Psychology professor Dr. Jennifer Daniels (left), Dean of Students Dr. Patrick Mulick (middle), and Student Engagement Specialist Unswella Ankton work the Lyon booth at the first-ever Batesville Pride Celebration. / Article by Kelby Newcomb, Lyon College / Image via Lyon College
Lyon College demonstrated its commitment to diversity as staff, students, and faculty participated in the first ever Batesville Pride Celebration on Saturday, June 22, in Pocket Park.
Volunteers visited with attendees and distributed popsicles, buttons, Pride flags, and fliers with Lyon’s diversity statement.
“Lyon needs to be a strong presence at events like these in our community to show that it values diversity,” said Dean of Students Dr. Patrick Mulick.
Lyon’s presence made a statement to those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community that they are supported on campus, as well as in the broader Batesville community, according to Mulick.
Several Lyon alumni and students who attended expressed their appreciation for the show of support at the event.
“It’s a really huge deal that Batesville is having its first Pride,” said Lyon graduate Alex Gillins. “I’ve been around this area since I was 10. It’s come a long way, and it’s amazing that Lyon has a booth supporting the LGBTQ community. Showing love is going to make progress.”
“I love Lyon, and I’m glad to see the support throughout the city,” said fellow Lyon alum Shelby LeGardye. “It makes it easier to call Batesville home, and it makes me optimistic about the future.”
“For Batesville, this is a huge step in the right direction,” said Lyon student Timothy Tignor. “This shows that the city is ready to accept us all as we are.”
Lyon’s Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter said having a presence at the inaugural Batesville Pride Celebration sets the pace for what is expected.
“For many in the community, this could be their first celebration,” Hunter said. “It’s important to talk with folks participating who may not be connected to the institution and let them know Lyon is a safe place. I think our participation in the event speaks to how we value celebrating all identities.”
For community members unfamiliar with the LGBT community or the symbolism behind Pride, Hunter said Lyon is an educational resource.
“Even though this is a one-day event, the educational process is ongoing,” he said. “Lyon is a place where they can learn more. It could be through our office, the library, or another resource.”
Lyon student Daria Giles said this was the first Pride she has ever attended.
“I didn’t expect such an accepting community here,” she said. “It’s nice to be accepted, and it means a lot to have Pride in Batesville and for Lyon to be here.”
“It’s nice to be part of a community that’s accepting and diverse,” said Lyon student Billy Goode. “It takes a load off to be comfortable being yourself. You can’t move forward and grow as a person until you can do that.”
Lyon’s diversity statement is included below:
All members of Lyon College benefit from the talents and experiences of our peers, from the mutual respect we exercise, and from the responsibilities we take for our actions under our Honor and Social Codes. Because of this, each member of the College deserves equal opportunity to learn, teach, and grow without facing intolerance and injustice. Lyon College fosters mutual respect and understanding among and for all people of different cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages, national origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, and physical abilities. It does so by promoting a definition of diversity and acceptance dynamic enough to grow in the future.