MT Lambda History
The MTSU Lambda Association was founded in 1988 by Daniel Webster, John G. Weaver, and Richie Smith in response to homophobic news articles being published by a single student writer of the campus newspaper 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 resulted 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. 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 the lack of a non-discrimination policy. The Uniform Equality Committee (UEC) 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 the UEC's 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, the six year battle to add sexual orientation was reduced to less than two years—and was supported by the Student Government Association and student body.
Not long after sexual orientation was added to MTSU's non-discrimination policy, a revitalized MT Lambda set its sights on a campus pride celebration for LGBT+ and Allied students. The week-long event came to be known as SpringOut! and has been held on the campus of MTSU each year since 2003—incorporating the LGBT+ College Conference since 2014. 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 to homosexuality and 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 trailer for the TV show Sordid Lives in 2008—and since 2003, MT Lambda has hosted speakers such as Judy Shepard, Meghan McCain, and Chaz Bono. Each of these speakers have aided us in making MTSU what it is today.
With the launch of the LGBT+ College Conference, we embark on yet another era in our history with the mission to unify LGBT+ students in Tennessee. 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
Lambda hosts weekly meetings and membership is open to all currently enrolled MTSU students who act in good faith of Lambda's Constitution and Community Standards. Membership dues are announced at the beginning of each academic year and can be paid at any time.