Spectrum’s history can be traced to the Homophile Awareness League founded in the early 1970s. The first university recognized organization for gays and lesbians, though, was the Gay People’s Union (GPU) founded in 1976.
The GPU dissolved in 1985 and was renamed the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA). In the fall of 1987, after the demise of the controversial and financially wrecked GALA, the Gay and Lesbian Mountaineers (GLM) was founded.
GLM ran into problems before the group began. The university felt that GLM should pay the debts incurred byGALA. After receiving a grant from the Lambda Foundation, the debts were paid and GLM was in business.
In the Spring of 1988, GLM executed a mass mailing to the faculty of WVU for the purpose of increased awareness of GLM’s existence. Responses to the mailing sparked the Report on Homophobia at West Virginia University issued by the university administration on December 6, 1990.
GLM continued to grow to an average of fifty. In 1992, the group recognized the diversity within its own organization and changed its name to Bisexual, Gay & Lesbian Mountaineers (BiGLM). As BiGLM continued to diversify, it changed names several more times in 2005 to Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Mountaineers (BiGLTM), Queer Student Union (QSU) in 2011, and finally to Spectrum in 2013.