Transgender Professor Denied Tenure ‘Without Cause’

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is not expected to pass the current House of Representatives, but proponents hope to use the bill as an educational tool about workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. A story unraveling at Southeastern Oklahoma State University demonstrates how higher education is one of many fields vulnerable to discrimination against people who are gay and trans.

Dr. Rachel Tudor, a professor of English, Humanities, and Philosophy at SOSU has been denied tenure despite ample support from her colleagues, immediate supervisors, a Faculty Senate resolution with no opposition, and two Faculty Appeals Committee rulings in her favor. No explanation was given for the rejection, and she was blocked from reapplying (as many professors successfully do), again without explanation. At this point, Tudor has exhausted every forum to rectify her situation and her contract with the university will be terminated as of May 31 “without cause.”

All the evidence suggests that Dr. Tudor has been discriminated against for being transgender, primarily by Dr. Douglas McMillan, SOSU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. When Tudor first transitioned, McMillan request she be terminated because her identity “offends his Baptist beliefs.” Though he could not have her fired, he was successful at requiring she only be allowed to use a single-stall restroom on a different floor from her office. In addition, the dean who oversees Tudor’s department, Dr. Lucretia Scoufos, regularly disrespected Tudor by referring to her with male pronouns. These two individuals had sole authority over the original tenure decision and McMillan was also who blocked her from reapplying.

Despite the way it seems her administrators went out of their way to block her continued employment, Tudor appreciates how others have stood up for her:

I’m completely overwhelmed and gratified so many people have taken initiative and shown their support. It’s amazing to see that people have such integrity.

According to a recent study, nearly half (47 percent) of transgender people have been fired, not hired, or denied promotion for their identity. Oklahoma has no state-level discrimination protections for gender identity, and without a federal ENDA, there is nothing to protect talented, successful employees like Tudor from being terminated without cause. Still, Tudor has taken her case to the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, the US Department of Education, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in hopes of intervention. You can support her by signing a petition for her reinstatement.

100th Day of School: A Student’s Perspective on Bullying

Today marks the ceremonial 100th day of school for students across the United States. It’s an important day to mark the ongoing culture of bullying and harassment that persists for young people who are perceived to be LGBT in our schools and universities. In solidarity with the Safe Schools Action Network, I’m pleased to share with you the testimony of one young person who has been the victim of bullying.

The following was written by a student at the Catholic University of America.

Late one night during my sophomore year, here at CUA, I was asleep in my dorm room in Ryan.  It was probably around 3:00 AM when I awoke to several loud bangs on my door.  I heard several voices out in the hallway, all male, and they were all laughing and talking about me.  They yelled, “Yo, come out here faggot!”

I continued to lie in my bed; my heart was racing, and I didn’t know what to do.  Another male then said, “Yo, get the fuck out here faggot so I can beat the shit out of you!”  I glanced across the room to my roommate’s bed to see if he had woken up, but it seemed he hadn’t.

The group in the hallway continued to bang on the door as hard and as much as they could.  The hinges on the door were rattling and I was afraid that given the force with which they were hitting the door, the door itself would break at any given moment.

Then, the banging stopped and the voices were reduced to light giggling and laughter.  It was at this point that I could hear the guys outside my room writing on the whiteboard outside my door.  After a few minutes they began to bang on the door some more, screaming for me to come out there to see them, then the voices died down and then finally there were no more sounds in the hallway.

I was breathing rapidly, and it was only after ten minutes that I had the courage to get out of my bed to go over to the door.  I looked through the peephole and saw that no one was outside.  I opened the door and looked at my whiteboard and written all across it were profanities regarding my sexuality along with vulgar images of penises.

I called DPS and they responded and I filed a report, but nothing ever came of it.  I lived two doors down from one of my two RAs, yet neither he nor the other one responded that night.  Neither of my RAs were around that night, and as such, there was no one who could have responded right away to help me.  I felt as though I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, except for close friends, and that there was no one who could legitimately sympathize with me.

That night, I felt entirely alone.

The Chronicle Review Highlights Trite Anti-Atheist Memes

I continue to have concerns about higher education’s ability to talk about religion. From the embrace of “spirituality” by student affairs to the accreditation of creation-teaching religious schools, the home of our sharpest minds and supposedly most forward-thinking thinkers still seems to have a very conservative and backwards approach to our oldest philosophical questions. It’s like it’s still 1940 and everybody’s afraid they’ll be the next Bertrand Russell—start saying things that are critical (taboo) and you’ll be the next to be unhired.

