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New Queer Studies Minor Launched Fall 2017

The Women’s and Gender Studies Department launched a new queer studies minor in fall quarter of 2017.

Students and faculty gathered in the Robert E. Kennedy Library atrium on Oct. 4 for a launch party to celebrate and speak about the significance of the new minor.

The minor has been in development for years, according to Jane Lehr, chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Lehr said the minor is a step in the direction of a more equitable and inclusive campus and world.

Political Science Students Draft a Bill
There were multiple speakers at the event who helped to welcome this 
new program to Cal Poly. 

“Courses and Learn by Doing opportunities will examine how constructions, experiences, and expressions of sexuality change over time, and are lived in relation to interlocking systems of race, ethnicity, class, nation, age, disability and gender,” said Lehr.

The minor consists of 24 units. Core classes required for completion of the minor include sexuality studies, queer anthropology and queer ethnic studies, among others.

Queer studies is not yet common among universities, according to Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Jozi DeLeon. The addition of the queer studies minor is a progressive step for Cal Poly as the university strives for more diversity and inclusivity.

“We don’t see this at every university,” said DeLeon. “The fact that we see this here at Cal Poly speaks volumes about the commitment of this university to recognize one of the most marginalized groups and to do work around creating understanding, equality and inclusion.”

Students at the Queer Studies Minor Launch Party
Many students came to the event to celebrate the beginning of the
new minor program.

The creation of this minor was a collaborative effort between students and faculty. The Queer Student Union paired with faculty to create the Queer Studies Working Group (QSWG), a group dedicated to the creation and implementation of the queer studies minor. The QSWG started meeting in 2015 to develop the minor.

“Queer studies is about being critical. It’s about not accepting the way society is now, not saying that this is good enough, and thinking critically about the priorities of the mainstream LGBTQ movement,” said political science senior and QSWG member Matt Klepfer.

Born out of students’ drive to Learn by Doing, the queer studies minor will allow for even more opportunities to practice Cal Poly’s guiding philosophy.

Queer Studies Launch Party Gallery


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