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Gay University alumni form new organization

Several University alumni have launched a new group to provide support to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered University graduates.

1995 College graduate Matt Paco and 1993 College graduate Brian Eley, former University Union Co-Chairmen, are heading the new organization.

The Queer Virginia Alumni Association will consist of both local and national chapters. Local chapters are located in New York City and Washington, D.C., with an additional branch planned for Richmond.

The largest chapter is located in Washington because "the proximity to Charlottesville allows us to be more involved with the University and students to be more with us," QVA Publicity Co-Chairman Jim Adams said.

Adams said he expects more members to join "once we are established and more alumni know about us."

QVA has several goals, including providing social activities for its members, establishing a career network for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered alumni and students, supporting scholarships and graduate fellowships, and working with the University's lgbt students.

QVA is also seeking affiliation with the University's Alumni Association.

"Being associated with the Alumni Association will give us both credibility and a voice amongst all alumni," Adams said.

"Matt Paco has expressed an interest in applying for affiliated interest group status for the QVA and that is where we stand right now," said Wayne Cozart, assoc. director of alumni affairs.

In April, the Alumni Association Board of Managers approved a process for such groups to gain recognition from the Alumni Association, after "the Association had been hearing an interest of different affinity groups," said Jason Life, Alumni Association class director of trustees and reunions.

The new group is just one of three currently working with the Alumni Association to gain affiliation with the University. The other two groups are the Bolivar Network and the Asian/Asian-Pacific American Alumni Association.

Monica Nixon, interim assistant director of orientation, also is co-chairing the effort to make AAPAAN an affiliated interest group.

Nixon said the requirements for recognition include having a constitution and bylaws, soliciting signatures from current Alumni Association members and developing a mission statement.

"It's just a matter of communication" with the Alumni Association, she said. "We're really excited about it."

"Hopefully the groups will be able to organize themselves" and gain affiliation, Life said.

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