The featured editorial in yesterday’s The Chronicle of Higher Education doesn’t offer much to be optimistic about. The author, Stephen T. Asma, is a philosophy professor at Columbia College Chicago, and you know his article is going to be a farce just from its title: “The New Athe­ists’ Nar­row Worldview.” I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t write the title, but he should complain; an ad hominem attack like “narrow” (an intellectual’s synonym for “stupid”) doesn’t do much to set up the credibility of an argument.

Sure enough, Asma’s argument doesn’t have much credibility to preserve and his title is only the beginning of his ad hominem. In fact, his piece covers all the memetic bases when it comes to baseless critiques of atheism. He smears atheists with Marx’s endorsement, then hammers home the stereotype of amorality with Khmer Rouge and Red Guard, stopping just short of Nazism, but not before the damage is done. Ironically, his trite attempt to paint atheism as amoral is supposed to be a critique of Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape, a book about how we can be moral without religion.

Asma’s campaign is as ill-supported as the attack ads he opens with, suggesting that the animism of the Eastern religions keeps the poor, starving people of third-world nations happy, so it’s not a bad thing. Talk about putting the chicken before the egg. Just because animism is lacking in the orthodoxy department, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective at pacifying the oppressed. And while many of Buddhism’s teachings certainly can be understood and appreciated without any supernatural presuppositions, serving whiskey to the phii/neak ta spirits isn’t helping anybody. As one commenter pointed out, it’s Santa Claus’s cookies for adults.

What is most disappointing is his glib suggestion that as long as someone can derive something good from religion, then all religion should be “cherished and preserved.” In other words, don’t invite Stephen Asma to your next AA or NA meeting:

But I’d advance a much more rad­i­cal ar­gu­ment as well. Not only should the more rational and therapeutic elements be distilled from the opi­ate of re­li­gion. But the wacky, su­per­sti­tious, cloud-cuck­oo-land forms of re­li­gion, too, should be cherished and preserved, for those forms of religion some­times do great good for our emo­tion­al lives, even when they com­pro­mise our more-rational lives.

In case you weren’t sure whether Asma was really suggesting that opiates—constructed delusions—are a good thing, he makes it quite clear later in the piece: he is.

Is an­i­mism a mere “opi­ate,” as the athe­ists ar­gue? Well, yes, but don’t underestimate opi­ates. They can be high­ly in­spi­ra­tion­al and con­sol­ing. Af­ter all, a drunk­en man is usu­al­ly a lit­tle hap­pi­er than a so­ber one. In fact, to con­tin­ue the met­a­phor, op­pos­ing re­li­gion is a lot like pro­hi­bi­tion­ists’ oppos­ing drink­—a rath­er cru­el pro­ject in my view. I’d glad­ly give my copies of Mao’s Little Red Book, and Daw­kins’s The God De­lu­sion for a six-pack of Grolsch. But if all that is too of­fen­sive, we might re­place the word “opi­ate” with “an­al­ge­sic,” and my point may be more a­gree­a­ble.

How primal. He ignores the pivotal argument of the very “new atheists” he’s critiquing that you don’t need religion to have comfort or emotional solace or meaning in life. But if religion is the drug, then the new atheism (if something 100+ years strong can be called “new”) isn’t “prohibition”; it’s MADD.

Asma’s essentialism is regressive: if it feels good, do it. After all, if you live in the third world, the delusion of other-worldly comforts might be the only good thing you have in your life. But with this condescending argument, he is treating the very symptoms of an unegalitarian world with more of the very systems of control that keep our lives so disparate. Just because we may have evolved a tendency toward belief doesn’t mean that believing is good for us, let alone that we should encourage it.

If the brunt of the piece isn’t convincing enough (it shouldn’t be), Asma mixes in some condescending pathos by trying to confirm that there really are no atheists in foxholes. After all, he’s agnostic, but he sure prayed when his son was in the emergency room. How convincing. Even though he knew it wouldn’t help heal his son, he just couldn’t help but grovel and negotiate with something or someone he’s not sure he believes in (or whatever agnostic means to him). This is the model of rationalism we’re supposed to respect?

Apparently, Mr. Asma has confused the definitions of “rational” and “virtuous.”

Re­li­gious ideas that en­cour­age de­hu­man­iza­tion, vi­o­lence, and fac­tion­al­ism should be re­formed or di­min­ished, while those that hu­man­ize, con­sole, and in­spire should be fos­tered.

