In support of students who identify as LGBTQ+, Worcester State University unveiled its LGBTQ+ Pride webpage at the start of the fall 2019 semester. What started as a request to consider non-binary names on university-issued identification cards and applications for admissions soon turned into a need to have a resource page for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We were very mindful of the requests and the more the committee delved into the needs, the more we wanted to be inclusive and thoughtful,” says Sarah Strout, assistant vice president for assessment and planning. “I think we did a great job in our goal to make students, faculty and staff feel welcome.” The committee, following its initial charge, has been renamed the LGBTQ+ Advisory Group, which is comprised of faculty, students, staff, and administrators representing the diversity of the campus.
Prospective and continuing students can request to update to their information with the Registrar’s Office with their chosen name, gender identity, and pronouns. This includes updating their university-issued identification card and email address. The webpage includes links and useful information on a variety of topics such as student housing, the LGBTQ+ resource room, gender-neutral restrooms, and other support services on campus and throughout Worcester.
The webpage aligns with President Barry M. Maloney’s Five Points of Action Toward a More Inclusive Campus Climate initiative, enacted in 2016, which led to the creation of the campus climate committee. It also supports the research published in the 2012 article in the Association of American Colleges and University “LGBTQ Campus Climate: The Good and the Still Very Bad” that shows an inclusive and welcoming campus benefits not only the students for which the program supports but all students within the campus community.
A complete list of resources can be found on the LGBTQ+ Pride webpage. The LGBTQ+ Advisory Group plans to meet regularly to discuss ways to keep the campus community engaged and welcoming for all students.
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