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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

‘Out After Carleton’ reconnects College’s LGBTQA community

<wn phrase “Carls help Carls” takes on a new meaning in light of the tight unity and dedication of the organization Out At/After Carleton (O@C). Founded by former President Steve Lewis to honor the LGBTQA community at Carleton, alumni would meet at an alumnus’ house in Seattle to foster a support system.

O@C has officially met at Carleton four times since its beginnings. However, its larger purposes are to serve as a buttress to a nationwide network and to revisit the alma mater to check on the campus’s LGBTQA support.
O@C “is a way for LGBTQA folks to stay connected to the college once they graduate,” said Kaaren Williamsen, director of the Carleton Gender and Sexuality Center.

This weekend, many students and alumni met on campus for O@C’s twentieth-anniversary reunion. With the large turnout, it was easy to forget the organization’s humble roots. 

Today, O@C allows LGBTQA alumni to stay connected to Carleton and students to learn about the history of LGBTQA rights on campus. 

“For a lot of out alumni from the ‘50s and ‘60s, the environment at Carleton could be overly hostile,” said Williamsen.  “O@C allows these alumni to see what Carleton is now, and change their relationship to it.” 

In return, Carleton students can learn from alumni about what Carleton was like in the past, when there was a prevalently less tolerant climate.

 “It’s about revisiting history, and honoring where we are today,” Williamsen said. 

The O@C 2011 reunion was held from Oct. 28 through Oct. 30 and featured a wide range of events, titled “concurrences”, during which students and alumni discussed both their own lives and broader issues in the LGBTQA community. 

According to Williamsen, the most memorable event was a screening of David Pavlosky’s film “Don’t Bring Scott”, in which Pavlosky chronicles his family’s evolving reactions to his sexuality and his partner, Scott Mason ’89.  Other guests included Julia Thiel ’04, who recently won a James Beard award for food writing. 

O@C holds these reunions only once every four years, but it organizes events at Carleton College reunions as well.  Williamsen hopes that in the future, O@C will grow as a networking organization, helping students and alumni connect to, and learn from, one another. 

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