In the fall of 2007, members of the Middlebury Open Queer Alliance (MOQA, now known as Q&A) proposed a new academic interest house to the Community Council. The proposed Queer Studies House would serve “as a central location for academic research, discussion and action surrounding issues of sexual and gender identity,” according to the three MOQA leaders who led the effort – Christine Bachman ’09.5, Ryan Tauriainen ’08, and Molli Freeman-Lynde ’08.
In January 2008, the three architects presented their proposal to the Student Government Association Senate. After a heated discussion and in the face of stiff opposition – mainly focusing on the concern that only queer students would be interested in and inhabit the house, and that the house would become a place queer students isolated themselves, rather than engaging the campus community – the Senate passed the proposal 5-4.
The Community Council gave its final approval to the QSH 9-1 with one abstention, and the house became a reality the following fall in the 2008-2009 academic year, filling the space previously occupied by the German House, 70 Hillcrest Road.
Here are some stories about the founding of the Queer Studies House:
- “Council hears new house proposal” (December 6, 2007)
- “SGA supports Queer House” (January 21, 2008)
- “Queer Studies House okayed” (February 14, 2008)
- “New Space for Queer Studies is One Student’s Legacy” (no date available)
People’s Gender Council of Middlebury
The People’s Gender Council of Middlebury (PGCOM) was a grassroots group of Middlebury students, staff, and faculty active from 2009-2011 and focused on harnessing the passion of anti-oppression activists and experts to effect broad, systemic, policy-oriented change. PGCOM was the brain-child of Lark Mulligan ’11 and Viveka Ray-Mazumder ’11, who worked with members of the QSH faculty board as well as other QSH residents and interested students to create and implement their proposal over 15 long months. PGCOM operated under a philosophy heavily informed by queer studies, and many strategy sessions either for creating the proposal or planning how to bring it to the Administration were held in the Queer Studies House. More about the history, work, and fate of PGCOM is available at its now-dormant website (link above).