WESTMINSTER — Two sophomores at Carroll Community College are spearheading a driveto establish the first Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union at the school.
Michael J. Cuneo, 22, said the group has hit some snags with its proposed constitution and is working with the college's Student Government Organization to make the necessary corrections.
"It's just a matter of time and going through the process," said Cuneo, who is being helped by Michael R. Morris, 20.
Students who wish to form groups on campus must petition the SGO for approval, said Faye Pappalardo, director of student services. Groups such as the Whole Earth Society and the Ski Club have had to follow that route.
The SGO, she said, questions representatives about its proposed constitution, activities and other matters. Approval is granted by the SGO and not the college's administration, she said.
Cuneo, a creative writing major, met with the SGO leaders Thursday to address some problems. He said he was hopeful after the meeting that the group wouldbe approved during the spring semester.
The college is about to recess for winter break, and a short winter semester will begin in January. The spring semester won't begin until early February.
One change the group will have to make to win the SGO's endorsement is a provision in its constitution that would transfer funds to another clubif the union were dissolved.
Cuneo said that type of transfer is not allowed under the SGO constitution.
"I don't have a problem with that," he said.
Pam Genco, SGO president, could not be reached for comment.
Pappalardo said the SGO, which provides money for clubs, has to be "very clear" about how groups plan to spend money.
Cuneo said the SGO has done a good job of "keeping personal feelings they may or may not have out of the decision-making process."
"Mostof the people I've talked to have been positive," he said.
The group would be affiliated with the North East Lesbian and Gay Student Association, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Carroll County, and the Maryland Coalition of Gay and Lesbian Student Associations, Cuneo said.
Cuneo said the group's purpose is to provide a support center oncampus.
Wade Fannin, a Western Maryland College senior who founded that school's Lesbian and Gay Resource Center, welcomed the group'sformation.
"They're going to reach a much different target audience than we do at Western Maryland," Fannin said. "We're basically upper-middle class and white. They have broader diversity in age, race and economics."
In addition to its greater diversity, Fannin said, the CCC group runs a greater risk of discrimination.
"Living on the hill (at WMC) is not really being part of Westminster," Fannin said. "Those people at Carroll Community College live and work in the community. They went to high school here. They are much more apt to be targets of potential violence, hate and bigotry."
He said the resource center will monitor acts of prejudice. His group has worked with Cuneo to help identify resources, other community colleges with similar organizations, and administrators and faculty members who would provide positive support.
"We'll be working with them and provide support," Fannin said.