Written by: Michelle Gomez, Staff Writer
Simon Fraser Student Society’s (SFSS) Out on Campus, the university’s LGBTQ+ education, advocacy, and resource centre, is temporarily closed. According to SFSS CEO Martin Wyant in an email interview with The Peak, the space will reopen in the beginning of October.
On August 22, the SFSS Out on Campus Facebook page announced that “due to some unforeseen circumstances the Out On Campus space will be temporarily closed until further notice.”
Wyant explained that the department’s coordinator Dani McNeil-Willmott is on temporary leave, and the space will reopen when they return.
Any emails sent to McNeil-Willmott indicate that the coordinator will return on October 4, and to direct all inquiries to the Women’s Center coordinator in the interim.
Out on Campus is a designated safe space on campus that is open for anyone to use, regardless or orientation or identity. They offer a physical space for students, a library of queer-related books, safe sex and menstrual supplies, workshops and events, and other support resources.
According to Wyant, the Women’s Centre is open to all students, including those who would typically use Out on Campus.
While the 24/7 lounge area in the Women’s Centre is only open to self-identified women, they have an all-genders resource area where the coordinator “has training to provide resources, support, and referrals to folks who normally visit Out on Campus,” including those who do not identify as a woman. Furthermore, Wyant noted that “the Women’s Centre has a strict rule in their space to not permit any sort of gender policing.”
Students can come to the Women’s Center for safe sex supplies, menstrual supplies, snacks, or just for a place to study or rest. They are also equipped to provide support and referrals.
Out on Campus was most recently closed in February of this year. Wyant explained that, during this time, the department was hiring a new coordinator.
He explained that it typically takes “upwards of six weeks to fill vacant positions at the SFSS.” However, he noted that the Women’s Centre and Out on Campus — which are both SFSS organizations — work closely together to support each other during temporary closures due to vacation, staff leaves, or during recruiting processes.
Wyant noted that the SFSS hopes to fill positions for both a Women’s Centre assistant and an Out on Campus assistant to provide more support to students. “It can be challenging to maintain these services during vacation periods, sick leave, and while we are recruiting to fill roles that have been vacated,” Wyant wrote.
He noted that the SFSS will review new strategies to deal with closures over the next few months.