Campus Pride has signed onto a national letter to the Common Application requesting the addition of optional demographic questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation to its standard form. Campus Pride joins 24 other national education, LGBTQ and youth advocacy organizations in the formal request issued today. Full copy of the letter is available online atwww.campuspride.org/commonapp .
The Common Application form evaluates prospective students for admission at over 500 colleges, universities and other organizations in 47 states and the District of Columbia and internationally. A growing number of colleges and universities are asking students their gender identity and sexual orientation on admissions forms, either by having questions on their own application materials or by adding supplemental questions to their Common Application.
Institutions with gender identity and sexual orientation identity questions on their applications include Duke University, Elmhurst College, Elon University, MIT, Northeastern Illinois University, the Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Iowa, the University of Maryland, Connecticut College, the University of California system and all two-year colleges in California and Washington. A full list with detailed descriptions of the questions used is available online at CampusPride.org/TPC.
Campus Pride, alongside its national partners, believes it is paramount for the Common Application to add gender identity and sexual orientation questions as an option on the standard form. By better knowing the students who use the Common Application, it allows the colleges and universities to take responsibility for all students' academic success, their recruitment and retention. It also places a higher value on safe, inclusive campus climates, diversity and a respect of the various identities that intersect making each student unique and more representative of how they experience the classroom and the whole campus climate.
"More and more LGBTQ students are living openly as LGBTQ when they apply to college and want to be able to self-identifyjust as they do with their race, ethnicity, or religion," said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. "The Common Application was founded on promoting equity, access and integrity in the college application process. This mission will be better realized by adding questions on gender identity and sexual orientation to the application."
The letter proposes that the questions on gender identity and sexual orientation be optional, so that LGBTQ students who are not living openly or not comfortable disclosing do not have to do so. Colleges and universities are seeking to track the numbers of openly LGBTQ students applying, being accepted and enrolling in their institutions. This accountability help administrators to understand academic success, retention and graduation rates of LGBTQ students.
"Title IX requires institutions to protect students from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression," said Dr. Genny Beemyn, the coordinator for Campus Pride's Trans Policy Clearinghouse. "Colleges are less able to meet this obligation if they do not allow the option for transgender students to disclose this important aspect of their gender and gender identity."
Campus Pride has been at the forefront of addressing LGBTQ students in the college admission process as well as recruitment and retention work within higher education. Campus Pride has the only national LGBTQ-friendly College Fair Program featuring annually nine different cities and an online fair. In 2011, the organization alongside The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals requested to the Common Application to add optional questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. The request was denied.
"The Common Application has another opportunity to do what is right. LGBTQ students should have the opportunity to self-identify on the standard form," Beemyn said.
Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at CampusPride.org .