The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Tommy Lee, LGBTQ+ advocate, to depart next week

Tommy Lee said his work with Safe Zone training and Lavender Lane are two of his proudest accomplishments. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

Tommy Lee Jr., the assistant director of intercultural development for gender and sexuality programs, will be leaving the college next Friday to take a position at Dickinson College.

“It’s hard to leave,” Lee, who has worked at the college since July 2021, said. “It’s definitely very bittersweet. I’m not leaving out of any ill will or animosity. I’m beyond proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Lee is taking the position at Dickinson because he believes he can have the most impact there due to the role’s campus-wide nature; in his current job, he works within the Office of Intercultural Development, while in his new role, he will work directly under Dickinson’s vice president of inclusion.

“It’s very much a campus-wide, institution-wide role that’s really looking at how to integrate LGBTQ rights across campus,” Lee said. “[It’s] really student-focused but also includes thinking about policy and practice and making sure that faculty, staff [and] administration are all a part of this shared responsibility. It’s going to be exciting to actually get into the weeds of thinking about policy.”

Lee cited the revamping of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and Safe Zone programming, as well as the creation of Lavender Lane, as some of the work he was most proud of during his time at Lafayette.

“Lavender Lane is a huge example of an actual physical space that demonstrates the college’s commitment to this population and it is going to be a feature of our school for years to come long after I’m gone,” Lee said. “The Safe Zone program in just two years reached over two thousand people … which given our size is such a huge impact. I’m proud of all of that we’ve done.”

Lee emphasized that he could not do this work alone.

“Everything [accomplished] was done in collaboration with really amazing students [and] some phenomenal colleagues,” Lee said. “I can’t take credit for [these changes] alone.”

Jess Heske ’25, the Lavender Lane president, has worked closely with Lee over the last few years. Lee has overseen Lavender Lane as the staff advisor since its creation.

“We love him,” Heske said of Lee. “He does a lot for Lavender Lane and the LGBTQ community on campus, so [losing] his presence is definitely going to leave a big impact on the community.”

Alex Granville ‘25, a Lavender Lane vice president, also said she would miss Lee.

“We just hope that Lafayette fills his position soon so that LGBTQIA+ individuals here on campus have someone to go to and speak to about our experience to someone who can relate,” Granville said.

“I’m excited that, even though we’ll be [in] physically different spaces, [I have made] lifelong relationships and friendships, and I’m excited to watch the college continue to grow from afar,” Lee said.

Lee expects the Office of Intercultural Development to begin a search for his replacement soon.

Madeline Marriott ’24 contributed reporting.

Correction 9/29/2023: A previous version of this article misnamed Alex Granville ‘25.

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Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.

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