Delegation represents New Paltz at SUNY conference combating violence against LGBTQ+ students

Members of the Office of Student Affairs, the Psychological Counseling Center and the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion attended the SUNY SPECTRUM conference in Albany, N.Y., which focused on strategies for supporting transgender students, faculty and staff and preventing sexual and interpersonal violence against vulnerable and marginalized communities.

The SPECTRUM conference (Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention Education, Capacity Building, and Training in Response for Underserved Sexual and Gender Minorities) brought together more than 650 attendees from 33 states.

There were representatives of fields ranging from higher education to not-for-profit advocacy to law enforcement, each offering unique expertise on how SUNY faculty and staff can help prevent violence on their campuses and aide members of their communities who have experienced violence.

While some of the recommended best practices in these cases require large scale, institution-wide initiatives, there are a number of simple and easy ways to help students feel supported, said Emma Morcone, deputy Title IX coordinator and LGBTQ coordinator.

“One thing we discussed at SPECTRUM was just making your office space or classroom a welcoming and inclusive environment,” Morcone said. “Putting out a flag, some literature or even just an ‘Allies’ sticker can send a powerful message to students at times when they may feel isolated or insecure.”

Morcone represented the College as one of just seven LGBTQ coordinators employed at campuses in the SUNY system. She is co-chair of the College’s Title IX Working Group, which arranges outreach efforts to help students and employees alike learn about issues of healthy relationships, sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.

Morcone also serves on the SUNY Transcending Gender Binary Violence Prevention and Response Impact Team, which helped organize the SPECTRUM conference.

She was joined in Albany by Joel Oppenheimer and Meghan Shea, senior counselors at the Psychological Counseling Center; Diana Suarez, leadership coordinator for the Office of Student Affairs; and Ginger Jurecka Blacke, director of organizational development and training for the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion.

More information about the SUNY SPECTRUM conference is available online.