The following is a brief history of LGBT work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Lou Crompton organizes interdisciplinary course in Gay Studies, the second such course to be given at an American university.  


Lincoln Gay Action Group starts in January, with student president, Joe Creason. Gay and lesbian students, led by Joe, met in October 1970 to form a group, but did not ask for formal recognition till January 1971.  Lou Crompton served as the advisor for the Gay Action Group and the UNL Gay/Lesbian Student Association. 


According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), LGBTQA history month originated with the first marches by gays and lesbians in 1979 and the success of a second demonstration of half a million people for people living with AIDS on 10/11/87 in Washington, DC. 


ASUN is asked by GLSA to include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy. ASUN passed the policy but President Gerard Keating vetoed it and a veto override failed. Other senates took it up and passed a policy. As a result of that debate, several student organizations at UNL added sexual orientation to their constitutions (as a protected status). The Residence Hall Association (RHA) was one of the organizations doing so. In April of 1985, Margie Winn, COLAGE Chair, and Rodney Bell, UNL GALA Chair, asked ASUN to adopt a resolution asking the Board of Regents to adopt a resolution empowering ASUN President Bryan Hill to lobby the student senates at UNO and UNMC as well as the Faculty Senates at UNL, UNMC and UNO to add sexual orientation, marital status, and disability to sections 3.0 and 5.2 of the Regent by-laws.

The Faculty Senate adopted a resolution at UNL. AAUW- UNL Chapter also adopted a resolution in favor of non-discrimination.


COLAGE (Committee Offering Lesbian and Gay Events) was denied funding by ASUN (COLAGE was a committee for UPC).


UNL GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae) incorporates as a non-profit organization.

Homophobia Awareness Committee meets as an informal group.

Lou Crompton retires from the English Department after 34 years. Professor Crompton also founded the Gay Caucus for Modern Languages.

ASUN election survey indicates that 69% of students favor condom machines in the residence halls.  ASUN proposed distributing condoms from the ASUN office but the bill fails.

The Board of Regents passes a resolution that reads in part (as reported in the 1989 GALA Nebraskan):

“Be it resolved by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska that: 1. Students on each campus of the University of Nebraska shall be admitted and enjoy the programs and privileges of the University without regard to individual characteristics other than qualifications for admission, academic performance and conduct in accord with University policies and rules and laws applicable to student conduct. 2. Employees on each campus of the University of Nebraska shall be employed and equitably treated in regard to the terms and conditions of their employment without regard to individual characteristics other than qualification for employment, quality of performance of duties and conduct in regard to their employment in accord with University policies and rules and applicable law. Be it further resolved that this Resolution shall become a policy of the Board of Regents and shall be incorporated into the University Policy Manual.” 


Vern Williams meets with Dr. Griesen to discuss issues faced by Gay and Lesbian students at UNL and about the informal group of faculty, staff, and students who were meeting on a semi-regular basis to address these issues and to look into the extent of discrimination which gay and lesbian students experience at UNL. Dr. Griesen officially appoints The Homophobia Awareness Committee with the primary purpose to promote a positive, inclusive environment for gay men and lesbians in the university community.


Committee sends request to Chancellor Spanier for a Coordinator of Gay and Lesbian Concerns.
Sexuality Education Coordinator position is created at the UHC in the Department of Community Health Education and Pat Tetreault is hired as the first and only person in this position.


Can you tell which one is straight? Poster (joint project of GLSA and Affirmative Action & Diversity Programs Office)


National Coming Out Day article in the Lincoln Journal Star.

GLSA held a 20th anniversary banquet on April 9th at the Arbor Room in the East Campus Union. Lou Crompton, Eric Jolly, David Bolkovac and Gwen Fischer were given awards for their work on behalf of lesbians and gays on campus.

Tony D’Augelli is brought to campus with the assistance of the Chancellor and starts the CGLBTC annual Symposium Series, which brings a nationally known speaker to UNL to talk about LGBTQA Issues.


Safe Space/ALLY Cards are designed for distribution at UNL by Pat Tetreault, Sexuality Education Coordinator and designed by John Whiteman.  The cards were distributed by the Gay Lesbian Student Association on National Coming Out Day.


NU-wide benefits committee votes to deny domestic partner benefits to NU employees, tabling the topic until unspecified “financial, legal, and other issues have been resolved”. For a history of our ongoing struggle to obtain equitable benefits, visit


Someone You Know student group organizes NCOD activities including chalking; anti-chalking occurs;

First Graduate Assistant for LGBTQA Students located in Student Involvement, after the Chancellor approves and funds the position at the request of (and with the documented need for the position) by the Committee on LGBTQA Concerns.

