Updated: May 7, 2020
What is your name year and major?
Natalie Marshall, I'm a senior, and my major is sculpture.
Why did you come to UMass Dartmouth?
I wanted a university in commuting distance from my house because I knew I didn't want to live on campus, at least my freshman year, and UMass is only a half-hour away from my town. My mom went there for a year and she liked it while she was there and thought it would be a good fit for me too, so. As far as public universities go they have seemingly the best art program and I knew I wanted to do art. I knew I didn't wanna go to a community college because I knew if I did and transferred in I’d have no friends and so I needed a 4 year university.
Do you consider the faculty to be diverse?
In my experience, yes. I’ve had young professors, older professors, lots of women, lots of people of color, but I might have just been lucky in picking and choosing them.
How do you think the school views its queer students?
They're trying, trying™. I mean, it's something I have never really paid attention to until towards the end of my junior year. Especially because that's when the campaign for gender neutral bathrooms came, and that’s when I joined sculpture and I started using the “fake” gender neutral bathrooms that we have in the basement of CVPA more. So when people started talking and getting uncomfortable with it I was like “well, you have three other bathrooms to use so…” I think they’re trying, but it might take a while. I think they’ve got more of the sexuality down and less of the gender. I always notice since I commute, I drive onto campus and I see the LGBTQ Flag on the flagpoles and it makes me feel nice to see that as I enter everyday. But, it's like hmmm try a little more beyond that. Like with the faculty education try a little more, like some training. Do something more besides emails that can get ignored.
How does it feel when you enter a predominantly heterosexual / cisgender space?
I wouldn't say uncomfortable, because I am uncomfortable every second of the day ever but like, if you compare when I walked into a class and there are a lot of I'm assuming straight or cis kids, I am a lot more quiet and I don't really talk to anyone. But then in a class, on the first day of school when I wasn't talking to anyone, one of the other non-binary people started talking to me and I instantly opened and we became friends in a day. So it only took a second to start a conversation because we can kinda feel that connection I guess.
Have you ever utilized the counseling center on campus?
The counseling center? No.
Would having a queer person on staff be helpful?
I think definitely because it's easier to connect with someone who's more like you, the only reason I haven’t used the counseling center on campus is because I have my own counselor outside of campus but she's a younger white woman so it's like yeah I know how to talk to you. But I feel like if a woman of color was going to talk to her, she wouldn't really understand because it isn’t her life. You want someone who shares your life experience a little bit.
Have you gone to queer related events/programming on campus? What do these things mean to you?
No but that's not because I don't want to attend a gender discussion, I just don’t wanna go anywhere anytime. Unless you count Rocky Horror, I went once.
What do you think straight white cisgender students should do differently?
Students I never had a problem with, except for this semester. I guess it's never a problem, it's more of just like you get a side glance. I guess i’d say watch what you say, don't be like wishy washy about stuff. Just lay your opinion out. I don't wanna say like pick a side. But it's also like I just think of a critique I had and my friend did their project on the gender neutral bathrooms downstairs in CVPA, and like spoke about being non-binary during that crit, and some of the students seemed disgruntled. Like “why are we talking about this oh my god.” It's like, this piece is about gender, we’re gonna talk about it. But the discomfort people show is never to a point where I feel like I can't be open about myself at all or that I’d ever be in danger. I'm just saying be more sensitive to the subject. I’ve had more of an issue with faculty then students I guess. Not even issues personally, but like having kids in my class misgendered constantly. And I'm like, should I say something? They’re not gonna say anything. Everyone just kinda looks at each other when it happens. I know if it happened to me I wouldn’t say anything either, but I wouldn't mind if someone else pointed it out.