California university applications will profile LGBT students
Faye Crosswhite, Staff Writer
April 17, 2012
Filed under Opinion
The California House of Representatives recently passed a bill that called on schools to take a stand against bullying and harassment – and asked that colleges and universities give their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations an opportunity to identify themselves on the institutions’ applications.
“The questions, which students could answer voluntarily, would be asked because of a little-known state law aimed at gauging the size of LGBT populations on the campuses,” writes Larry Gordon of the Los Angeles Times. “The law encourages UC, Cal State and community colleges to explore whether they are offering enough services, such as counseling, for those students.”
This notion, while brimming with good intentions and kind sentiment, is a complete invasion of privacy. In an age of equality and non-discrimination, LGBT students need not single themselves out.
While these schools claim that the information would solely be used for the purpose of ensuring that their LGBT communities are adequately served, the proposal is redundant.
Equality California reported that the Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Act (AB 620), passed in February last year, requires schools to provide additional resources and support for LGBT students, faculty and staff. The act also urges colleges and universities to adopt strict anti-bullying policies and enforce them via their students’ codes of conduct.
With this new law, LGBT populations at UC and CSU institutions are covered. The support system is in place, the anti-hate documents have been written; so why must these students and staff members further differentiate themselves from the rest of the schools’ community?
Huntington Beach senator Tom Harman agrees, telling the Los Angeles Times that “it is an invasion of privacy,” and that the information could be used in a manner other than what it was intended for.
If equality and support are the intended message, this proposal is a step in the wrong direction. With the request of students to divulge their sexual orientation, these schools would be profiling their students to an even greater extent than they already have (gender, religious, and ethnicity denotations exist on all applications).
LGBT students want equality, and to live their lives without differentiation from their peers. The proposed method of divulging such personal information on college applications would simply turn their community into a number, a percentage to be meticulously studied and scrutinized by college administrators.
Schools need to let students identify themselves however they see fit. Be it academic or athletic achievements, proficiency in music and the arts, or even cultural ties, let students make the decision on how they choose to stand out – this is their future, after all.
LGBT students are not a number or a demographic, but rather individuals striving to make a better life for themselves through higher education. Shouldn’t it be that simple?