In 1970, a coalition of USC students, staff and faculty initiated an organization called the Gay Liberation Forum and it served as the first LGBT social movement for the University. After years of adversity and at one point threatening legal action against the University, the Gay Liberation Forum received recognition from the USC Board of Trustees in 1975. This allowed the organization to conduct meetings on campus and request for funding. However, it was not until 1985 the Gay and Lesbian Student Union – now known as the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) – was approved as a cultural assembly within Program Board.
Today, the QuASA remains a cultural organization within Program Board.
In 2004, QuASA worked with Vincent Vigil, a graduate advisor from the Center from Women and Men, to draft a proposal to create a LGBT department within the Division of Student Affairs. This proposal highlighted retention rates, safety concerns, leadership development and mentorship opportunities for LGBT students. As a result, the Division of Student Affairs approved the proposal and established the LGBT Resource Center (LGBTRC) in 2005 as a department and hired its founding Director – Vincent Vigil. Since that time, the LGBTRC has received many accolades to make USC a national leader in LGBT student services and a desired university of choice for LGBT+ prospective students and their families. Kelby Harrison joined the USC community as Center Director in 2014 and completed her tenure in 2020; Megan van der Toorn began as the new Center Director in July 2020.
On National Coming Out Day (October 11) 2020, the LGBT Resource Center officially changed its name to the LGBTQ+ Student Center to better reflect the student community it serves.