Student orientation
1 min

A queer question from a small college

BY NOREEN FAGAN – A little college nestled in the suburbs of Chicago is causing waves
around the United States because of one question on its admission
application: would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?

Yep, that’s right. By adding that question, Elmhurst College
has become the first university in the States to ask students about their
sexual orientation.

In a radio interview with National Public Radio, host Scott Simon asked Gary Rold, president of the
college, this question: how is a student’s sexual orientation any of your
business?

“What we want to do is channel them to resources on campus, like
the Straights and Gays for Equality, other programming, other kinds of things
we do that will be more welcoming. Help them find what most kids are looking
for when they go to college – a good fit, a place that takes care of them,
worries about their needs and helps them graduate and go out into the world,”
answered Rold.

An article on the Huffington Post says that the question is an optional one for
prospective students and comes with a “prefer not to say” option. It
appears in a section that asks applicants about their religious
affiliations and what languages other than English are spoken in their homes, as well as other questions that school
administrators hope will help identify students’ needs and potential interest
in campus programs and resources.

Any student who ticks off the sexual orientation question
will be put in touch with a student club called Straights and Gays for Equality
(SAGE).

Since the private, liberal arts school is affiliated with
the United Church of Christ, I wonder if its president would mind contacting Catholic school boards in Ontario. He could suggest that if they object to the
term gay-straight alliances that SAGE would be a good alternative.

 

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