The LGBTQ+ diversity fund has only had one donor since its creation in 2009, but John Schofield’s ’65 donations have gone a long way in making Kenyon a more inclusive community. Now, during LGBT history month, his efforts have proven to be a key factor in promoting diversity on campus.
Schofield started the fund to support projects promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, and for others in the gender spectrum (LGBTQ), according to the Kenyon website. These projects include this month’s events honoring the LGBTQ+ community.
Tom Stamp ’73, College historian and keeper of Kenyoniana, gave a lecture on Oct. 4 on LGBTQ+ history at Kenyon. Other events included a presentation on being out in the workplace, and a candlelight vigil at the ups1ide down tree dedicated to those who have lost their lives to hate crimes over the years.
Schofield could not be reached for comment. “He really doesn’t like the reporting and the publicity to be about him; he wants it to be about the fund,” Kyle Henderson, associate vice president for planned giving, said. “For a while, [the fund] was even referred to as the Schofield Fund. He didn’t want the spotlight to be on him, however, so the name was changed.”
Henderson said Schofield’s initial plan was for the fund to last until the year after the legalization of same-sex marriage. “When gay marriage was legalized nationwide in June of 2015, the fund had to be rebranded, and it was made to be more broadly available to other students organizations shortly thereafter,” Henderson said.
The fund is not just for campus groups specifically devoted to LGBTQ+ related issues; the money can be used by any group that holds events relating to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) works with students and faculty to determine how the money is allocated, according to Assistant Diretor of ODEI Jillian Watts.
There is also an LGBTQ+ advisory committee of students, faculty and staff. Watts described several LGBTQ+-related improvements that could be on the horizon, such as new gender neutral bathroom signs.
“It’s a way for us to discuss the temperature on the campus, and we generally get really good feedback,” Watts said.
LGBT history month continues with an event on Oct. 22 called Friday Night OUT in Peirce Pub, featuring Kenyon’s stand-up comedy group Two Drink Minimum, as well a trip to Axis Nightclub in Columbus, a popular gay club.