Macquarie University has promised to restore he campus queer space after closing it over the university break.

The university began talks with its GLBT population last week, however students were initially divided over the need for the space with a group calling itself Queers Against Queer Space complaining the previous space was unfriendly to ethnic minorities and newcomers.

More than 25 GLBT students met with the student service provider [email protected]’s sustainability coordinator Ruth Tregale last week to resolve these differences, agreeing to devise a code of conduct for the new space -“ managed independently of any previous queer student club.

One black woman said she didn’t feel comfortable because there was racism in that space. That’s not acceptable anywhere, Tregale told SSO.

Imagine you’re just coming out and you go there and you have a really bad experience. If we’re providing a service and putting resources into it, then it has to be accessible for the people who really need it.

Tregale hopes a new space will open as soon as April in a well-lit room adjacent to a food court, but providing some anonymity for those entering.

A few people said they liked it being hidden away, but the vast majority said the location could be done better, she said.

Rather than just be for people in the know, it would be something that would be fairly accessible and easy to find.

The students are also considering a name change. We have a lot of international students from countries where the word -˜queer’ is not acceptable.

The queer space was created and maintained by the previous student union, which collapsed following the introduction of voluntary student unionism laws in 2006, and inherited by [email protected]

There was no consultation at all and it was done in the holidays. The door was locked and the -˜queer space’ sign was taken away. Nobody told us they were doing this, second year student Natalie Dabarera told SSO before the talks began.

They decided to get rid of it because they believed not many people were using it, but that’s actually not true. There was definitely a group of 10 to 15 people using it daily, and others who come once or twice a week.

The university maintains there was no contact person for the Queer Collective available to discuss the closure before students returned.

[email protected] CEO Deidre Anderson said it was great to see students from different factions coming together and negotiating. She will hold another open forum with students after the new space opens.

Due to organisational change within both student and student services organisations in the past year or two, now is a good time for the Macquarie queer community and student services and welfare staff to come together to ensure queer staff and students receive both University and peer support, Anderson said.

National Union of Students president Angus McFarland said the closure of the queer space without consultation was an example of how voluntary student unionism cuts services for queer students.

If there was an elected independent student body on campus then this could have been raised at a higher level much earlier, McFarland said.

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.