Our Mission Statement
PRISM is the oldest queer-straight alliance at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). We aim to create a safe, comfortable, and nurturing environment for all LGBTQIA+-identified individuals and their allies. PRISM strives for acceptance and equality for all people regardless of gender expression, gender identity, sex, sexuality, age, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, health status, or immigration status. Our goal is to educate and advocate on TCNJ's campus as well as the greater Mercer County area. PRISM also acts as a support system and social outlet for its members.
History of PRISM (formerly GUTS @ TCNJ)
GUTS stands for the Gay Union of Trenton State. The GUTS organization was formed on November 29, 1976 by Joseph Paul Schirehak, a senior biology major at The College of New Jersey, known as Trenton State College at the time. In the beginning, GUTS aimed to:
- Provide a social setting in which gays can communicate and find support through group interaction.
- Have a gay hotline to help students to adjust to being gay on campus, i.e. information-resource.
- To plan activities and programs which would meet the needs of the gay community, but in addition since these activities are open to the entire college, they will also serve as learning experiences for the straight community, i.e. help to alleviate negative societal stereotypes.
Throughout its 25 year lifetime, the GUTS organization experienced years of inactivity. Little records of their activities in the beginning years were documented, as the leaders of the organization emphasized the anonymity of its members. In the mid 1990’s, the GUTS organization reached new heights as GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) issues became a critical concern in colleges and in the media. In 1998, GUTS held a candle light vigil for Mathew Sheppard, a college student who was a victim of an anti-gay hate crime.
GUTS was presented with the Most Outstanding Program Promoting Multicultural Values award by The College of New Jersey’s Division of Student Life that year. The organization received the same award in 2000-2001 for its GUTS Teach-In, an event to fight the various anti-gay acts that had occurred throughout that year at The College of New Jersey. The GUTS organization also formed The Haven, a GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) support group for students who may be questioning their sexuality, and SBNN (Straight But Not Narrow), an education program that aims to fight homophobia in college campuses, in 2003.
In May 2005, under the leadership of former President Noel Ramirez, the members of GUTS voted to change the name of the organization to PRISM (no acronym). The name change occurred in an attempt to re-establish the organization on campus, as well to convey a more inclusive image. In fall 2006, Prism won its battle with the school administration and obtained its own center, located in the basement of the Brower Student Center. Today, PRISM is TCNJ's only group for LGBTQIA+ students, the allies who support them, and the movement for equality. Our focus is to educate TCNJ students, faculty, and staff of issues pertaining to the LGBT community, provide community outreach and educational programming, and be a social outlet for everyone.
Former website: http://prism-tcnj.livejournal.com/