Historical Documents – 1974 ‘Intern for Homosexual Concerns’

By Eileen Yacknin
Mar. 8, 1974, Oberlin Review

[JPG of original article – 155K]

Noting that “in a place like Oberlin, oppression and discrimination are much more subtle; people here accept things on an intellectual level, as long as it doesn’t directly involve them,” Student Services Intern for Homosexual Concerns Randy Weiss, ’75, emphasized the need for this recently created position.

The post of Intern for Homosexual Concerns, approved at the end of the last semester by Dean of Students George Langeler and ex-President Robert Fuller, grew out of a recommendation presented by “a group of students who met to define the needs of gay students on campus and to propose a program by which these concerns could be voiced and met.”

Stella Graham, ’73, one of the proponents of the student proposal and a spearheader or the petition drive which resulted in a substantial number of supporting signatures, was slated to fill the one-semester internship job, but left Oberlin suddenly, leaving the position vacant. Weiss, who had decide not to re-enroll this semester, applied for and secured this appointment.

Weiss views his role as “servicing the whole spectrum of the community, from hetero- to homosexuality.” He added, “I now have this College position but I don’t want it to be narrowly defined as such. I hope to be able to reach out in other than institutional ways.” His responsibilities will entail, most importantly, “efforts to raise people’s consciousness with respect to sexuality other than heterosexuality: to make people—heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals—more comfortable with the notion and viability of non-heterosexual experiences.”

Weiss will also work with existing campus counseling services, to insure “that adequate counseling on homosexuality does exist within the basic institutional framework.” He stressed, however, that psychological counseling, while part of the job is not inherently related to homosexuality.

“The focus of my job,” emphasized Weiss, “will hopefully be to steer away from the oppressive aspects of homosexuality, and deal with the creation of positive attitudes with respect to the subject. The issue of homosexuality and bisexual acceptance is very relevant at Oberlin, because people here are so involved with exploring different levels of intimacy in relationships.”