UC task force seeks more inclusion for LGBT community on campus
UC President Mark G. Yudof has named a task force to examine and implement strategies for creating more welcoming and inclusive campus environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff.
Barbara French, UCSF vice chancellor for strategic communications and university relations, and Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor, are co-chairing the task force.
"I am confident that together we will do all we can to make our campuses more welcoming and inclusive environments for LGBT students, faculty and staff, as well as for all communities at UC," Yudof said in a May 21 letter to French and Hexter.
The formation of the UC Task Force and Implementation Team on LGBT Climate and Inclusion is among the recommendations from a working group of the President's Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion.
Among the task force members are Raja Bhattar, director of the LGBT Resource Center at UCLA and Bradley Sears, executive director of the UCLA's Williams Institute and adjunct professor of law.
The task force is charged with developing strategies to enact the working group's recommendations, which include:
- Providing LGBT cultural competency training for students and staff who have student-related responsibilities.
- Creating a systemwide advisory group on LGBT climate and other issues.
- Having campus diversity councils review programs at their locations to assess whether there is appropriate inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBT students have been identified as a high-risk group for mental health concerns. The UC Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), which provides the only systemwide data on sexual orientation and gender identity, found that LGBT students had mental health needs that could be addressed by fostering a more inclusive environment.
The survey found that 39 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer respondents felt that their sexual orientation was respected on their campuses, compared with 82 percent of heterosexuals.
In addition, 34 percent of LGBT undergraduates said feelings of depression or stress had often or very often been obstacles to schoolwork or academic success, compared to 22 percent of heterosexual respondents.
The task force holds its first meeting in July and is expected to deliver its recommendations within the next 24 months.