“We must support the rights of LGBTQ individuals and contribute to making social workers and others more aware of the issues that gays and lesbians face.”
– Dr. Erwin A. Carner
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community has spent years fighting for equal rights and liberties. While topics such as same-sex marriage have been in the media spotlight as of late, the LGBTQ community continues to strive for inclusions that most heterosexual families take for granted. The issue resonates personally with Dr. Erwin Carner, SW’65, an alumnus and loyal donor to the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2).
“My eldest daughter is married to another woman. They have three wonderful children, a house in the suburbs, two cars, and great careers,” Dr. Carner says. “There is no reason that they should be treated differently than any other married couple.”
Dr. Carner’s stance on this social justice matter comes at a time when the School of Social Policy & Practice is exploring how to best address these issues. In the fall of 2014, the School hosted an LGBTQ Summit to identify approaches that would strengthen SP2’s emphasis on LGBTQ education and research. That Summit resulted in the creation of a dynamic LGBTQ Advisory Committee. By the spring of this year, SP2 offered its very first class solely dedicated to LGBTQ issues, and revisions to the School’s Diversity Statement and the University’s Diversity Action Plan were underway. To help these efforts continue, Dr. Carner established the SP2 LGBTQ Fund. The monies will cover LGBTQ event programming and training for faculty, staff, and students as well as more curriculum enhancements. Meeting these needs at the University is a testament to Dr. Carner’s experiences and ongoing advocacy for LGBTQ rights. “Serving as the president of the board of the Attic Youth Center for many years made me even more aware of the needs of youth who were different.”
Dr. Carner’s gift is the first of its kind at the School of Social Policy & Practice and supports the University in becoming a more conscious, affirming, and diverse community.