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Elmhurst College asks, “Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT community?”

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Students at Elmhurst College//Photo Source: Elmhurst College

As part of their initiative to create a safer, equality-conscious college, Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill. will now include an application question that asks about a student’s sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Campus Pride, an non-profit organization that applauds the college’s efforts in promoting LGBT equality.

The demographic question will help administrators select students that reflect the college’s commitment to a diverse student base to include individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender.

“The move by Elmhurst administrators to include this question represents a distinct and unique paradigm shift in higher education to actively recognize out LGBT youth populations and to exercise greater responsibility for LGBT student safety,” said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director. “For the first time, an American college has taken efforts to identify their LGBT students from the very first moment those students have official contact with them. This is definite progress in the right direction — and deserves praise.”

As students identify their demographics upon application, including any information pertaining to their sexual orientation, college officials will aim to help incoming students with any potential needs, including potential interest in any of the college’s campus programs. In addition, students who choose to answer the question may have eligibility to participate in the school’s Enrichment Scholarship, an award based on the merit of “underrepresented groups on campus,” according to reports at Campus Pride.

“In words and action, Elmhurst College stands by our commitment to welcome and affirm all persons with respect to race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, faith perspective, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression into the full life of the college,” said Christine Grenier, spokesperson for Elmhurst College. “Being able to reach out to LGBT students intentionally will allow us to connect to students earlier, help ease the transition to college and provide valuable resources on campus.”

Supporters of the new admissions question at Elmhurst College say it may help incoming students who identify with the LGBT community feel more welcome and reassured of their presence at the college.

“The college admission form is an essential way to gather data on prospective students and to communicate a message of inclusion, worth and value by the questions being asked. The bar has been set.”

As a part of their dedication to the LGBT community, Elmhurst College also recently named “its annual LGBT Guestship in honor of an esteemed alumnus, the Reverend Dr. William R. Johnson,” in an event that will take place October 11.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=14236

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011. Filed under Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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