really just a chance to embrace their students and send them a message of love and support," said Fraley.