The newly elected Associated Students of Grossmont College (ASGC) president, Leo Bardo Rubio, plans on spending this year bringing inclusive policies to Grossmont to create a welcoming environment, focusing especially on LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer, intersex and asexual) students.
Rubio said he was always told he could do a lot, but he “never really believed it.” When he joined the ASGC, that began to change. He started as a board member, took on the director of Board Affairs position and then, ran for and won his seat as president last spring semester.
As a board member, he served on several committees to provide student input on the decisions that affect us all. As director of Board Affairs, he took care of board business, including getting agendas ready, taking meeting minutes, ensuring any paperwork that needs to be done is done, and so much more.
Now, as campus president, he leads the ASGC in ensuring the student’s voice is heard.
“We represent the students on a campus level, we represent the students on a regional level, and then we also do it on a statewide level,” Rubio said.
On campus, ASGC members are appointed to governance committees. One example Rubio gave was his position on the Facilities Committee, working with faculty and staff on a five-year master plan. This plan will dictate the construction that will commence once the current projects are done.
One of Rubio’s goals is to have a LGBTQIA+ center for students. He acknowledges this project will not be completed within his presidency. “There’s going to have to be a lot of preparing for that, a place,” Rubio said, “that may come from future master plans.” These plans, made by the Facilities Committee, take a long time to finalize, and then longer to implement.
The Dream Center can work as a model for the process required for a LGBTQIA+ Center. One year after the Dreamer’s Movement Club formed, the Dream Center was created because students “spoke up about their needs,” Rubio said.
“I’m also a dreamer, and if we are able to do that; we are also able to do this,” he said.
Rubio’s ultimate goal with making this center a reality is to make sure everyone on campus feels welcomed and comfortable. Benjamin Grube, the ICC Representative of the SOGI (Sexual Orientation/ Gender Identity) Club on campus, would want the center to have amenities such as counseling and assist students to a gender therapist, as well as meetings for allies, friends, family and professors. They hope the center would also provide workshops on legal name change, safe sex supplies, groups for people of color who are LGBT, mental health, housing and the process of transitioning at school.
“If you’re in Hillcrest, there are so many LGBT resources,” Grube said, “but here out in East County, there’s not a lot for LGBT people.”
Rubio plans to raise awareness by setting up a panel of trans men and women to celebrate a trans day of remembrance on campus. While it’s not set in stone, it is a great example of the kind of plans ASGC has to bring attention to trans issues and struggles.
“We feel it’s a good first step on the ladder to where we want to go,” Rubio said.
Another way Rubio plans to create an inclusive campus, is to have gender-neutral restrooms located next to traditional restrooms in the buildings— that would be a part of the upcoming five-year plan. Rubio said logistics are a concern for some, while others are just unaware of the need for gender neutral restrooms.
“We’re not going to demolish all restrooms and make them gender-neutral. Changing the signs is not enough,” Rubio said. “It’s more about new buildings.”
Rubio does not advocate for all restrooms in the new buildings to be gender-neutral. “We know it has to be a transition,” he said.
His plan is for there to be traditional gendered restrooms along with gender-neutral restrooms. This is in an effort to accommodate those who would rather avoid binary restrooms and for those who prefer a more traditional experience.
When Grube heard of the potential for gender-neutral restrooms with multiple stalls, as opposed to a single occupancy room, they said, “That’s exciting!”
When asked what they’d say to people who have concerns about safety in regard to gender-neutral restrooms, Grube said, “If you’re a woman in a women’s restroom, hypothetically another woman can sexually assault you, and if you’re a man in a men’s restroom, hypothetically another man can sexually assault you.”
Grossmont student Haniel Delke said, “If you’re concerned about safety then don’t use the gender neutral restroom.”
ASGC currently has two volunteer positions open. “They help us keep the office together,” Rubio said. Their duties include office work and being the face of ASGC for any students who walk in the ASGC office (located in Griffin Center by Peet’s Coffee).