MT Lambda History
The MTSU Lambda Association was founded in 1988 by Daniel Webster, John G. Weaver, and Richie Smith in response to a slew of homophobic news articles being published by a single student writer of the campus paper—Sidelines. The stories he wrote featured glory holes and bathroom graffiti, and claimed that gay men on campus were using campus facilities to cruse for sex and to hookup. Not only were these articles untrue, but the photographs he used weren't even from the campus of MTSU. And, while his views didn't necessarily reflect those of the entire school paper, they did spark off a powerful response from the entire LGBT+ community at MTSU which resulting in the founding of MT Lambda.
MT Lambda became the first officially recognized LGBT+ student organization in the state of Tennessee that is still in existence today—twenty-five years later. The original membership consisted of roughly 20 students and a few bold faculty members. Their only focus was to give students a safe space to be open about their identity without fear of social ridicule. This fear lingered throughout the next decade and brought about the birth of a campus wide movement determined to address a lacking non-discrimination policy. The Uniform Equality Committee was a subcommittee of MT Lambda, and began its fight in 1995, working to gather support for the addition of sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policy. However, it wasn't until 2001 –a full six years after its establishment- that the Faculty Senate moved to address this issue and passed a resolution to add sexual orientation to the policy in question. When the time came for gender identity/expression to be added in 2009, what was a seven year battle for sexual orientation took less than two for gender identity/expression—and was welcomed by the SGA & student body.
Not long after sexual orientation was added to MTSU's non-discrimination policy, a revitalized Lambda set its sights on a campus pride celebration for LGBT+ & Allied students. The weeklong event came to be known as 'SpringOut!' and has been held on the campus of MTSU each year since 2003—this year with the addition of the Inaugural LGBT+ College Conference. Apart from giving students at MTSU the opportunity to show their pride for the LGBT+ community, 'SpringOut!' also serves to educate the entire campus and surrounding community on a variety of LGBT+ issues. In the past, 'SpringOut!' events have focused on issues from sex and sex safety all the way to homosexuality & religion. The weeklong pride event has screened more than a few LGBT+ films and TV shows –MT Lambda students were the first to view the pilot for the TV show "Sordid Lives" in 2008, before it aired— and since 2003, Lambda has hosted speakers such as Judy Sheppard, Meghan McCain, & Chaz Bono. Each of these speakers have aided us in making MTSU what it is today.
With the launch of the Inaugural LGBT+ College Conference, we embark on yet another era in our history; with our mission to unify LGBT+ students in Tennessee, and joined by student organizations across the state, we aim on empowering students to make real and necessary changes on their campuses in the name of diversity and inclusion for all.
University Awards Presented to MT Lambda:
Impact Student Organization of the year 2012-2013
Student Organization of the year 2010-2011
Student Organization of the year 2009-2010
Cultural Event of the Year 2006-2007
Diversity Programming Award 2006-2007
Educational. Event of the Year 2004-2005