What does he think the “new atheists” are trying to do? The whole point of Harris’ book is to “determine human values.” It’s in the subtitle. Asma seems to think that if a good idea is couched in religion, it’s a credit to the religion as opposed to just a credit to the idea itself.

Wheth­er it is Ca­thol­i­cism, Protestantism, Is­lam, Bud­dhism, or animism, the vir­tues can be re­tained while the vices are mod­er­at­ed. In short, the re­duc­tion of human suf­fer­ing should be the stand­ard by which we meas­ure ev­ery re­li­gion.

Irrationality is a wildcard. You can’t distinguish between the legitimacy of different ideas that are all irrational. Why are dipsomaniacal evil spirits worth any more consideration than an all-seeing god? Are unicorns worth more or less consideration than leprechauns? There is no criteria for differentiating between them, because such analysis requires conformity to the rules of the natural universe in which we live.

If the only way you’ve been taught to have meaning in life is to find it through a higher power and you haven’t fully shaken that construct, it’s what you’ll revert to in times of crisis. I don’t know what Asma has to say in his book, “Why I Am a Buddhist,” but clearly his claim to agnosticism is merely symbolic, perhaps to suggest that he’s got some expertise as a nonbeliever. (He’s no ally of mine.) If he’s praying (and then playing apologetics for it, as this entire piece seems to be), he hasn’t sufficiently dismantled the only context he’s known. He still finds meaning in life through fear of a great or tiny tyrant, and he’s attacking atheism because he cannot overcome that fear through rationality.

But Sam Har­ris’s new book may be a sub­tle turn­ing point toward a more nor­ma­tive so­cial agenda. If pub­lic pol­i­cy is even­tu­al­ly ex­pect­ed to flow from athe­ism, then its pro­po­nents need to have a more nu­anced and glob­al un­der­stand­ing of re­li­gion.

“Social agenda” isn’t a very covert form of fear-mongering, especially for atheists, the least-trusted minority in our society. And while there might be much I still don’t know about religion, I’m feeling pretty good that I have a better understanding of it than a nationally-published philosophy professor. I wish I could give higher education the credit.

Even though I was triggered by Asma’s piece to write my own response, please also read through all the comments he’s received. Plenty of folks have written some very thoughtful retorts to many of Asma’s points and deserve credit for it. If these anonymous screennames are reading The Chronicle, they hopefully are in higher education themselves, an assumption which does give me hope after the miserable experience of  reading Asma’s hackneyed piece. I’d love to know who those people are; they should be the ones featured in The Chronicle.

Queer and Queerer Ep. 36.5 – Why Are Students Having Affairs? (ft. Laurel Dreher)

Zack is joined this week by his hetero life mate, Laurel Dreher. Zack and Laurel studied at Ithaca College together before both pursuing Master’s degrees in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Laurel is now a Coordinator of Residence Education at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Part of the fun of being in this field is explaining what it actually is to others. In this episode, Zack and Laurel discuss what “student affairs” means, some of the challenges and rewards of being a part of this field, its intersections with social justice, and some thoughts about the future of the field and its potential to impact society. If you’ve always wondered about the behind-the-scenes action on college and university campuses, this discussion is the perfect introduction.

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Left Behind in 2010

[Shannon Cuttle is an educator, school administrator, safe schools advocate and trainer, community organizer, and policy wonk.]

This year will go down in history as full equality became one step closer for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adult community members.  From the historic Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which will eventually allow openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers to serve,  to full marriage equality in Washington D.C., to victories such as hospital visitation mandates for LGBT families nationally.

One of the biggest under-reported stories of 2010 affects a population who mostly cannot yet legally vote nor make a donation to a campaign or an organization, and most of whom still depend on an adult to look out for their best interests and in some cases save their lives:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming youth and allies.

In 2010 we saw bullying and harassment in schools and communities in Washington, D.C, Texas,  Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Massachusetts,  Colorado,  Virginia, Florida, New York, Michigan, Utah, Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Louisiana, Idaho, Connecticut and California, and those were just the stories that we heard about.

In more than half of the United States of America in 2010, youth experienced bullying and harassment.

In 2010, we lost over 20 youth due to reported suicide from bullying and harassment. Keep in mind: those are only the reported cases. Across the nation, we were heartbroken and shocked to learn about many suicides due to bullying harassment, including Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, Phoebe Prince, Chloe Lacey, and others. The youngest student that attempted to take hir life from severe bullying and harassment at school was just six years old. Not every story made the news.

