Is it Clear that SUNY Welcomes the LGBT Community? - SUNY.edu

Is it Clear that SUNY Welcomes the LGBT Community? - SUNY.edu

Is it Clear that SUNY Welcomes the LGBT Community? A Review of Current Support and Consideration of an Optional Question to Self-Identify Sexual Orie...

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Is it Clear that SUNY Welcomes the LGBT Community?

A Review of Current Support and Consideration of an Optional Question to Self-Identify Sexual Orientation in the Admissions Application SUNY Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee – March 2013 • Carlos Medina, Associate Provost, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) • Gloria Lopez, Affirmative Action Officer, ODEI • Cheryl Perrillo, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services • Marti Anne Ellermann, Executive Deputy General Counsel

Current Climate at SUNY • 2012 SUNY Student Opinion Survey – Results from 4-year campuses  

On average, students agree that “acts of prejudice based on sexual orientation are rare” on campus (mean rating = 3.85*) On average, students agree that “acts of prejudice based on gender identity are rare” on campus (mean rating = 3.86*)

• Campus Pride LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index – Eleven SUNY campuses have responded to the survey and appear on the index

• Informal review of campus web sites confirms that support services are available and promoted on many campuses – Policies, education, resources, facilities * Measured on a five-point Likert scale, where 5 = Strongly Agree and 1 = Strongly Disagree The State University of New York

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Current Climate at SUNY • A non-discrimination statement appears in the SUNY undergraduate admissions application

“Admission to a campus of the State University of New York is based on the qualifications of the applicant without regard to age, sex, marital or veteran status, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.” The State University of New York

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Undergraduate Admissions Application • Would a specific question added to the admissions application: – Encourage LGBT prospective students to come to SUNY, and support their success and completion – Help campuses better align supports and services for LGBT students – Further demonstrate SUNY’s support of the LGBT community

• Is adding a question to the application the most effective way to achieve these goals?

The State University of New York

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Undergraduate Admissions Application Considerations for adding a specific optional question to the application Opportunities

Challenges

May indicate to applicants that SUNY is welcoming to the LGBT community  May further demonstrate SUNY’s commitment to equality and inclusion  May help campuses better prepare to support the LGBT community if they have a partial estimate of the pool of LGBT applicants who may decide to enroll





The State University of New York

Some students may worry their response to the question could be used in a negative way  Some students may be concerned about their family/parents seeing their response  Students and families from certain cultures/religions may be concerned about the question and decide not to apply  Some legal and privacy issues should be reviewed 5

Undergraduate Admissions Application Considerations for adding a specific optional question to the application

• Students apply to SUNY using: – the SUNY application; – the national Common Application; and – individual campus applications (community colleges)

• Questions on the national Common Application are not under the control of SUNY, however questions can be added to individual campus supplemental applications • Currently, almost all of the questions on the SUNY application are required to make an admissions decision, award a scholarship, or meet federal or state reporting requirements The State University of New York

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Undergraduate Admissions Application Considerations for adding a specific optional question to the application

• A scan of public colleges nationwide finds that two colleges include a question on their undergraduate application: – Elmhurst College, Illinois: "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community?" – University of Iowa: "Do you identify with the LGBTQ Community?" • Member campuses of the national Common Application (accepted by 488 colleges, including 24 SUNY campuses) decided against including an identifying question on the application in 2011 • The University of California is considering a recommendation to add LGBT demographic questions on its Statement of Intent to Register forms, but not its undergraduate application The State University of New York

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Undergraduate Admissions Application Considerations for adding a specific optional question to the application

• The SUNY admissions application does not reach all students – Should we explore ways to ask the question: of all accepted students  of all enrolled students 

• Could we provide an opportunity to self-identify via a congratulatory/welcome message from the Chancellor to all accepted students: – Highlighting SUNY’s commitment to diversity and inclusion – Including links to the student section of www.suny.edu for info on: academic resources  financial aid resources  and student support services – including an expanded overview of support services for the LGBT community and an opportunity to selfidentify 

The State University of New York

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Legal Considerations Reporting requirements • Federal – Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 

Includes race/ethnicity, gender, and age data; not sexual orientation

• State – ORIS

The State University of New York

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Legal Considerations Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – Federal • Currently receives rational basis review under constitutional Equal Protection analysis – Three significant cases currently before the Supreme Court 

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (use of race in admissions decisions)



Windsor v. United States (challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act)



Hollingsworth v. Perry (challenge to California’s Proposition 8, in which CA defined marriage as between a man and woman)

The State University of New York

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Legal Considerations Discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation – New York • Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (effective Jan. 2003) – “SONDA” prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. Explicitly applies to admission to educational institutions, and provides a cause of action to an aggrieved student

• Executive Order 33 (signed by Gov. Paterson in 2009) – Prohibits any State agency from discriminating on the basis of gender identity in employment decisions

• Marriage Equality Act (2011 Sess. Law News of N.Y. Ch. 95 (A. 8354)) – Recognizes the validity of same-sex marriage The State University of New York

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Next Steps Is it Clear that SUNY Welcomes the LGBT Community?

The State University of New York

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