Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor on April 15, 2021

Congress Updates

by W. Cole Patno ’24

Student Congress Representative

On April 6, Student Congress invited Erin Corry, resource coordinator for LGBTQ+ inclusion at Providence College, to speak and answer questions. 

Before answering questions, Corry mentioned that Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., created her position under his administration to foster a more welcoming and nurturing environment.

The first question a member asked was how the Dominican tradition has affected Corry’s work and if there have been any challenges. Corry responded that finding compromise is sometimes a challenge, but the Dominican value of dignity of every person has helped bridge the gap.

Another member asked if Corry could further describe how she plans to unite the Dominican values with the LGBTQ+ community. Corry says that she intends to contextualize church teachings with the history of LGBTQ+ communities. Corry also wants to disband the notion that PC’s club SHEPARD is where LGBTQ+ identities begin and end. She believes that having Dominicans lead queer programming and discussion will help make students feel more comfortable coming out at PC.

Another member asked if there were plans to talk with the faculty to make the classroom more comfortable for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially when discussing Catholic doctrine. Corry said this is a discussion that is happening presently, and that work is already being done specifically to the Development of Western Civilization curriculum.

A Student Congress member mentioned the difficulty of coming out at PC and how sometimes it does not feel like members of the LGBTQ+ community are part of the Friar Family. Corry responded that there is a way to uphold PC’s values while being inclusive.

Corry then asked Congress members what changes we would like to see regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion at PC. Members responded with answers such as ally and bias training for faculty and Dominican friars on campus, reformation of the guest speaker policy, increased transparency, and the official, full-time hire of someone in the position that Corry is in now. 

Student Congress thanks Erin Corry for her time and looks forward to collaborating in the future!

Following Corry’s discussion, four pieces of legislation were introduced. The first piece was about making the Awareness, Education, and Collaboration Committee a standing committee on Congress. The next pushed for Pell Grants to be double the amount that they are currently. Another regarded the relocation of the dean of international student success to the Office of IDEI. The final concerned the consideration of environmentally friendly practices in the construction and renovation of Raymond Dining Hall. These pieces of legislation were voted on at the Student Congress meeting on April 13. The legislation regarding the AEC Committee, Pell Grants, and Raymond Dining Hall were passed. The legislation regarding the relocation of the dean of international student success was tabled.