This year we also saw student heroes like Will Phillips, Constance McMillen, Ceara Sturgis, Paige Rawl, Graeme Taylor, Derrick Martin stand up and fight back after serve bullying and harassment at school. There are countless other youth whose stories have yet to be told about their struggle, strength, courage, and pain facing bullying and harassment in schools, colleges, and universities.  Over 150,000 students miss school each day due to bullying and harassment. And 9 out 10 LGBT youth experience bullying and harassment—especially given the advent of  Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. According to GLSEN, 40% of all youth who have access to a computer have experienced cyber bullying.

Youth in 2010 have faced not just bullying and harassment, but homelessness as well.  Up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT and are struggling for food and shelter across this nation. Most of these homeless youth were thrown out of their homes or disowned by their families, left on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

And even progressive advances such as the DADT Repeal Act of 2010 still do not address creating safe spaces for lesbian and gay youth in JROTC, young adults in ROTC, or cadets in our nation’s schools, colleges, and universities.

How are we truly providing high quality education if we are not providing inclusive safe schools?

In 2011 we must fight together to make safe schools a priority so that all youth—regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (actual or perceived), socioeconomic status, disability or impairment , religion, immigration status, race, national origin, HIV/AIDS status, or any other identity—are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

What can you do?

Join the movement for safe schools in your local communities and stand up to bullying and harassment when you hear it, see it and take action. Help create inclusive safe spaces and anti-bullying and harassment polices on a local, state-wide, and federal level such as the Student Non-Discrimination Act and Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Make 2011 the year we invest in youth and make sure no child is left behind by making inclusive safe schools  a reality.

Get Involved today: Safe Schools Action Network, GLSEN, Make it Better Project, Project Life Vest, Operation Shine America, PFLAG, Trevor Project, It Gets Better Project, Ali Forney Center, GSA Network and your local PTA, LGBT community Center, classroom, school board or college campus.

If you need help please call The Trevor Help Line at: 1-800-U- TREVOR (800-488-7386)

LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education and the Potential to Make It Better

The new group LGTBQ Presidents in Higher Education seems extremely promising. While its membership of 25 depends on how long they each stay in their positions, the group’s momentum and potential are quite strong.

There’s something I think is unique about this group, or at the very least about the attention it has let itself get. I don’t think there is another group for higher education professionals that is specifically for individuals with queer identities. This might sound surprising. Both ACPA and NASPA have many LGBT-specific efforts and goals, and certainly it is no secret that most of the members of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals identity as queer as well. But none of these groups are specifically for LGBTQ professionals.

Another interesting aspect of the Presidents group is a willingness to be public advocates. One of my largest complaints about higher education is that we have this profession full of people who study and promote social justice in their work, and yet the field itself is so very insular and self-serving such that much of that potential for change stops at the campus border. The Presidents group, on the other hand, has made itself quite visible, and now they have also now produced an It Gets Better-esque/Coming Out video that I think is extremely effective.

While I know these university leaders have very busy lives administrating their institutions, I hope this is a trend that they continue. Higher education is a source of leadership and support embedded in our culture, and only good can from its professionals speaking out and trying to make a difference in society.

Read more about the group here and check out the video below:

ACPA Reminds Us There Are No Atheist Students

I just got a reminder from the student affairs folks at ACPA about an exciting conference call happening next week!

It’s called “Encouraging Religious Pluralism & Interfaith Cooperation: A winter holiday conversation.”

That’s right, this student affairs professional organization has a whole commission dedicated to spirituality, faith, religion, and meaning.

And what’s this conference call going to be about?

The end of the fall semester presents an opportunity for university staff to educate students about the many religious celebrations that take place at the end of the calendar year other than Christmas. However, finding ways to have meaningful celebrations that are inclusive of multiple faith traditions, while avoiding overly simplistic gestures can be challenging. This hot topics discussion will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about best practices and conversation on promoting religious pluralism and interfaith cooperation on campus during the winter holiday break.

As long as all faiths are included, no one will feel excluded right?

And who’s leading the call?

The Reverend Gregory W. McGonigle has served as Director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) at Oberlin College since 2008. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 2004, focused on academic chaplaincy, interfaith relations, and American religious history.

A Master of Divinity, of course.

