LGBTQIA+ Commission


The LGBTQIA+ Commission facilitates a University environment where all sexual orientations and gender expressions are recognized equally and inclusively.


The mission of the PennWest Edinboro President's Commission on the Status of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender People, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Allies is to facilitate the development of a university community that is equitable and inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender expressions through advocacy, education, assessment, and activism.

The LGBTQIA+ Commission achieves this mission by monitoring the campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied faculty, students and staff, reviewing the policies and programs that might affect this community, and advising and assisting the University President on these issues.

The LGBTQIA+ Commission was established in 2007 by President Frank G. Pogue. The LGBTQIA+ Commission meets monthly during the academic year. Its membership includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied university faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members who are appointed by the president.


The Commission is charged with the following responsibilities:

  1. Identify and recommend procedures to correct inequities that may exist in hiring, promotion, tenure and salary of faculty, administration and staff.
  2. Periodically review the status of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and allies, including assessment and monitoring of the campus climate for those populations.
  3. Provide recommendations for special efforts and strategies to recruit and retain a diverse work force.
  4. Assist in the development and implementation of programs to address the needs, interests and concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and allies.
  5. Periodically review institutional policies to assess non-discrimination issues and recommend corrective action to the President.
  6. Assist in the preparation and the campus-wide dissemination of an annual status report so that disparate trends can be identified and addressed.



Chair - Dr. Roger Wolbert
Vice Chair - Dr. Susan Packard
Secretary - Mr. Samuel Comfort
Treasurer - Dr. Hilary Copp

Faculty and Staff Members

Dr. Gerald Hoffman
Dr. Elaine Rinfrette
Mr. Charles Scalise
Dr. Leslie Sotomayor
Dr. Molly Wolf

The inclusion of names on this list does not indicate any sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity of an individual member.

Coming Out

Coming Out is a process. It's neither straight-forward nor quick, and it's a journey that needs friends. In this section, we'll refer you to a number of different on-campus resources. Although Coming Out can be scary and difficult, the rewards are worth it. Being who you are is a great feeling and a huge aspect of positive psychological health. We wish you well as you work on various coming-out issues.

There are some cautions you must be aware of before coming out. Please assess your own situation for the following:

  1. Personal Safety - If you tell someone you are GLBT, is there a chance of being physically harmed?
  2. Financial Dependence - Are you financially dependent on others? If you tell them, will they stop paying for tuition, housing, food, etc.?
  3. Social Connections - When you tell your friends and family that you are GLBT, you will find that some people will tell you that they already know and are very welcoming of the news. Some will find this to be new information but they will be happy for you. And other friends and family may have difficulty, which can range from short-term separation to permanent disruption of the relationship. So, please be prepared for the range of reactions. However, there will be many new and wonderful people who will come into your life to help replace those that leave your life.

Please evaluate your situation in relation to the list above. It may be a great time to come out now or it may be a better idea to wait. Certainly, if you feel your personal safety, financial situation, or social connections are at risk, please seek assistance before coming out. There are four wonderful campus resources to help you with the coming-out process. They are described below:


Depending on your interests, and regardless of your sexual or romantic orientations or gender identity, you might want to attend some meetings of Identity: Edinboro's LBGTQ + Inclusive Club. The meetings vary in content from business to games and movie nights and everything in between. They are a great bunch of students with a variety of LBGTQ-related experiences. Identity meets on Mondays at 8:45 p.m. in Hendricks 101.


Another great resource on campus is the Counseling and Psychological Services program at the Ghering Student Health Services Center. The professional counselors there are members of the faculty and are highly trained with sensitivity to GLBT issues and coming out. The appointments are free and confidential. Make an appointment or see additional services.

Safe Zone

In addition, members of the Safe Zone Program are faculty and staff who have been through training on GLBT issues. They will display a placard on their office doors and are available for informal discussions. You can certainly be yourself with them wherever you are in the coming-out process. They will understand, listen, and refer you to other resources as needed.

Human Rights Campaign

Check out the following Coming Out Resources here:

Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Guide

HRC Coming Out Resources

Contact Us

The Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Frank G. Pogue Student Center
405 Scotland Road
Edinboro, PA 16444
Phone: 814-732-2912