New GLBT director named; comes to U with know-how

Anne Phibbs worked for 11 years at Metro State enriching the GLBT community.

Emma Carew

When Anne Phibbs started working at Metropolitan State University 11 years ago, she said the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community wasn’t very developed there.

Since then, Phibbs said, she has worked with students to spread activism on the Metropolitan State campus. She also created the position of director of GLBT student services at the school, a post she has held for the past eight years.

In January, Phibbs will begin her new position as systemwide director of the GLBT programs office at the University.

Phibbs said she is excited to be coming to a community where the GLBT network and activity is already well-developed.

“I think there are a lot of committed, smart people doing GLBT work at the “U,’ and I’m excited to work with them,” she said.

Anne Hodson said she has worked with Phibbs for the past three years.

Hodson is a GLBT studies senior at Metropolitan State and president of Lavender Bridge, the school’s GLBT student group.

“I’m very happy for Anne,” she said. “I think the position at the University is a tremendous opportunity for her, and it’s a tremendous gain for the University.”

However, Hodson said it will also be a loss for the Metropolitan State GLBT community, which Phibbs had a large part in developing. Many people will be sad to see her leave, Hodson said.

Phibbs was chosen from a group of candidates interviewed by a search committee and members of the Queer Student Cultural Center.

Members of the center were invited to meet each of the candidates and participate in open interviews.

“That was the greatest thing the search committee could have done for us,” said center co-chairperson Jen Mohnkern. “I was so happy that the programs office allowed us to do this. It really meant a lot.”

Mohnkern said Phibbs brought well-rounded attributes, and possessed many of the characteristics students were searching for in a leader.

“A programs director needs to be bringing our voice to the table,” Mohnkern said, “because we’re not going to be at that table.”

Phibbs said she will be very committed to the center and will also have an open-door office policy.

“I think it’s really important that students feel that they have access to the director,” she said. “I don’t know how I’m going to be serving and representing these students if I don’t know what they need, and if they don’t feel like they know me.”

Assistant director of the GLBT programs office Owen Marciano said he was very excited Phibbs was chosen as the new director.

Marciano said Phibbs’ charisma and ability to communicate effectively during her interview struck him most.

Phibbs said she is aware of transgender issues on campus. She is also familiar with concerns about domestic partner benefits that she will face in her new position, she said.

Phibbs said she will also be working to address the issue of harassment and safety and would like to continue to develop and strengthen the sense of community and activism at the University.

Phibbs said she hopes to increase the variety and visibility of the work done by GLBT activists on all the University’s campuses.

“As we increase the visibility of that work, we’ll also hopefully increase the sense of community,” she said.

Queer Student Cultural Center co-chairperson Mike Grewe said of Phibbs: “One of the main things she said was that she would be there as an advocate of us.

“Whenever she is at a meeting or at a function, she is there to represent the GLBT students at the University and make sure that we are treated with dignity and given the support we need.”