Dear ACPA members,

There are atheist students on your campus. They might call themselves nonbelievers, freethinkers, agnostics, brights, secular, or humanists, or whatever, or nothing at all, but they’re there. They don’t identify with faith. They don’t identify with spirituality. They don’t identify with religion. Some of them have valid challenges to faith, spirituality, and religion to make. Believe it or not, they are capable of making meaning without any of the mystical stuff you keep triumphing. And they already feel ostracized on their campuses. Please stop ignoring them.



The recent issue of the Secular Student Alliance newsletter offers a debate on interfaith movements. I have to say I agree with Ed Clint (and Hemant Mehta) that interfaith movements, by definition, are contrary to the experience of nonbelievers. An interfaith community is one of different faiths, but of faiths, nonetheless. How could it be inclusive of people without faith who are intent on challenging faith?

As long as the focus is on faith, religious privilege will prevail.

Thanks for such a critical, progressive approach to creating inclusive campuses, ACPA.

Cronk: A Cappella Group Drops Out En Masse

Satire is a great way to pay tribute to the people you know and love. That’s why I enjoy the opportunity to occasionally write for The Cronk of Higher Education.

Here’s my latest. All similarities to other individuals or names are PURELY coincidental, I assure you…….

All 16 members of Sparta College’s acclaimed all-male a cappella group, Spartappella, announced this week that they would not be returning to campus after Fall Break. After negotiations all summer, the group has secured a professional recording contract and will begin work on their premiere wide-release album immediately.

The group’s conductor, Bobbie Fritz ‘10, explained that even though the membership of Spartappella changes from year to year, this year’s group members were “uniquely in sync and eager to take our sound to the street. According to a recent Washington Post article, the street is crying out for dorky but charming college guys.”

Read the rest over at The Cronk.

(Click here to see past articles I’ve written for the Cronk.)

Campus Climate 2010: Defining The Terms

As promised, I’m going to be reporting this week on the 2010 State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People. This new study is a tome of information about the experiences of individuals on college campuses but also an important guide to understanding campus climate research. I won’t be sharing all of its contents; in fact, I strongly urge any professionals out there who work with higher education to purchase your own copy through Campus Pride.

While this is a thorough research study, there is still valuable (if not crucial) data through its pages that demonstrate a sense of urgency for our whole society. Universities are often seen as liberal, welcoming environments, but this exhaustive study shows that for members of the queer community, the campus climate is often anything but welcoming.

I will be offering various posts about it throughout the week, but I want to start today with a primer for how this research was conducted. Because of its scope and density, it can be hard to approach, and there is a lot to be learned simply from the methods of the researchers. I hope this post is a helpful guide for understanding the results.

Overlapping Identities

What makes this study so complex is that the sample has a variety of overlapping identities. It’s not quite as simple as having one control and one variable. There are numerous variables, and aspects of the sample overlap in ways that can be confusing at first.

For example, the 5,149 respondents included undergraduate students (46%), graduate students (17%), faculty members (10%), staff members (21%), and administrators (7%) from campuses in all 50 states. That means that throughout the results, “respondents” does not mean just students. Obviously, the data is analyzed to control for different roles on campus; however, most of the results speak to all respondents’ perceptions.

Consider, then, the different intersections of gender identity, gender expression, sexual identity, and race and it’s clear to see that there are a lot of different overlapping groups. This is all important to understand for folks who might think that campus climate is only determined by students, or for folks who think there are only two discreet groups: queer folks and non-queer folks.

Campus Climate

It is obviously important to define the concept of campus climate, since that is what is measured by this study. There is a very detailed review of how climate has been defined as well as the different ways it has (and hasn’t) been studied. I think the Transformational Tapestry Model conceptualized by Rankin and Reason (2008) offers the best understanding of this concept. Campus climate is defined as

current attitudes, behaviors and standards, and practices of employees and students of an institution.

According to the model, there are six independent, yet interconnected areas that influence campus climate:

» Access and retention (i.e., includes access to higher education and provision of the necessary supports for success and retention)

» Research and scholarship (i.e., includes encouragement of diversity in educational and scholarly activity)

» Inter- and intra-group relations (i.e., includes diverse student body with educationally purposeful interventions and interactions)

» Curriculum and pedagogy (i.e., includes diversity education and proactive educational interventions)

» University policies and services (i.e., includes university commitment to diversity and social justice through response to harassment, and written and behavioral policies)

» External relationships (i.e., includes acknowledgment of and response to external influences in society and government)

When a campus climate is perceived as negative, it can impact students’ educational performance, attrition, and adjustment, as well as the personal and professional development and retention of employees.