UPC sponsors “Love makes a family” exhibit

Allies against homophobia and heterosexism is a new student group on campus 


Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression is included as part of the then annual Take Back the Night march


In April ASUN introduces a bill to designate the group as an ally organization; bill passes. In their first action in 5 years, the ASUN student court ruled that the contested government bill did comply with student government by-laws.

Gina Matkin and Pat Tetreault provide a “How to be an ALLY” Workshop in the Nebraska Union.


Abel passes safe space bill. Controversy results so the ALLY card is only posted on the Abel Residence Hall Association door rather than on all entrances to Abel.

RHA passes bill declaring it a safe space.

University Health Center Insurance includes domestic partner coverage for students.

The first Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the LGBTQA Community is awarded by Chancellor Moeser to Vern Williams.


2001 ASUN approved a bill in April to acknowledge and comply with the university non-discrimination policy; a proposal to display an ALLY card was killed in April in the Human Rights committee. ASUN did declare itself an ALLY-friendly zone although only President Nathan Furst displayed a card in his office window. ASUN declared itself a safe space for Muslim students after the 9/11 attacks.

NU-wide report on domestic partner benefits provided to the Board of Regents.

Benefits denied.

Human Rights Chain around the Capitol for Equal Rights for LGBTQA people.


2002 Campus Climate and Needs Assessment Study completed and made available on the CGLBTC web site.


LGBTQA bulletin board vandalized for three times and replaced. New bulletin board on main floor provided (previously located on the 3 rd floor)

Part-time Assistant Director for LGBTQA Programs & Services Student Involvement (SI) obtained via the work of the CGLBTC; D Moritz is hired.

1st LGBTQA History Month dinner held at the Culture Center.

UAAD educational panel on Domestic Partner Benefits held (the video is available for use from UAAD.

Student Award for contributions to the LGBTQA community created and incorporated into the Student Impact Awards and the Chancellor’s Award recognition events


LGBTQA Teach-in; ASUN adds more groups to non-discrimination by-law (agreeing to add gender identity/expression);  


10 Year Anniversary of ALLY Cards at UNL. A week of programming takes place, including the display of a “giant” safe space ally card that individuals can sign. The ALLY Listserv is created.  The signed “card” now hangs in the LGBTQA Resource Center at UNL.

A UNL LGBTQA History is developed and displayed by Pat Tetreault, Sexuality Education Coordinator, as part of the 10 year anniversary and in honor of LGBT History Month.


The 54th Nebraska Annual Symposium on Contemporary Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Identities, Volume Editor and Conference Organizer: Debra A. Hope, Ph.D.

UNL began offering a minor in LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies minor at the start of the fall semester – the program is one of the first of its kind in the Midwest.


ASUN passes three resolutions to support LGBTQI students at UNL by directing the campus life committee to work collaboratively to establish a roommate re-assignment process for LGBTQI students that is more expeditious and confidential than the current process; to encourage housing to provide information to Residence Life staff about housing options for transgender and intersex students living on campus; and to create the Ad Hoc Committee, Employee + 1 benefits, in its research efforts to explore employee + 1 benefits that have been explored or implemented and report back to the Senate at its first Spring 2008 meeting.

5th Annual History Month Dinner conducted in partnership with the Lied Center for the Performing Arts. Tim Miller is brought in by the Lied for a 2 week residency and keynote speaker at the Dinner.  Tim Miller provided  performances, campus and community visits, and a workshop developed at the workshop – educational and entertaining events with the largest number of participants – both campus and community – to date.

The LGBTQA Assistant Director position in Student Involvement becomes a full-time position and the LGBTQA Resource Center opens in the fall in NU 342. Pat Tetreault is hired for the full-time position and serves as the founding Director of the newly established resource center.


The 6th annual LGBTQA History Month dinner theme is Intersecting Identities. The dinner is held at the Lied Center for Performing Arts with Dorothy Allison as keynote speaker. The dinner sponsors are the Committee on GLBT Concerns, LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies Minor and LGBTQA Programs, Services and Resource Center.

