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History

After a heated debate in 1993 attended by 150 members of the university community, the attempt by the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance at being a recognized student group was defeated by the Student Senate by a vote of 15-9. After a name change and after Student Senate approval by a vote of 24-6, on April 29, 1996 Open Doors was officially recognized as a student organization by the Student Activities Committee, with Jason Bockis leading the way as president and Dr. Philip Compton as faculty advisor. Jason was quoted in the Toledo Blade to say that, "the fear of some then [in 1993] was that we were going to be activists." The original constitution stated that the group could not use university funding for its programs. About 15 students regularly attended meetings.

Since that time and after a period of inactivity, Open Doors was resurrected in 2002 by Jeremy Hall and Justin Smyer, who became the group's president and vice president, respectively. The constitution was reevaluated and changed so that funds could be appropriated from the university's general student organization funds. Justin Smyer was president for the next two and a half years and saw an increase in membership and increased programming. Some of the first group activities included Christmas caroling at Beverly Nursing Home in Lima, the annual alternative Valentine's Dance, and the National Day of Silence. As part of the Greek Week festivities in 2004, Open Doors collaborated to bring Shane Windmeyer to speak about being "out" in a fraternity to a packed audience of over 200. Acceptance of Open Doors and its mission was growing.

Since 2005, the Faculty Allies program was begun to help faculty, staff, and administration relate to and help GLBTQA students with finding resources on campus. John Kohli took over leadership that same year and in ten years, Open Doors has successfully proven their desire and passion to be one of the most active and networked groups on campus. In May 2006, Open Doors was named the Alice Kay Hilderbrand Outstanding Student Organization of the Year, the highest honor bestowed to a student group by the Student Senate.

In 2007, Open Doors hosted the first annual drag show on the ONU campus to raise money for the AIDS Resource Center of Lima. Open Doors is a member organization of the Multicultural Affiliated Groups which is lead by the Director of Multicultural Development, LaShonda Gurley. For more information visit the Multicultural Development at ONU.