In terms of sexual identity, there has been limited study of campus climates, and in terms of gender identity (particularly for those outside the gender binary), there has been virtually none. This is by far the most comprehensive study of campus climates for LGBTQQ individuals.

Sexual Identity (LGBQ) and Gender Identity (Trans and GNC)

One of the most interesting things about this study is what it reveals about how individuals identify. Participants were asked a variety of questions with the opportunity to open answer any of them. They were asked about their birth sex, their gender identity, their gender expression, their sexual identity (the term they use), and who they are attracted to. This was then coded to create two general groups.

In terms of sexual identity, respondents were grouped as LGBQ or Heterosexual. Due to a small number of responses, respondents who identified as “asexual” or “don’t know” were not included in analyses regarding sexual identity. It is interesting to note here that while 53% of respondents were gay, lesbian or similar, 12.3% identified as bisexual and 15.8% identified as queer. This might surprise some who are unaware of the way “queer” is growing in popularity as a self-identifier. It was a more prominent term for students (about 20%), but was also used by faculty (11.2 %), staff (9.6%), and administrators (7.5%).

In terms of gender identity, respondents were grouped as men and women, transgender masculine spectrum (birth sex female), transgender feminine spectrum (birth sex male), and gender non-conforming (GNC). Another interesting note here is that more individuals identified as GNC (8.1%) than as transmasculine or transfeminine combined (5.4%). This speaks to the same sense of ambiguity achieved by the sexual identity of “queer.”

It’s important to note that sexual identity and gender identity are two separate breakdowns of the sample and are not mutually exclusive. There are likely respondents who would fall under both the LGBQ and Trans/GNC groupings as well as respondents who only fall into one group or the other. This is important to remember when analyzing the results in regard to these two identifiers.

Intersections with Racial Identity

This study also looks at the interactions of race with sexual identity and gender identity. A bit less than a quarter of respondents identified as one of the “People of Color” categories, which included “African, “African American/Black,” Alaskan Native, “Asian,” “Asian American,” Southeast Asian,” “Caribbean/West Indian,” “Latin American,” “Latino(a)/Hispanic,” “Middle Eastern,” “Native American,” and “Pacific Islander/Hawaiian Native.”

Respondents could identify with multiple identities. I think it’s helpful to see the care taken to create inclusive categories for these identities, which is the only reason I reproduce them here.


I also want to offer the definition of the word “harassment” used by the study, as some may not understand the breadth of this term. Harassment is:

Exclusionary (e.g., shunned, ignored), intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct (harassing behavior) that had interfered with their ability to work or learn on their campus within the past year.

This is a slightly more nuanced definition from United States Code.

Forms of harassment revealed by the study include:

» Receiving derogatory remarks
» Feeling deliberately ignored or excluded
» Feeling isolated or left out
» Observing others staring
» Being singled out as a resident authority to their identity
» Feeling intimidated or bullied
» Fearing getting a bad grade because of a hostile classroom environment
» Receiving low performance evaluations
» Receiving derogatory written comments
» Being assumed of admission or hire because of identity
» Fearing for physical safety
» Being victim of a crime
» Being target of graffiti
» Being target of physical violence

What To Expect…

In the coming days, I’ll be writing with more detail about the study’s findings. Look forward to reading about what respondents are experiencing, what perceptions respondents have of campus climate, individual and institutional responses to campus climate, and potential best practices.

This is important research and I hope that my posts can make it more tangible for folks who won’t have access to the full study or who might struggle to wade through all the data.

If you have any questions about what I’ve shared so far, please feel free to include them in the comments.

Working Weekend Plus University of Rhode Island Student Protest

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the Congressional briefing for the new study from Campus Pride, the 2010 State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People. My original plan was to report on the briefing (pics below), but now that I have a copy of the 180+ page study in my hands, I’m going to pour through it and offer a more detailed report next week.

In the meantime, check out the courage of a group of students at the University of Rhode Island who have been protesting sing 12:01 AM yesterday morning until their administrators follow through on promises for LGBT support and campus safety. Matt Comer’s been doing some great coverage on the Campus Pride blog:

» Announcement of protest.
» Protest underway.
» Photos from the protest.
» URI blocks press coverage.
» Protest update and news round-up.

I wish the best for these students. They are advocating for their lives. Keep up the good work!

Here are a few pictures from yesterday’s briefing.

Angela Peoples, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Campus Progress:

Jacob Wilson, student at Iowa State University (and friend of the blog):

Have a good weekend everyone.