Safe space ally cards are updated to reflect a social justice approach and clarify the distinction between safe space provision and being an ally, resulting in two distinct cards: Safe Space (equitable access, dignity and safety in regards to programming and services) and ALLY (a personal commitment to be pro-LGBTQA+ and actively committed to diversity and inclusion for all people of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expression).
The GLBT Speakers Bureau, Out on Campus, collaborates with Citizens for Equal Protection and PFLAG-Cornhusker to develop OutSpeaking: A LGBTQA collaborative speakers bureau at UNL and in Lincoln.


The first Lavender Graduation is held at the Nebraska Union.

Louis Crompton, longtime LGBT Advocate at UNL, dies and is survived by his partner/husband of 40 years. The Louis Crompton Scholarship is established in his name.

The 7th annual LGBTQA History Month Dinner is held at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel with keynote speaker Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. 

Outlinc, Lincoln's LGBT Community Organization is started.


The second annual Lavender Graduation is held at the Nebraska Union.

The first class on Applying Social Justice to LGBTQA Programs & Services is taught by Pat Tetreault. The class will be offered every other spring. The class organizes an open mic night with the Equality Tour who are in Lincoln for a stop at Union College. The students also organize a showing of the documentary about Soulforce’s Equality Riders at the Ross Theatre.

The LGBTQA Resource Center moves from one room (342 NU with the Director’s office on the second floor) to a three room suite (345 NU), that includes space for the Director’s office, a library room, and a reception and “hang out” space. It is painted a lovely lavender with a rainbow on the west wall.

David Csontos, playwrite and UNL Staff member writes and directs two original plays for UNL that are sponsored by the LGBTQA Resource Center, “My Night with Rock Hudson” and “My Imaginary Friend”. David also directs Sprinkles, an original play written by David Houck for production at UNL.

The Art of Safe Space and Ally contest and Display is held in the Rotunda Gallery, the result of a student project by Andrew Lim with assistance from the Resource Center.

The UNL non-discrimination policy is updated:

It is the policy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln not to discriminate based upon age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran’s status, marital status, religion or political affiliation.




The Prairie Pride Film Festival is produced by Allies and Advocates for GLBT Equality at the Law College with assistance from the LGBTQA Resource Center. Held at the Joyo Theatre in Havelock.

Employee + 1 Benefits Campaign is coordinated by the Committee for GLBT Concerns and assisted by a grant from Campus Progress, obtained by Emily Schlichting.

David Csontos writes and directs “The God Show”, with the production sponsored by the LGBTQA Resource Center.

The third annual Lavender Graduation and Advocate Appreciation is combined with the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community Reception with Robyn Ochs as keynote speaker.

Robyn Ochs provides a variety of presentations and class visits April 20 – 22.

The Human Rights Campaign participates in Big Red Welcome weekend! UNL is one of the stops for the HRC Equality Bus Tour and will have their bus and information at Party at the Union on Saturday, August 20th and at the BRW Street Fair on Sunday, August 21st.

NUTR230 for Peer LGBTQA Educators will be taught for the first time in the fall.


The 10th anniversary of the LGBTQA History Month Dinner and the 5th birthday of the LGBTQA Resource Center! Seventeen years of safe space and ally cards at UNL. The LGBTQA Resource Center moves to 346 Nebraska Union, the largest and most visible space during its history. The "new" space is also painted lavender with a rainbow on the south wall of the center, which continues to be a place for visitors to sign.

In April of 2012, the UNL non-discrimination policy is updated and gender is now listed as gender identity.

Lavender Graduation and the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community are combined into one event.

Employee +1 Benefits are approved by the Board of Regents and will be implemented in January of 2013.

2013 Employee + 1 (domestic partner benefits) are implemented at the University of Nebraska. Locally, a fairness ordinance is passed in Omaha. A Fairness Ordinance for Lincoln is approved by the City Council but a petition is started, which achieves enough signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot for approval by the city's voting public. It is unknown when the vote may be held.
2015 2015 Gender Inclusive Housing Option becomes available in the Fall.


GLBT = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender

GLBTA = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally

GLSA = Gay, Lesbian Student Alliance

UAAD = University Association for Administrative Development

CGLBTC = Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Concerns

ASUN = Association of Students of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UPC = University Program Council

RHA = Residence Hall Association

Information was compiled by Pat Tetreault from minutes, files, personal communication, and articles. Research of the Daily Nebraskan archives was conducted by Jacy Farris. The information included is not an exhaustive history and is accurate to the best knowledge available.

Do you have historical information relevant to add? We would appreciate hearing from you. Please email any information or comments to