Colleges Ask Students to Identify Their Sexual Orientation
In order to protect LGBT members, colleges across the country are asking their students to out themselves, the New York Times reported.
The Academic Senate of the University of California recently proposed the idea to ask incoming freshman to identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, during the admission process. The chair of the senate, Robert Anderson, said that question will not be asked on school applications because "students may feel uncomfortable filling out the forms in front of their parents." ABC News reported.
"Sexual orientation is a part of diversity and cannot be ignored," Anderson said after the proposal was passed, according to the UCLA student newspaper, the Daily Bruin. "It's past time for this," he told ABC News.
Last year Elmhurst College in Illinois became the first college to ask its students to declare their sexual orientation on its admission application. Gay students were eligible for a diversity scholarship.
"In practical terms, we invite applicants to identify themselves as members of the L.G.B.T. community in order to provide them with better student services when they arrive on campus," Elmhurst's president, S. Alan Ray, wrote in a letter to the school.
"As for all students from under-represented groups, the sooner we know how many such students to expect, the better we can plan appropriate co-curricular programming, as well as link up those students with their particular campus affinity groups - such as the Black Student Union, HABLAMOS, or Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE).
"In short, we want L.G.B.T. students, like all students, to succeed at Elmhurst. We want them to learn and grow in a safe environment. We want them to know from the start that they will not feel isolated here because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Before Elmhurst asked its students to report their sexual orientation on its applications, the Times pointed out that the University of Pennsylvania reached out to students who might be gay by reading their personal statements in their application essays.
"The university gleaned information from applicants -- through statements in their essays, their memberships in groups, and their expressed interests in social and cultural organizations -- to identify gay admits," the newspaper reported.