New centre a source of Pride
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
In a ceremony being held today, the university will officially recognize The University of Western Ontario Research Facility for Gay and Lesbian Studies.
The resource centre in University College, which began informally in February as the Pride Library, started with the donation of over 100 books by founding director James Miller and has now grown to a collection of over 1,000. "I didn't realize how strong the response would be," he said.
Archives of gay and lesbian literature offered to the centre by the Homophile Association of London Ontario could only be lent to a recognized centre and the association therefore urged Miller to approach the university regarding recognition.
Richard Hudler, chair of social services and former president at the Homophile Association of London Ontario, has been asked to speak at the ceremony and said the decision to donate the archives arose out of concerns the literature was not readily accessible. Hudler said he found it hard to organize the literature by himself.
The centre will serve as a resource for those interested in these issues in addition to encouraging discussion between gay men and lesbians who have traditionally been divided, Miller said.
Yet Alexa Duggan, president of uwOUT, said she does not believe Miller is qualified to run a gay and lesbian research facility because he only centres his research and previous courses on gay men. "Hopefully the resources will be evened out now that the centre is being recognized."
Although the university will not be funding the research centre, Western has donated computer equipment, Rm. 305 in UC and staff made up of students on the work-study program.
Western's VP-research Bill Bridger said recognition by the university changes the nature of the library from one of an advocacy centre to a centre of research and scholarship. "The formal designation will allow Miller more opportunity to raise funds."
The research facility will consist of a Pride Library with books and periodicals on gay and lesbian studies in addition to archives made up mainly of the HALO donation. The centre will also function as a bibliography centre for other libraries.