More College Students May Be Asked to Declare Sexual Orientation

by Tanya Caldwell, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/14/12

Posted March 14, 2012

Officials of the University of California system have proposed asking incoming freshmen to identify their sexual orientation, a move that might cement such declarations as an emerging topic in the college admissions process.

ABC News reports that the Academic Senate of the University of California system initiated the proposal to ensure that services are provided for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The question will not be asked on applications to the schools because students may feel uncomfortable filling out the forms in front of their parents, according to Robert Anderson, chair of the senate.

“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.

Elmhurst College, in Illinois, announced last year that it would ask students about their sexual orientation on its admission application, making it the first college believed to make such a move. Students who identified themselves as gay were eligible for a diversity scholarship.

The private college is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which endorsed gay marriage in 2005.

“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). <read more>

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