Diversity work isn’t formative, we don’t check a box, reach a goal, and say we’re done. I want to look at what BSU has done and see where else we are going and trying to get to.
Carolyn Taggart has long served as an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. Now she brings that experience to her new role as director of the Pride Center at Bridgewater State University.
Taggart and her wife recently moved to the area from Pennsylvania, where Taggart worked at Bloomsburg University as coordinator of sexual and gender diversity.
“To do this kind of work, you have to be super passionate, which I am. I love getting to work with students in general, but especially with LGBTQIA+ populations,” Taggart said. “My goal is to give students a better experience, to help remove the roadblocks and obstacles that I had as a student.”
While an undergraduate, Taggart initially wanted to be a music teacher but after working as a student leader in her college’s LGBTA organization, discovered her passion was in advocacy.
“I got more than halfway through the (music) program and realized this was not what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.
As a student leader, it was apparent to Taggart that her school didn’t have proper supports in place for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We saw how our (LBGTQIA+) friends were struggling, we noticed they weren’t graduating…they were not thriving, not succeeding and needed better resources in place on an institutional level,” she said.
Taggart and others reached out to administrators and lobbied for better supports that led to a new LGBTA center.
It’s that sort of ambition that stood out to the search committee when looking to replace founding BSU Pride Center director Lee Forest, who held the position for just over 14 years.
“We wanted someone who would continue to deepen our framework of practice around intersectional support as we understand all queer students are not the same and come from an array of experiences,” said Sabrina Gentlewarrior, vice president of student success and diversity. “Carolyn really stood out as exemplary in regard to the kind of work she will bring to BSU.”
For Taggart, knowing Bridgewater State already had an established Pride Center was a big reason she applied for the job.
“It is unusual in this work to find an LGBTQIA+ pride center that’s been in existence this long,” Taggart said. “Bridgewater has a lot of great things in place and done amazing work in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.”
But, she said, the work isn’t done.
“Diversity work isn’t formative, we don’t check a box, reach a goal, and say we’re done,” Taggart said. “I want to look at what BSU has done and see where else we are going and trying to get to.”
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