Ohio State University: At Pride Brunch, President Johnson reaffirms Ohio State’s commitment to inclusivity

At the LGBTQ Pride Month Brunch, President Kristina M. Johnson reaffirmed The Ohio State University’s commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Presented by Ohio State’s Office of Student Life Multicultural Center in partnership with colleges and departments across campus, the event was held June 17 at the Ohio Union.

The brunch provided an opportunity for fellowship among LGBTQ Buckeyes and allies, Johnson said.

“The poet, writer and activist Audre Lorde once observed, it’s not our differences that divide us, it is our ability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. I think Buckeyes understand that deeply,” Johnson said. “The diversity of our vast Ohio State family is our greatest strength.”

Observing LGBTQ Pride Month is part of Ohio State’s mission to help all members of the Buckeye community realize their full potential, Johnson said.

“We have a big vision for The Ohio State University, and I want it to be one of the very best public institutions in the entire country,” she said. “We have to become that place where great faculty, great students, great staff want to come here because they can be the best versions of themselves, and they can do the kind of scholarship that they want to do.”

In addition to the Pride Brunch, a contingent of LGBTQ Buckeyes and allies will march in the Stonewall Columbus Pride March on June 18 at 10:30 a.m., joined by Brutus Buckeye, the TBDBITL Alumni Band and Alumni Spirit Squad.

The Pride Month events are among a host of events Ohio State presents year-round to support the LGBTQ community, said Ari Grubaugh, intercultural specialist for the Multicultural Center’s LGBTQ Initiatives.

Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, more than 500 people attended programming that included a welcome reception at the beginning of fall semester, LGBTQ History Month events in October, the “Holigay” Dinner in December, and the annual Rainbow Celebration and Graduation in May, Grubaugh said.

“That was really incredible to get to meet and see so many amazing people,” Grubaugh said. “On top of those who went to the larger-scale LGBTQ programs, I also do several workshops, and hundreds of people attended those, as well.”

Another organization that supports Ohio State’s LGBTQ Buckeyes, the Scarlet & Gay Alumni Society, marked its 20th anniversary this year, said Kristina Toliver, the society’s vice president. Last fall, Scarlet & Gay raised more than $51,000 as part of a National Coming Out Day scholarship fundraising challenge led by Ohio State’s first lady, Veronica Meinhard.

Since the alumni society’s inception, “we’ve issued over $400,000 in scholarships,” Toliver said. “This past year at the Rainbow Celebration and Graduation, we awarded $12,000 to our students.”